12 April 2021
More than 5 million hectares of land across WA is affected by water repellency. Water repellence in soils is a major problem for our grain growing regions resulting in an estimated loss of $100 million for crop and pasture production.
Water repellency is caused when hydrophobic (water repellent) 'skins', made from plant waxes and other products from the natural process of plant bio-degradation, form around individual sand grains and repel water from the soil and limit the flow of water to the crop.
Uneven wetting of soils causes poor germination of crop, pasture and weed plants and increased risks from wind and water erosion.
WA researchers have shown beneficial bacteria present in these soils can reduce water repellency and to improve water management in repellent soils CSIRO has developed a number of farming practices which are now standard use for growing grain including zero/no tillage and stubble retention.
Stay tuned next week as we continue this story on FYCT!
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