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Spring frosts occasionally cause drastic reductions in crop yields in localised parts of the Western Australian wheatbelt.
Frost occurs on clear nights in early spring when the air temperature drops to 2°C or less.
One-off soil inversion results in the complete burial of the water repellent topsoil in a layer typically at a depth of 15–35cm, and brings to the surface a layer of wettable subsoil.
One-off deep cultivation can reduce the severity of soil water repellence.
One method of weed control is to remove weed seeds in the fallow, stubble and pre-sowing phase.
Confident identification of soil compaction to restrict crop or pasture growth uses diagnosis combining visual symptoms of plant, root and soil features.
Soil wetting agents reduce the effects of repellence by lowering the surface tension of the water which improves infiltration.
Furrow sowing forms micro-relief, small ridges and furrows, into which water can be harvested.
Water repellence develops when there is an accumulation of hydrophobic organic substances in a susceptible soil. Hydrophobic compounds are derived from plant and microbial sources.
Water repellence results in uneven wetting of soil in autumn which can result in patchy and staggered crop and pasture emergence. Sandy soils are particularly susceptible.