Dry saline land project showing results

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Patchy crop and pasture growth resulting from the accumulation of salts in soil layers, which is not associated with a saline water table, are common across the lower rainfall areas of Eyre Peninsula. These areas of dry saline land historically referred to as “magnesia patches”, have been the focus of several AIR EP demonstration sites funded under an Australian Government’s ‘Future Drought Fund’ project in 2022.  In collaboration with landholders, AIR EP and PIRSA-SARDI researchers, a range of treatments aimed at reducing the impact of these salts on crop and pasture production, were applied prior to seeding, and production responses assessed during the growing season. Further demonstrations have been established in partnership with farming systems groups in the Northern and Yorke and Murraylands and Riverland regions.

Early observations indicate that the application of ameliorants, including sand and manures, have provided some benefit for improved plant establishment and growth this season. The improved cover on treated areas, if maintained over summer, is expected to reduce evaporation and the capillary rise of salts to the surface, which could provide production benefits over multiple years. Getting and maintaining cover on these patches is critical to prevent further degradation, so it is strongly recommended to avoid grazing these patches wherever possible.

Further sites will be established in 2023 with landholders who are wanting to implement treatments to manage dry saline patches on their property urged to get in contact with SARDI researchers Brett Masters 0428 105 184 or Amanda Cook 0427 270 154.

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