Gypsum could help barley grow!

Gypsum could help barley grow!
04 May 2021

There are two main causes of salinity in WA - dryland salinity, which is the result of the shallow watertable caused by the clearing of native vegetation and affects maybe 10pc of farms, and transient salinity, which comes from a range of sources, including rain and dust, and builds up over time in dispersive soils.

The application of incredibly low rates of the most common of the sulfate minerals – gypsum, on soils affected by transient salinity could increase barley yields by up to 28 per cent, according to data from a trial being run by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) at the Merredin Research Station in WA.

DPIRD principal soil scientist Ed Barrett-Lennard said "This low rate of gypsum acts like a gate - when the soil opens, the salt leaches out and when it closes, the salt is gone - but if you put on a higher rate of gypsum the soils will be open for longer and there may be other benefits associated with that."

"The extent of this issue is not yet clear but if we could achieve 10pc improvements in grain yield across 20 to 30pc of the Wheatbelt, with a soil treatment that only costs a couple of dollars per hectare, then that could be very interesting."

This is a promising proof of concept for our grain farmers and we look forward to more encouraging results in the future!



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