SA project tackles emerging soil acidity

Grain Central, April 23, 2021

A NEW two-year pH soil mapping project is underway in South Australia’s lower North and Yorke Peninsula aimed at tackling the emerging problem of soil acidity in northern areas of the state.

Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) in partnership with the Mallala and Minlaton Agricultural Bureau Groups are leading the Agricultural Bureau of SA project, funded under the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

PIRSA senior consultant Andrew Harding said the project, which builds on the success of a previous soil acidity project, will help farmers to identify and assess the best way to treat acid soils.

“Soil acidity is becoming an increasing problem in many parts of the Lower and Mid North along with the sandy and red soils of the Yorke Peninsula affecting crop and pasture production,” he said.

“High value crops such as lentils, chickpeas and beans are highly sensitive to low soil pH or acid soils and where crops are grown on these soils, they often go yellow, do not nodulate well and die in patches.”

During the project each of the two Agricultural Bureau Groups will have the opportunity to have a number of paddocks mapped with PIRSA’s Veris soil pH machine.

The pH maps prepared from the machine will identify the spatial variability of soil pH across paddocks.

“Mapping these demonstration paddocks will show the extent and severity of acid soils and will enable farmers to better understand the soil pH variability across their paddocks,” Mr Harding said.

“Information from the maps will be used in farmer workshops with decision support tools to provide farmers with a better awareness, understanding and management of acid soils.

“With lime regarded as the most efficient and cost-effective means to treat acid soils, from the pH maps produced we can then produce lime prescription maps showing where lime is to be targeted and at the right rates.”

Source: PIRSA

The project will continue through to June 2022. For further information about acid soils visit ‘Acid soils‘.





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