Ranking options for soil amelioration tool

Page last updated: Thursday, 10 June 2021 - 9:43am

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Soil constraints cost growers in Western Australia in excess of $1.6 billion annually in lost production with most of the soils in our grain growing area being affected by one or more soil constraints.

Ranking options for soil amelioration (ROSA) is a decision support tool intended for use by consultants, agronomists and growers to indicate soil amendment options that are likely to provide the biggest economic return for growers with multiple soil constraints.

ROSA provides a cost-effectiveness ranking of soil amelioration options to address one or more soil constraints within a farm business. It highlights the potential cost-effectiveness of one or more soil ameliorants in the short and long-term at a paddock or farm scale. Costs and benefits of ameliorationoptions, and combinations, are accrued at different points in time over a 10 year period.

It does not include every soil constraint within cropped soils of Western Australia nor all available amelioration options, but rather a set of the most common constraints and options for comparison and their expected costs and benefits.

Five soil constraints are able to be considered in ROSA, these are:

  • topsoil acidity
  • subsoil acidity
  • non-wetting
  • subsoil compaction
  • soil structure decline.

Soil amelioration options then ranked within ROSA are:

  • claying
  • deep ripping (>40cm)
  • gypsum
  • liming to address topsoil acidity
  • liming to address subsoil acidity
  • soil mixing (<40cm)
  • wetting agents.

ROSA can be used by the user with very little input data:

  • a budget for soil amelioration
  • ag soil zone
  • soil type
  • rotation
  • current and potential yields
  • soil properties (ranked as low, medium or high except for soil pH).

The user can also choose to explore more details if they wish.

If you are interested in trying ROSA before a finalised tool version is available mid-2018, contact David Hall who will provide a preliminary version and talk users through it.

A demonstration of ROSA will be held at the Grains Research Updates in Perth in February 2018. If you are unable to make this event but would like to register your interest for a demonstration of ROSA, contact David Hall.

This tool was prepared by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development's Economist, Dr Elizabeth (Liz) Petersen for the Grains Research and Development Corporation Soil Constraints West initiative: DAW00244 – Water repellence; DAW00243 – Soil compaction; DAW00242 – Subsoil constraints understanding and management; DAW00236 – Soil acidity.

Contact information

+61 (0)8 9083 1142