Despite several decades of research, soil acidity remains a problem hidden beneath the surface of our agricultural soils.
A recent publication by Graham Centre members, Dr Jason Condon and Dr Guangdi Li, along with Helen Burns, of the NSW Department of Primary Industries provided evidence that subsurface acidity is an undiagnosed problem that remains even when growers apply lime.
Dr Condon said it highlights the need for growers to be proactive in their management of soil acidity.
“Recommended practice change includes soil sampling in 5 cm increments to a depth of 20 cm to identify acid layers, raising the pH target of our liming inputs to above pHCa 5.5 and to set that value as the trigger point for maintenance liming events,” he said.
In response to calls from growers, new research aims to provide information about the optimal rates and frequency of liming when surface applied or incorporated.
The research by Charles Sturt University and NSW DPI is being carried out in partnership with Holbrook Landcare Network, Central West Farming Systems, FarmLink Research, the Grassland Society of NSW Inc, South East Local Land Services and ACT Landcare.
“Collaborating growers want to find the most effective methods to remove acidity, manage acidification and improve soil productivity,” Dr Condon said.
Pictured are some of the most recent trials established this year by the Holbrook Landcare Network on two permanent pastures sites.