J W. Gartrell

Publication Date


Document Type


DAFWA Collections

Grains and field crops


In the late 1920's the seven million acres of virgin land between Hyden and Salmon Gums were considered for settlement under the "3,500 farms scheme" because it constituted "practically the only large area of wheat lands in a suitable climatic zone not then settled in Australia" (Teakle 1939). At that time the sandy scrubplain soils were more a liability than an asset because methods of profitably farming the light soils had not then been evolved. These useless scrubplains merely increased the distances between patches of' more f'ertile soils. The scheme for settlement was based mainly on the potential of' the heavy woodland soils with limited use made of' the clay based mallee soils on which yields quickly dropped off after a small number of cereal crops (which more recent experience suggests was simply due to nitrogen deficiency). The woodland soils constitute only about 30 per cent of' the total area. One third of the area of woodland soils was considered to be unsuitable for normal cropping due to excess soil salt. Despite the fact that only about 25 per cent of the total area was considered sound for intensive cereal cropping and an additional 20 per cent for extensive grazing, Teakle concluded that there seemed no reason from the standpoint of soils why settlement should not spread across the area in question should there be an economic urge for increased wheat and wool production after consolidation in settled areas.

Number of Pages



Western Australia, Wheat, Sheep.