Field tour delves into soils research
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) hosted a delegation of Australia’s leading soils researchers on a soils field tour to Meckering recently.
Researchers from organisations including CSIRO, universities and State departments, along with partners from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), visited a range of research sites demonstrating soil amelioration treatments aimed at managing common soil constraints including water repellence, subsoil acidity, compaction and nutrition.
The July tour allowed participants to view and discuss a range of soil management activities.
Local soil scientists, growers and consultants were on hand to contribute their perspectives on the benefits, decision-making processes, machinery options and practical implementation of soil management practices.
Some of the soil amelioration practices seen during the tour included soil inversion, rotary spading, deep ripping with and without topsoil inclusion, modified one-way ploughing and clay delving.
A highlight was seeing the implications of management practices on constraints for soils and crops and being in a better position to quantify the long-term benefits of managing multiple constraints with one or more practices.
For example, by combining deep tillage with lime to manage compaction and subsoil acidity, DPIRD researchers have determined they can also reduce water repellence and weed seed bank, and improve crop nutrition.
The field tour followed GRDC’s inaugural national soils research forum for leading soils researchers to present and share their ideas and research methodologies, collaborate and provide constructive feedback on planned research.
It was a complement to the forum, and a great opportunity to share department work with research colleagues from around Australia.
The tour allowed DPIRD to create an opportunity for researchers to talk directly to soil experts and landholders at the forefront of soil research in Western Australia, and facilitated a broader conversation and greater collaboration on soil constraints nationally.
For more information contact Chris Gazey, Senior Research Officer, Northam on +61 (0)8 9690 2256.