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New resource to address SA soil acidification

Primary Industries and Regions SA consultants Brian Hughes and David Woodard.
Photo: Belinda Cay, AgCommunicators

South Australian grain growers are being equipped to better manage soil acidification in their farming systems.

The new Acid Soils SA website has been launched by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), giving growers access to a range of tools and resources to help them diagnose and manage soil acidity.

Much of the information will also be valuable to grazing and horticultural enterprises within the State.

Primary Industries and Regions SA-Rural Solutions SA Principal Consultant, Brian Hughes, says topsoil and subsurface acidity are emerging as serious constraints to crop production in southern Australia.

“The Department for Environment and Water estimates that more than four million hectares of the State’s cropping land is either already acidic or prone to acidification,” he says.

“The rate, depth and intensity of acidification can vary by soil type, texture, carbon content and past management. It is seldom uniform, even within a single paddock.

“Under no-till systems, traditional testing of the 0-10 centimetre layer can also lead to misdiagnosis of acidity issues such as stratification, so deeper testing is required.”

Mr Hughes says by visiting the Acid Soils SA website, growers can adopt better soil pH diagnosis methods, understand the various factors driving acidification in their soils and plan an effective liming program to maintain an optimum soil pH.

The resources on offer include lime and soil acidity calculators, soil pH mapping information, fact sheets, case studies and technical presentations. Many of these were developed by past GRDC and other projects but have recently been updated with the latest knowledge and experience.

The site will also be a valuable source of new information on lime movement in no-till systems and novel acidity management practices to improve the effectiveness of liming on farms in southern Australia.

The Acid Soils SA website has been developed with investment by the GRDC, as part of the ‘New Knowledge and Practices to Address Topsoil and Subsurface Acidity Under Minimum Tillage Cropping Systems of South Australia’ project.

The site incorporates the latest research, recommendations and hands-on knowledge from a range of program partners including Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA), the South Australian Department for Environment and Water, the University of Adelaide, Trengove Consulting, Penrice Quarry & Mineral and AgCommunicators.

More information: Stephen Loss, GRDC, 0408 412 453,

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