Organic amendments and lentil growth in Mallee soils

Mitchell Fromm1, Jason Brand1, Audrey Delahunty2, James Nuttall1

1 Agriculture Victoria, 110 Natimuk Road, Horsham, Victoria, 3400,, 2 Agriculture Victoria, Cnr Eleventh St & Koorlong Ave, Irymple, Victoria 3498


Lentil production in the Victorian Mallee has been increasing at a rapid rate due to improved adaptation of lentil cultivars to dry environments and the rotational and financial benefits this crop provides.  Dune swale systems cover a large portion of cropping area in the region, where lighter textured (sandy) soils can be infertile and inherently lower yielding. Increased organic carbon improves soil fertility and can be enhanced through the addition of organic amendments such as poultry or pig litter or potentially almond hulls.  This study assessed the response of lentils to poultry litter, almond hulls and standard fertiliser across three soil types from the Victorian Mallee environment.  The glasshouse trial showed that poultry litter provided the greatest yield increase and stability across the three soil types compared to fertiliser, where increases were 6, 29 and 24% for swale, mid slope and dune soils respectively.  Where almond hull was applied, yield was consistently lower than for fertiliser across respective soil types.  Importantly these results highlight the value of poultry litter increasing the productivity of sand dune type soils to the equivalent productivity of the heavier swale soil type.  Further work is required to assess the long-term benefits and the practicality of using such amendments in a large-scale farming context.


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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