Soil study re­veals agri­cul­ture po­ten­tial

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

■ Com­mer­cial-scale agri­cul­ture could be a pos­si­bil­ity at 10 new soil parcels iden­ti­fied by the Depart­ment of Wa­ter in the Pil­bara.

Wa­ter Min­is­ter Mia Davies an­nounced the depart­ment had re­ceived pos­i­tive re­sults for ir­ri­gated agri­cul­ture from a GHD study into soil pro­files in the re­gion at the Com­mit­tee for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment of Aus­tralia con­fer­ence.

Ms Davies said one lo­ca­tion with po­ten­tial for ir­ri­gated agri­cul­ture was iden­ti­fied near New­man.

“(GHD) looked at the soil pro­file of the ar­eas and they looked at the prox­im­ity to wa­ter and the fact that the mines there are al­ready op­er­at­ing be­low the wa­ter ta­ble ,so you know you have a con­sis­tent amount of de­wa­ter com­ing,” she said.

“Where you have solid soil pro­files along­side a good wa­ter source there is the op­por­tu­nity for good agri­cul­ture.

“If we can cre­ate hor­ti­cul­ture precincts along­side ma­jor pop­u­la­tion cen­tres, you’re start­ing to talk about jobs in ad­di­tion to those di­rectly re­lated to the pro­ject.”

Ms Davies said it was im­por­tant to en­sure through all the wa­ter projects cur­rently be­ing un­der­taken that an ap­pro­pri­ate level of wa­ter was left in the ground to sus­tain the en­vi­ron­ment.

Pas­toral­ists and Gra­ziers As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Tony Seabrook said it was en­cour­ag­ing to see the State Gov­ern­ment look­ing into ir­ri­gated agri­cul­ture.

“Most pas­toral­ists are money mo­ti­vated,” he said.

“They will have their eyes and ears open and will be in it at a mil­lion miles an hour if it works.”

Min­deroo Foun­da­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Ni­cola For­rest said in­vest­ment into ir­ri­gated agri­cul­ture could en­able pas­toral­ists to dra­mat­i­cally in­crease their herd sizes.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

The CEDA con­fer­ence at the Kar­ratha Leisure­plex.

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