Raised beds to alleviate waterlogging

Raised beds are a long-term option for preventing waterlogging and increasing crop yield on target areas. We recommend that raised beds are part of a whole-farm water and salinity management program.

Preventing waterlogging with raised beds

Permanent raised beds are widely used to grow broadacre crops in irrigation country in the eastern states of Australia. They are a practical and economic means of managing particular waterlogged sites in wetter areas of the Western Australian grainbelt.

Raised beds allow excess water to drain out of the beds (horizontal drainage) into open collector drains which then discharge off the paddock.

Raised beds as part of whole-farm surface water management

Three areas need to be included when designing a raised-bed system:

Are raised beds suitable?

Raised beds are an option where:

  • the probability of waterlogging is 50% or more in the wettest months (usually June to August), when the emerging crops are most susceptible. These soils are most commonly shallow sand, high gravel content soils and loam over clay soils
  • there are shallow watertables
  • hillslopes are less than 3%.

Salinity is likely to be higher on sites suitable for raised beds because of shallow saline watertables and evaporative concentration.

We recommend that you seek professional advice before installing raised beds or investing in the required machinery.

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Page last updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2017 - 11:00am