Addressing subsoil acidity in the field with deep liming and organic amendments: Research update for a long-term experiment

Guangdi Li1,3, Richard Hayes1,3, Jason Condon1,2,3, Sergio Moroni2,3, Ehsan Tavakkoli1,3, Helen Burns1, Richard Lowrie1, Adam Lowrie1, Graeme Poile1, Albert Oates1, Andrew Price1 and Alek Zander2

1 NSW Department of Primary Industries, Pine Gully Road, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650,,,
2 Charles Sturt University, Boorooma Street, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650,
3 Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Albert Pugsley Place, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650


A long-term field experiment was established in 2016 to manage subsurface soil acidity through innovative amelioration methods with the aim to increase productivity, profitability and sustainability. Deep placement of lime increased soil pH and reduced exchangeable Al% at the depth where lime was placed, but there was no evidence to show vertical alkalinity movement during the first 3 years of the experiment.  Deep placement of lucerne pellets did not increase soil pH as much as expected, but reduced exchangeable Al%. Significant yield improvement was recorded from deep placement of lucerne pellets in a wet year (2016) but not in dry years experienced in 2017 and 2018, although large amount of mineral nitrogen was measured in autumn in 2017. Crop performance and soil chemical, physical and biological properties will be continually monitored to understand plant-soil interactions, the factors driving the differences in crop response to various treatments, and the long-term residual value of soil amendments.


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University

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