More education in the farming sector on how to conserve soils, along with better use of technology, is expected to help tackle the problem.
"Technology which can help includes imagery which allows you to do soil mapping of what mineral and nutrients are in the soil and applying fertilizer according to the requirement of each individual area of the farm," said Hornibrook, adding that investment was challenging as the sector was fragmented and capital starved.
"The issue doesn't get addressed without capital. Investing in your soil costs money and therefore the ultimate way to incentivise farmers to do it is higher food prices."
But higher prices alone won't encourage consumption patterns that provide a healthy balance for both people and soil.
"Consumers make choices largely on price, farmers make decisions largely on profit," Crawford said, adding there was no clear incentive to encourage behavior that benefited health or the environment.
"We need to try and encourage better diets from a health and environment point of view."