Wind erosion concerns
Landholders are being urged to help prevent their topsoil blowing away by making sure paddocks have enough ground cover this summer.
Wind erosion has already been reported in drier districts.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development manager Brendan Nicholas said the aim was to maintain ground cover until new plant growth appeared.
Mr Nicholas said it was important to keep the soil stable and anchored to prevent valuable topsoil from being blown away and limiting yields of future crops and pastures. “Department trials have shown that at least 50 per cent prostrate ground cover or 30 per cent standing stubble is required to protect paddocks from wind and water erosion,” he said. “That is equivalent to about one tonne per hectare of cereal stubble or 600kg/ha of dry pasture at the beginning of summer.
“For lupin and canola stubble, about two, onetonnes/ is recommended.”
Mr Nicholas said landholders should assess paddocks every couple of weeks, as ground cover would naturally decline over the summerautumn period.
“While ground cover may look adequate at the moment, it will deteriorate naturally over the next few months, due to sunlight and moisture,” he said.
Mr Nicholas said it was important for landholders to minimise machinery movement and remove livestock immediately from paddocks with less than 50 per cent ground cover to minimise erosion.
Other management options include protecting bare areas around gates, fence lines and watering points to prevent the surface soil becoming detached.
Summer weed management will also be a challenging consideration, as landholders attempt to balance the benefit that comes from providing ground cover against the risks associated with delaying control treatments.
The department recently updated its 2018-19 season website with information to assist landholders with stock and land management decisions.
Visit agric.wa.gov.au/ drought-and-dry-seasons/seasongement-information-farmers