We recognise the connection between soil health and farming wealth. Maintaining soil cover and decreasing soil acidity are nationally recognised benchmarks for sustainable agriculture.Soils types across Eyre Peninsula are wide and varied as can be seen on the national soil map. How well we manage our soils, including its structure and chemistry is at the forefront of sound agriculture practice to maximise production and environmental benefit. Is there a grant available?
Clay spreading and delving, if done well, will encourage crop root growth deeper in the soil profile, increasing the plant’s ability to uptake minerals, trace elements and seek out moisture. Clay spreading and delving aims to increase yields and profitability. These soil improvement practices are costly and must be planned to consider individual paddock constraints in order for benefits to be realised. It’s not a one–practice-fits-all and that’s why we are keen to share lessons learnt and highlight the parameters farmers need to consider. Soil improvement processes and options:
Managing acidic soils
Soil acidity is a major environmental and economic concern. Approximately 7% of Eyre Peninsula land cleared for agriculture (178,000 ha.) is susceptible to soil acidity. Eighty percent of that area is estimated to be currently below the critically pH level of 5.0 (CaCI2). If untreated, acidity will become a problem in the subsurface soils, which are more difficult and expensive to fix. We are currently using demonstration sites to showcase the benefits of increasing the pH of acidic soils. Find out more about soil acidity and its potential implications.
Managing dune swale
Tired of failing crops on sand dunes, livestock baring out these areas and also not being able to utilise valuable feed on the flats? There are answers, see how local farmers have improved production and rehabilitated these degraded areas.
Read about their decisions on:
- managing dunes for productivity (case study coming soon)
- re-establishing native vegetation on sand dunes (case study coming soon)
- water-point planning and risk management (coming soon coming soon).
Managing saline soils
Dryland salinity affects an estimated 20,400ha of Eyre Peninsula. Early Landcare groups made substantial progress in addressing the spread of salt scalds and encroaching salinity. In recent times however, we’ve seen an increase in saline affected soils.
Carbon storage and reducing nitrous oxide emissions
Two soil research projects, aimed at understanding soil carbon storage and practises to reduce nitrous oxide specific to Eyre Peninsula, are currently underway through the Minnipa Agricultural Centre and Rural Solutions SA. The project is funded by Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management Board. First results are expect early 2016 so stay in touch.
The research is focused on:
- sequestering carbon into the soil profile through a range of soil modification practices (including claying, delving, adding gypsum, lime and organic matter) in a wide range of soil types across Eyre Peninsula
- reducing nitrous oxide emissions associated with broadacre cropping by using legume and non-legume pasture crop rotations to maintain crop productivity
- the cropping practises under research are also aimed at reduce reliance on synthetic nitrous fertilisers.
Find out more about soil carbon. View the new CSIRO developed map of Australia's stored soil carbon and the Carbon Resolution video.
This project is supported by the Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management Board, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.