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During 1999-2009, soil testing for pH (in CaCl2) was used to determine lime application for 48 paddocks at the Vasse Research Centre at Busselton, in the south-west of Western Australia (WA).
Paddocks had been grazed intensively by dairy cows and their young stock over a period of 10 years, as part of the Vasse Milk Farmlets and Greener Pastures farming system projects. Pasture consisted of annual ryegrasses with some subterranean clover. Soils in the 48 paddocks were 1-2 m sand to sandy loam over massive clay, known locally as Abba sand.
For many soils in the region, including Abba sands, the topography is flat and the soils are waterlogged from June to early September in the typical May to November growing season. No major liming program had been undertaken in the 48 paddocks before April 1999, and soil testing in 1999 indicated soil pH for the top 10 cm of soil was 4.0-5.0 in all paddocks.
Soil acidification was therefore identified as a major problem, and a liming program was undertaken to rectify the problem, starting in 1999.
Number of Pages
Soil acidity, Soil sampling, Plant growth, Toxicity, Pastures, Western Australia
Plant Sciences | Soil Science
Bolland, M, Russell, B, Staines, M, Morris, R, Lucey, J, and Bennett, D L. (2011), Greener pastures 6 - Managing soil acidity in dairy pastures. Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, Perth. Bulletin 4813.
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