Improving Crop Productivity On Sandy Soils

GRDC - Therese McBeath and Lynne Macdonald (CSIRO), Sam Trengove (Trengove Consulting), Michael Moodie (Mallee Sustainable Farming), Jack Desbiolles (University of South Australia), Melissa Fraser (PIRSA), Rai Kookana and Rick Llewellyn (CSIRO).

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

The authors of this paper note in the conclusion: “Substantial opportunities to increase yield on poor sandy soils have been demonstrated in recent trials. However understanding the rainfall-limited yield potential and season specific effects is important for assessing the likely scope of yield gains and the associated investment risk. Of critical importance to the higher cost interventions is the longevity of effect”. Please access the full paper via the link below if this research interests you.

The take home messages from this GRDC funded research are below. Please access the full paper via the link below for methodology, references, acknowledgements and discussion.

Take home messages from the paper include:

  • Assessing the yield gap and the level of yield increase that the rainfall of a modified soil site can support, along with season specific effects, is an important step in assessing the risk of sand amelioration options.
  • For higher cost interventions knowing the likely longevity of effect is essential. Deep soil disturbance has shown effects for up to four years but it appears that the organic matter treatments tested to date have had most of their effect within two years of application.
  • Characterisation of sites across the sandy soils of the Southern cropping region indicated that compaction and a range of nutritional deficiencies are common issues.
  • Analysis of herbicide issues flagged glyphosate and the breakdown compound AMPA as residues of interest but their impact is still under investigation.
  • Yield responses in 2017 at Ouyen were largely driven by ripping and response to nitrogen (N) input, while at Lameroo, moderate interventions using a fertility band concept had limited impact on a high N background.
  • Economic analysis of long-term trials has assessed the return on investment for a range of treatments and highlighted the seasonal response effects on profit-risk.

2018 - Australia - GRDC - Therese McBeath and Lynne Macdonald (CSIRO), Sam Trengove (Trengove Consulting), Michael Moodie (Mallee Sustainable Farming), Jack Desbiolles (University of South Australia), Melissa Fraser (PIRSA), Rai Kookana and Rick Llewellyn (CSIRO).
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