Subsoil constraints are any physical or chemical characteristic existing below the topsoil that limit crop (or pasture) root access to moisture and nutrients.
Chemical constraints include:
- nutrient deficiencies
Physical constraints can be gravel layers and layers of high bulk density soil which impede root growth and are often caused by compaction or sodicity.
CRC for High Performance Soils (CRC-HPS)
PIRSA, through Rural Solutions SA and SARDI, is a participant in the new Australian Government funded Cooperative Research Centre for High Performance Soils (CRC-HPS). The CRC-HPS has been set up to give farmers the knowledge and tools they need to make decisions on extremely complex soil management issues.
The CRC-HPS bridges the gap between soil science and farm management. The outputs will allow farmers to:
- optimise their productivity, yield and profitability
- ensure the long-term sustainability of their farming businesses.
PIRSA aims to lead develop projects in the subsoil constraints component of the program and support other outputs through field validation in South Australia. The projects will also work closely with the South Australian Grain Industry Trust Fund which has committed $1m over 10 years. Allocations of funding for programs and partners has not yet been determined and this will be negotiated over the coming months.
The research will directly align with PIRSA’s priorities to build capability and secure production and will build on the work undertaken through the original New Horizons project. This coupled with other partnership projects with GRDC and CSIRO, will significantly progress the science and practical application of sub soil constraint management in South Australia.