Farmers looking to restore paddock pH

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EP farmers keen to address acidifying paddock soils are invited to register for workshops in Cleve and Cummins as part of the EP Farming Acid Soils Champions program.

Eyre Peninsula farmers keen to address acidifying paddock soils are invited to register for workshops as part of the EP Farming Acid Soils Champions program.

Aiming to bring land managers together to tackle emerging acid soil areas at risk, the program includes two free workshops supported by Natural Resources EP (NREP) through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

NREP Regenerative Agriculture Officer Sarah Voumard believes actions taken by farmers to mitigate local acidifying soils in the next few years will be crucial to the region’s future productivity. “I invite you to register and use these two free half-day workshops, the first in late February and a follow- up in June, as an opportunity to identify and discuss causes and indicators of acidic soils,” she said.

“Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) Soil and Land Management Consultant Brett Masters will present information on the causes of soil acidification and the latest management solutions. We’ll be talking about mapping soil pH, treating soil acidity, lime rates and quantity needed to address soil acidity.

There are limited positions so please call us early to secure a position and so we can tailor the sessions to best suit your needs”. Mr Masters said acidification is happening faster on acid-prone soils on Eyre Peninsula under current farming systems than historic estimates.

“We know this from evidence collected in recent local on-ground projects. Also, evidence based estimates from the Department for Environment and Water indicate that around 7% (186,000 ha) of Eyre Peninsula’s agricultural land, predominantly on lower EP and the Cleve Hills, is currently prone to surface soil acidification,” he said.

“A further 509,000 ha is at risk of acidifying over the next 20-50 years unless adequate ongoing treatment is implemented. How to understand and cost effectively manage this acidification is the focus of these targeted workshops.

“Soil acidification can be accelerated under high nitrogen input systems, particularly on soils with a low capacity to buffer pH change, i.e. sands. In recent years our surveillance sampling is detecting acidification of such soils on Lower Eyre Peninsula, even in areas not traditionally thought of as being prone to soil acidity.

We are finding paddocks with varying soil types may also have large variations in soil pH, creating a patchwork of areas to manage. Managing these areas as separate zones is the key to increasing the cost effectiveness and production benefits of liming operations.”

To register or for further information please call Sarah on (08) 8688 3111.

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