Well it has been a hectic few weeks chasing soil types all around the country. Last week we were on a Soil Expedition through horticultural regions of Victoria and up into the irrigation country on the Murray River.
Approximately 17 different crops were assessed all on varying soil types, with production being influenced by a number of soil constraints. From tomatoes, lettuce, bok choy, potatoes to cotton, all have been under investigation!
Salinity and sodicity are major soil constraints for plant production, especially in irrigation systems. Surface and subsurface dispersion and sealing impact on water infiltration and root movement through the soil profiles. Salinity also imposes osmotic and ionic stresses on the plant which impacts on the water use efficiency in these systems.
Nutrient management in alkaline and acidic systems is a key factor we are seeing in the field. Understanding nutrient availability under high and low pH, EC and soil water contents is important to maximising production for all crop types.
Management plans have been assessed with refinements coming in the form of improved soil amelioration programmes and also the improved timing of foliar nutrient applications to reduce impact of the environmental stress.