Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4


M R. Howell


Gypsum, Soil structure, Soil stabilization

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One of the limitations to crop productivity in the wheatbelt is the poor structure of heavy textured soils. Many years of clearing and cultivation have caused the loss of soil organic matter and breakdown of soil aggregates - particles of sand, silt and clay - in the surface layers. This has led to the development of unstable soils with poor physical properties.

Although loss of soil structure is a serious problem, it can be reversed by altering the tillage practices that caused the problem. This improvement in soil structure and return to productivity can be a slow process. However gypsum can be applied to hasten the rate of improvement of unstable soils and when used in conjunction with sensible soil management practices, gypsum can improve long term stability.