Department of Agriculture, Western Australia
An important domestic and export vegetable industry is located on the sands of the Swan Coastal Plain (SCP) in Western Australia. The total value of the vegetable industry on the SCP was estimated at $90M in 1996/7 or about 50% of the total value of the industry. This vegetable production has been located on good quality sands such as the Spearwood and yellow Karrakatta sands, close to the coast, since the 1950s. However in recent years competition for this land for urban and industrial use has forced vegetable production onto soils with poorer water and phosphorus retention capacity such as the more acidic Bassendean (Joel) and grey-phase Karrakatta sands. This has lead leaching of fertiliser phosphorus into water systems of the SCP such as lakes, rivers and estuaries with resulting pollution (algae blooms). Even though vegetable production is not the only or main source of this leached phosphorus the issue has resulted in negative publicity for the industry and increased scrutiny of industry practices by government agencies charged with responsibility for water, the environment and health.
Number of Pages
Western Australia, Sandy soils, Swan coastal plain region, Potatoes, Cauliflowers, carrots, Gypsum, Vegetables, Soil amendments, Leaching, Water pollution, Phosphorus fertilisers.
McPharlin, I, Robertson, W J, and Jeffery, R C. (1998), The use of red mud/gypsum to reduce water pollution from sandy soils used for vegetable production. Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, South Perth. Report VG519.
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