Wind ero­sion con­cerns

Midwest Times - - NEWS -

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

Land­hold­ers are urged not to let live­stock over­graze their pad­docks dur­ing the dry months. Pic­ture: DPIRD

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