Improving yield on sodic soil: assessing the value of genetic improvement

Schilling,RK1, Taylor J1 Armstrong R2, Christopher J3, Dang Y3, Rengasamy P1, Sharma DL4, Smith R4, Tavakkoli E5, McDonald GK1

1 The University of Adelaide, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, Waite Campus PMB 1 Glen Osmond SA 5064,

  1. 2. Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, Natimuk Rd, Horsham Vic, 3400

3 School of Agriculture and Food Science, University of Queensland, Tor St Toowoomba, Qld, 4350

4 Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia, Baron Hay Court, South Perth, WA, 6151

NSW Department of Primary Industries, Pine Gully Rd, Wagga Wagga, NSW, 2650


Soils with alkaline sodic (dispersive) subsoils are widespread in the Australian grains belt.  Improving the tolerance of wheat to the range of stresses encountered in these soils has the potential to improve yield and water use efficiency.  Wheat varieties were tested at sites on alkaline soils with varying degrees of sodicity in all mainland States.  The lines were also screened for tolerance to high boron, pH and aluminium.  Genetic correlations among sites from the southern and western regions were high but were markedly different from the Queensland sites.  The benefit of tolerance to multiple stresses was expressed at sodic sites with yields less than about 3 t/ha and tolerance to soil constraints was estimated to improve yields by up to 10% when yields were less than 2 t/ha.


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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