Project Delivery: North Stirling Pallinup Natural Resources
Contact: Danielle Short (SWCC-Narrogin). Ph 9881 0202. Email: Danielle.firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: SWCC Sustainable Agriculture
Start Date: June 2014 End Date: Dec 2017
Site ID: SF10
Size Are Ha: 5
The trial intends to demonstrate that correct pasture species selection, best practice planting and establishment methods, can result in successful pasture production under saline conditions typical of soils in the Upper Coblinine catchment.
Pasture production on saline soils will maintain groundcover levels in order to reduce soil and nutrient loss through wind and water erosion, and prevent pollution of runoff water with saline soil into waterways. Maintaining groundcover on soils will also improve micro environmental conditions for soil microbes and macro organisms, so improving soil biological activity and health.
This trial will involve a 5ha site is a natural catchment with severe salinity issues and a current an ECe of 44.8dS/m, currently it is very bare and only grows sparse barley grass. The trial of will incorporate 9 treatments over 2 different soil types of newer strains of pasture species, both annuals and perennials. This trial will show the benefits and results of these new varieties in comparison with species that are widely available but may not be as well suited to saline conditions.
Block 1: Rows of Rivermor Saltbush with interrow of existing plant species. Approximately less than 1ha in size.
Block 2: Plots of pasture alone. Treatment 2a has one replicate as seed was scarce; everything else has two replicates. Plot area will be determined when we finalise our trial plan, but will be small treatment plots in the first year in order to determine the pasture species best suited to the site. Approximately less than 1ha in size.
1: Tall Wheat Grass 8kg/ha and Puccinellia 2kg/ha
2a: Messina 10kg/ha (200g seed only)
2b: Bakhara Clover var Jota 7kg/ha
3: Sub-clover var Dalkeith 10kg/ha
4: Lucerne var Silverosa 5kg/ha
5: BALL Salina 20kg/ha
6: Balansa clover var Frontier 5kg/ha and Persian Clover var Nitro 5kg/ha
7: Medic Blend:
Strand var Angel 5kg/ha
Barrell var Caliph 10kg/ha
Burr var Cavalier 10kg/ha
8: BALL Feeder Mix 30kg/ha
9: Control. Fert, no seed.
To minimize risk of poor establishment, the plantings will be in small plots, and sown in both autumn and spring in the first year. After the first year it will be ascertained which varieties are the most suited to this area and the best performing varieties will be selected to be sown in much larger plots in the second year.
Standard soil testing including measurement of topsoil (0-10cm) and mid soil (10-20cm), and EM38 will be to access changes in soil health, pasture persistence will be measured to establish if the pasture varieties are suitable for saline situations and grazing data such as Feed on offer, % ground cover per hectare and pasture height before grazing and after grazing will be collected every 3 months to determine the productivity levels that these pastures can produce.
November Update: Unfortunately due to time constraints the sowing of the pasture trial and mounding and planting of saltbush seedlings was done a month later then planned. After a successful germination, the wet winter meant that the pasture site spent 3 weeks under 2 cms of water!!! The water logging and salinity of the site proved to be one of the harshest of sites, with only the Tall Wheat Grass, Puccinellia, some rye varieties within the Ball Salina and Ball Feeder mixes and the Messina surviving the conditions. The surviving plants will be seeded in larger plots next year and planted earlier to give them more time to establish before the chance of becoming water logged.
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