Sandy soils are often associated with poor fertility. In South Australia, there is an estimated 2.7 million hectares of sandy soils, under agriculture production in South Australia.
Increasing production in sandy soils
The SA Government launched the original New Horizons project in 2013, which initially focussed on overcoming constraints in poorly performing sandy soils. After three years of research, trials in Eyre Peninsula, the Murray Mallee and the South East have shown the best soil modification treatments can increase average crop yields by 70 to 180%.
This original project has been incorporated into a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)-funded project, ‘Increasing production on sandy soils in low and medium rainfall areas of the Southern region’ (CSP00203); a collaboration between the CSIRO, the University of South Australia, the Government of South Australia through the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc. and AgGrow Agronomy.
The new industry-led research project, with trial sites in southern NSW, Victoria and South Australia, will:
- identify ‘problem sands’ and how they are impacting on crop growth and yields
- investigate cost-effective solutions to increasing crop production on sandy soils.
The three original New Horizons trial sites on the Eyre Peninsula and in the Murray Mallee and South East will continue as part of the GRDC project.