The improvement of New Zealands pastures over the last 150 years has increased the nutrient status of the soil as a result of the application of fertiliser, an increased soil organic matter content and increased biological activity. The grazing animal has also influenced the nutrient status of the soil by increasing the rate at which nutrients cycle between the soil, plants and animals.
Soil temperature, soil moisture and soil fertility were determined empirically at 63 predominantly hill sites in the South Island, New Zealand. Soil temperatures were measured at a depth of 0.5 m in four seasons and gave a standard deviation of mean annual temperature between sites of 2.2-degrees-C. Soil moisture levels, as available water in a 0-0.5 m profile, measured seasonally, gave a standard deviation between sites of 49 mm water.
Growth of Avena sativa L. and Agrostis tenuis Sibth was measured on peat and mineral soils from sites on Campbell Island in the New Zealand subantarctic. For the peat soils, growth was strongly positively correlated with both pH and Mg levels and less strongly with Ca and Na. With the inclusion of the mineral soil data, only the fit between growth and Ca levels was significant.