The Swan Valley is an important agricultural, recreational, tourist and heritage area in which there are a number of competing land uses because of its location close to Perth. The traditional agricultural use, mainly centred around the viticulture industry, has to compete with tourist development, urban encroachment, hobby farms and clay extraction. The major objective of this report was to identify any areas of prime horticultural land which should be retained for that purpose. A land capability study was done using the existing soil series map of the Swan Valley (Pym 1955), which covers most of the Swan Valley Policy Area. The map units were assessed for 11 land qualities (e.g. site drainage, rooting conditions) which were then related to the land use requirements to derive the land capability ratings. The ratings for six horticultural crops: table grapes, wine grapes, dried vine fruit, stone fruit, citrus and market gardening were determined. Map production was done by the Department of Agriculture's Geographic Information System (digital data base) to enable interpretative analysis and reproduction of special purpose maps. A corridor of prime horticultural land for table grape production has been identified adjacent to the Swan River and corresponds to the Swan, Belhus, Houghton, Pyrton, Herne and Cruse soil series. This corridor would be suitable for a special horticultural zone within the Swan Valley, with the boundaries corresponding to the existing Swan Valley Rural Zone. Tight control over alternative land uses would be needed to protect the prime agricultural land and ensure the long term prosperity of the table grape industry. The competing land uses include subdivision, tourism and clay extraction. Included with the report are maps showing the soil types (1:25,000) (Pym 1955) and the land capability for table grapes (1:50,000). Land capability maps for the other land uses assessed are available from the Department of Agriculture on request.
Land capability, Soil surveys, Horticultural crops, Viticulture, Table grapes, Land use planning, Western Australia, Swan Valley (WA)
Campbell-Clause, J M, and Moore, G A. (1991), Land capability study for horticulture in the Swan Valley. Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, Perth. Report 6.
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