News

Latest results from New Horizons confirm soil success

Wednesday 10 February 2016
The latest results from the State Government’s soil improvement project have confirmed sandy soils can be greatly improved, resulting in increased grain yields.

Agriculture Minister Leon Bignell said the New Horizons project had the potential to boost the state’s economy by $800 million in crop and livestock pasture production.

“The second season results of the State Government’s New Horizons project confirmed the 2014 results,” he said.

“The new results showed increases in grain yield between an average of 70 to 200 per cent at all three New Horizons trial sites.

“New Horizons proves soils can be dramatically improved and crop production increased through managing the top 50 cm of soil, rather than the traditional top 10 cm.

“Up to 40 per cent of South Australia’s broadacre farming land suffers from low fertility, low water holding capacity, and soil compaction.

“New Horizons addresses these issues by adding organic matter, clay and nutrients at a deeper depth in the soil than is traditional in South Australian farming.

“These New Horizons techniques have the potential to unlock huge productivity gains and this means more jobs in our regions - for farm hands, business advisers, accountants, bankers, farm consultants and machinery suppliers, and significantly increased demand on our transport services.”

PIRSA soil scientist and New Horizons Program Coordinator Dr Melissa Fraser said the benefit to farmers was immense.

“We are going to continue the trials in 2016 to gain greater certainty about the potential benefits and longevity of each of the applied treatments. The ongoing trials will also allow us to do more economic analysis of the benefits of addressing subsoil constraints in these ways.”

The trial sites are at Brimpton Lake on the Eyre Peninsula, Karoonda in the Murray Mallee, and Cadgee in the South East.

Dr Fraser will be presenting results from the New Horizons trials at the Grains Research Development Corporation conference today the Adelaide Convention Centre.

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