Field tour delves into soils research

Field tour delves into soils research

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Soils tour participants stand in a soil pit that is looking at the impact of deep ripping on soil movement, at a research site on a property east of Meckering.

Soils tour participants stand in a soil pit that is looking at the impact of deep ripping on soil movement, at a research site on a property east of Meckering.

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THE Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) hosted a delegation of Australia’s leading soils researchers on a soils field tour to Meckering last Thursday and Friday.

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THE Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) hosted a delegation of Australia’s leading soils researchers on a soils field tour to Meckering last Thursday and Friday.

Researchers from organisations including the CSIRO, universities and State departments, along with partners from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), visited a range of research sites, demonstrating soil amelioration treatments that manage common soil constraints, including water repellence, subsoil acidity, compaction and nutrition.

DPIRD senior research officer Chris Gazey said participants viewed and discussed a range of soil management activities.

“We had local soil scientists, growers and consultants on hand to contribute their perspectives on the benefits, decision-making processes, machinery options and practical implementation of soil management practices,” Mr Gazey said.

“Some of the practices we saw during the tour included soil inversion, rotary spading, deep ripping with and without topsoil inclusion, modified one-way ploughing and clay delving.

“A highlight of what we have seen is the implications of management practices on constraints for soils and crops and we are in a position to better quantify the long-term benefits of managing multiple constraints with one or more practices.

“For example, by combining deep tillage with lime to manage compaction and subsoil acidity, we can also reduce water repellence and weed seed bank and improve crop nutrition.”

The tour followed GRDC’s inaugural national soils research forum for leading soils researchers to present and share their ideas and research methodologies and collaborate and provide constructive feedback on planned research.

“The field tour was a fantastic complement to the forum and a rare opportunity to share our work with colleagues from around Australia,” Mr Gazey said.

“We’ve created the opportunity for researchers to talk directly to soil experts and landholders at the forefront of soil research in WA and facilitated a broader conversation and ollaboration on soil constraints nationally.”

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