News

Action on acid soils

Monday 3 December 2018

Farmers in the Mid North and the upper Yorke Peninsula will benefit from a new project offering innovative and cost-effective solutions for managing and treating acid soils.


Due to intensive and productive farming systems, soil acidity is becoming an emerging and increasing problem in many areas of the Mid North and on the ‘red’ soils of the Yorke Peninsula, that can reduce crop and pasture production.

A new project through the Agricultural Bureau of SA, funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme, is being delivered by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) through its Rural Solutions SA division.

Mr Andrew Harding, Senior Consultant, Rural Solutions SA, said that this project helps farmers identify acid soils and assess the best ways to treat these soils.

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

“This project will work with six Agricultural Bureau Groups (three in the Mid North and three on the upper Yorke Peninsula) where soil acidity has been identified or is likely to become an issue.

“Each group will have the opportunity to have a number of paddocks mapped with the new Veris® soil pH machine. This machine was purchased by PIRSA from the USA in 2015. The pH maps prepared from this machine reveal the variability of soil pH across paddocks.

“Lime is the most efficient and cost-effective means to treat acid soils.

“From the pH maps, lime prescription maps are produced showing where lime needs to be targeted and at the right rates.

“Mapping these demonstration paddocks will enable the farmers to better understand the soil pH variability across their land. Information from the maps will be used in farmer workshops with decision support tools to provide farmers with a better awareness, understanding, management and treatment of acid soils.”

This project commenced in September 2018 and will finish in April 2020.

Farmers are invited to contact Andrew Harding, Rural Solutions SA (PIRSA) Clare for further information, on 0417 886 835.

Image: PIRSA’s Veris® soil pH machine.

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