Through our soil and water assessment expertise, we provide long term solutions for our clients to better manage their land and business needs.
together we create sustainable value.


Our advice is based on scientific assessment of the soil and water resource, and we aim to help develop management systems that allow the resource to be used by the next generation as well as the current land users.

Sustainable Soil Management offers consulting and advisory services in three key areas:

Soil survey

  • Soil assessment
  • Land and soil capability
  • Land use suitability
  • Crop suitability
  • Regional soil survey

Engineering & Water

  • Pond Site Selection
  • Leaking Channels and Ponds
  • Water Balance
  • Irrigation Evaluation
  • C Probe Calibration
  • Infiltrometer Experiments

Farming Operations

  • Yield Mapping
  • Tillage Operations
  • Nutrition
  • Extension
  • C Probe Reading

Land and soil suitability assessment

  • Soil assessment based on understanding the landscape and examination of soil profiles from which we can determine:
    • crop best suited to soil type.
    • irrigation system appropriate for soil type and crop.
    • suitability of site for irrigation with effluent.
  • Irrigation and drainage management plans.
  • Land and Soil Capability to support Environmental Impact Assessment.
  • Salinity management plans in irrigated, dry land and urban situations.

Advice on optimising soil productivity

  • Precision Agriculture including yield map interpretation.

  • Tillage management based on examination of soil profiles.

  • Fertility management based on results of soil chemical tests and yield targets.

  • Effective irrigation management for surface and drip irrigation.

  • Management of problem areas such as hard setting soil, shallow water tables.

  • Salinity management plans.

Sustainable irrigation

  • Selection of soil suitable for irrigation reservoirs and channels using test drilling and EM surveys.

  • Assess efficiency of surface irrigation.

  • Quantify potential deep drainage to determine efficient irrigation methods.

  • Identify leaky areas of channels and storages.  Assist with remediation.

  • Developing management systems for sustainable irrigation with marginal quality water.

Contract soil research

  • Calibration of soil water sensors.

  • Improved drip irrigation management of cotton.

  • Soil management education and training.

  • Regional soil mapping

  • Management of problem areas such as hard setting soil, shallow water tables.

  • Salinity management plans.

About Sustainable soil management

Sustainable Soils Management (SSM) was established in 1994 by Dr Pat Hulme. We provide practical advice on the management of soil, water (and salt) for both short and long term for medium to large-scale land managers. SSM have provided clients in Australia and internationally with reliable accurate information and advice since 1994.  We have completed over 370 soil surveys and over 280 reservoir site assessments.

We pride ourselves on our:

  • Depth of understanding of the rootzone and below.
  • Practical approach to problem solving due to hands on farming experience.
  • Rigorous and efficient data handling and statistical analysis.
  • High level of skill in presentation of information.
  • Fearless advice.
  • Proven results.
Through our soil and water assessment expertise, we provide long term solutions for our clients to better manage their land and business needs and together we create sustainable value.

Our Team


  • Assessed potential permeability of more than 280 sites to be used for off-river water storages.
  • Key member of team which prepared modernisation plans for 2 irrigation schemes and facilitated group decisions to restructure schemes that received $47 million of government funding.
  • Assessed impact of several leaking channels and water storages. Advised on methods of reducing seepage and its impact.
  • Conducted more than 490 soil surveys to assess suitability of soil for: rice, wine grapes, cotton, jojoba, olives, paulownias, almonds, hazelnuts and agroforestry application of treated sewage effluent, treated food factory effluent, treated abattoir effluent and coal mine drainage water, coal seam gas production water, irrigated crops, dryland crops.
  • Assessed impact of 5 gold and rare earths mines on land capability.
  • Assessed agricultural capability of more than 200,000 ha where landuse ranged from rangeland to intensive cropping
  • Provided expert input into soil surveys of three, 1:250,000 scale map sheets in
    northwestern NSW.
  • Managed and provided expert input into preparation of more than 40 farm-scale
    irrigation and dryland farm management plans, one salinity management plan
    covering 40,000 ha. Monitored of salinity management plan area for 14 years.
  • Developed whole farm water balance model for irrigators that forms basis of Watertrack, an award winning commercial program.
  • Presented talks on soil measurement and management to farmers, students, advisors and scientists.
  • Calibrated EnviroSCAN, C-Probe, AquaSpy and neutron moisture meters in cracking clay soils in New South Wales and Queensland and South Australia.
  • Assessed physical sustainability of intensive farming systems in north-western Argentina, Ponape, Federated States of Micronesia, southern Mozambique and central Sudan.
  • Agronomic management of up to 2,000 ha of cotton.
  • Forty five years hands-on experience of irrigation development and management of irrigated crops including cotton, maize, rice, melons, grapes, canola, winter cereals, soybeans, lucerne in semi-arid areas of eastern and northern Australia. 
Dr Pat Hulme - Sustainable soil management


Ph D (University of New England). Management of soil physical properties

B Sci Ag (Hons) Advanced Certificate in Irrigation (Murrumbidgee College of Agriculture)

Completed Courses in: Fundamentals of Groundwater Science, Technology and Management; Digital Soil Mapping

Professional Affiliations

Certified Practising Soil Scientist

Member, Soil Science Australia


2021 – Harald Jensen lecture to NSW Branch of Soil Science Australia. 

2020 – Judge Lindsay Irrigation Trailblazer award

2017 – Jim Beale Memorial Award for Services to Macquarie Valley cotton industry