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Best practice liming project to help address sub-soil acidity

We are looking for a farmer from north-east Victoria to host a trial site as part of this project. If you think you have a subsoil acidity constraint (ideally less than pH 5 in the 5-20cm zone) and would like to be involved in a trial looking at best practice liming and lime quality issues, please email Riverine Plains Project Officer, Jane McInnes at jane@riverineplains.org.au .

Riverine Plains is pleased to be leading a new GRDC investment, Best practice liming to address sub-soil acidity in NE Victoria, which aims to increase awareness of acidity and pH stratification in local soils, as well as the management tools available to farmers.

While many grain growers are working towards maintaining surface soil pH values above pH 5 through regular soil testing and targeted lime applications, highly acidic layers in the 5-20cm sub-soil can affect production and economic returns, especially when sensitive crops such as pulses are grown.

Because surface-applied lime only moves very slowly down the soil profile, applied lime may only be acting in the surface zone, failing to reach acidic layers further down the profile. Moreover, because soil testing has traditionally been done by bulking surface and subsoil layers together, many farmers may be unaware they have an acid soil layer that is limiting production.

As part of this new project, Riverine Plains will establish a replicated trial to look at how the incorporation of lime can improve the distribution of lime down the soil profile and lessen the impacts of soil acidity on subsequent crops. Some of the techniques which are being considered for the trial include spading, discing, ripping and prickle-chaining.

The lime treatment trial will be established during February 2022 and will compare crop performance of subsequent crops across the different treatments. These results will then be used to inform an economic analysis of the treatment options, while intensive soil sampling will also help to understand differences in nutrient availability, pH and soil organic carbon between treatments.

Lime quality can be quite variable so Riverine Plains will also be establishing a demonstration trial at the same site looking at the quality effect of lime.

For further information about the project, or to learn how to become involved, please contact Riverine Plains Project Officer, Jane McInnes on 03 5744 1713 or email jane@riverineplains.org.au.

Best practice liming project to help address sub-soil acidity

23 August, 2021

Word Count: 499

Best practice liming project to help address sub-soil acidity

Acid soils have long been known to be a major constraint to crop and pasture production in north-east Victoria, with the reacidification of previously limed soils and pH stratification becoming increasingly important issues for the region’s grain farmers.

Given the local significance of the issue, Riverine Plains is pleased to be leading a new GRDC investment, Best practice liming to address sub-soil acidity in NE Victoria, which aims to increase awareness of acidity and pH stratification in local soils, as well as the management tools available to farmers.

Riverine Plains Project Officer, Jane McInnes, explained that acid soils can severely limit production rates and economic returns, especially when growing sensitive crops such as pulses.

“While many grain growers are working towards maintaining surface soil pH values above pH 5 through regular soil testing and targeted lime applications, we are increasingly seeing highly acidic layers in the 5-20cm sub-soil affect production” said Ms McInnes.

“Surface-applied lime only moves very slowly down the soil profile and this can mean that lime may only be acting in the surface zone, failing to reach acidic layers further down the profile” she added.

As part of the project, Riverine Plains will establish a replicated trial to look at how the incorporation of lime can improve the distribution of lime down the soil profile and lessen the impacts of soil acidity on subsequent crops. Some of the techniques which are being considered for the trial include spading, discing, ripping and prickle-chaining.

The lime treatment trial will be established during February 2022 and will compare crop performance of subsequent crops across the different treatments. These results will then be used to inform an economic analysis of the treatment options, while intensive soil sampling will also help to understand differences in nutrient availability, pH and soil organic carbon between treatments.

“Lime quality can be quite variable so we will also be establishing a demonstration trial at the same site looking at the quality effect of lime” explained Ms McInnes.

The demonstration will also include an elemental sulfur treatment to accelerate acidification and give an indication of the future effects if lime was not applied.

Project steering committee member, Rutherglen farmer and GRDC southern panellist, Andrew Russell, said that because soil testing has traditionally been done by bulking surface and subsoil layers together, many farmers may be unaware they have an acid soil layer that is limiting production.

“By raising awareness of this issue, and ways to manage it, we hope to be able to improve the effectiveness of local liming programs in the long-term” he said.

For further information about the project, or to learn how to become involved, please contact Riverine Plains Project Officer, Jane McInnes on 03 5744 1713 or email jane@riverineplains.org.au.

Riverine Plains is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

….ends………………

More Information or Interview:

Jane McInnes, Project Officer, Riverine Plains on 03 5744 1713.

Pulse Check Discussion Group Paddock Walk – Monday 16 July

A post-sowing paddock walk will be held on the 16 July 2018 from 9:30 am for growers and advisors interested in pulse production.

The paddock walk will include visits to chickpea and faba bean crops near Goorambat and Devenish, Victoria. Discussions at each paddock will focus on crop establishment and early-season issues including;

• Response to sowing time, sowing rate and depth
• Plant density
• Early establishment pests and strategies
• Early crop disease identification and control strategies
• Early crop weed control strategies
• Update on market developments/opportunities for lentils, chickpeas and other pulses

Attendees do not need to have attended previous meetings or have any prior knowledge in pulse production to attend.

Please note the discussion group has recently been expanded to cover all pulse types.

For more information please download the July RPI Pulse Check discussion group flyer

Interested in Lentils & Chickpeas? Join our new Pulse Check discussion group.

Expressions of Interest for Pulse Check Groups

Southern Pulse Extension Project

Riverine Plains Inc seeking Expressions of Interest for a regional Pulse Check Group as part of the GRDC Southern Pulse Extension Project.

The GRDC Southern Pulse Extension project, delivered by a consortium of organisations involved in the pulse industry across GRDC’s Southern region, provides a collaborative opportunity to increase the knowledge of growers and advisers on sustainable pulse production, improving the Southern Region’s capacity to maximise future growth and profitability opportunities.

Riverine Plains Inc will form a Pulse Check discussion group which will meet 3-4 times annually for the duration of the project (2017-2019). Paddock walks and discussions will focus on the practical aspects of pulse production, management and marketing in this region.

The first Pulse Check group meeting is planned for later this year, prior to harvest, and will cover issues associated with the lead-up to harvest, as well as paddock selection for next year and hands on activities in current season pulse crops.

Pulse Check Groups will be facilitated by local representatives with access to national technical expertise.  Groups will be comprised of a minimum of 12 growers and 3 advisers.  Prior experience in growing pulses is not required as the purpose of the group is to increase regional knowledge and capacity in pulse production.

If you would like to be involved in the Riverine Plains Inc Pulse Check discussion group (North east Victoria/Southern NSW), please contact Michelle Pardy, Riverine Plains Inc Pulse Check Group Facilitator,  on 03 5744 1713 or email michelle@riverineplains.org.au by October 2nd, 2017.

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