Get the dirt on acidity by testing your soil

Posted 02 March 2020.

Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin (SAMDB) is offering advice and support to interested landholders in the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges to test and manage soil acidity on their properties between 20 April to 4 May 2020.

Soil acidity is a significant land and soil management issue in the Mount Lofty Ranges with more than 400,000 hectares of land affected.

Natural Resources SAMDB Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator Eliza Rieger said last year more than 100 landholders in the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges region took part in the project to combat acid soil issues on their properties.

“The results showed many properties had acid soil issues, “she said.

“We provided landholders with a simple plan enabling them to improve their soils.

“This year, we are again supporting landholders to test their soil pH and better understand the importance of managing soil acidity.

“The project focuses on properties of 10 acres (4 Ha) or larger in districts stretching from Harrogate through to Mount Compass, and Currency Creek.

“Those within this area whose properties have been burnt recently may like to take part to see what the impact has been on their soil acidity.

“Testing can assist landholders in finding out the best course of action to rehabilitate soils and return them to productivity.

“Soil pH test kits, information such as videos and fact sheets on how to test soils are available to eligible to landholders.

“Participants will learn how to report soil pH results and site information through a phone app or on paper,” she said.

“Once the landholders know if there is soil acidity on their property, they will be able to take actions to improve the pH of the soil.

Information on soil acidity management options providing benefits for pasture growth, soil health, and increased production will be available.”

Ms Rieger said by providing tools and practical information, we hope landholders will become more aware of how dealing with soil acidity can also help reduce weeds and increase the health of livestock.

“The soil acidity information collected by participants will also help us to measure the extent of the issue in our region.”

“It is important to maintain a good soil pH as it will sustain the health of the soil and the broader landscape,” Ms Rieger said.

To register email Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning Association or phone 0400036843.

All new participants will be eligible to win a prize to have an expert land management consultant visit to their property.

Soil acidity is the process where soils become more acidic under agricultural land use. This effects reduction in farming profitability, less pasture production, increased weeds, higher risk of soil erosion, decreased soil health and function, and a decline in livestock health.

The project is supported by the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and NRM Levies.

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