Melissa Fraser1, Nigel Wilhelm2 and David Davenport3
1 Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA), 74 Struan House Rd, Naracoorte, SA, 5271, Melissa.email@example.com,
2 South Australian Research and Development Institute, PIRSA, Urrbrae, SA, 5064,
3 PIRSA, Port Lincoln, SA, 5606
Crop water-use on sandy soils is often poor with productivity constrained by the presence of water repellence, compaction, low water holding capacity and/or poor nutrient and biological fertility. Treatments that addressed these constraints were applied in a field trial on the Eyre Peninsula in 2014. Crop responses and changes in soil fertility have been measured. Physically mixing the soil to 0.3 m by spading was beneficial on this sand; yield responses in the order of 70 to 100 % were seen in 2018, five years after treatments were applied (unmodified control = 2.35 t/ha); further yield increases in the first two years were obtained with the incorporation of lucerne hay in the spading operation.
Similar results were seen in comparable trials in the Murray Mallee and South East of SA, confirming that crop performance on sandy soils can be substantially improved when their inherent constraints are addressed. Understanding the nature and interaction of the constraints is vital to identify the optimum amelioration strategy.