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Rising water tables are becoming a major issue across the Wheatbelt of WA. Once the watertable breaks the surface the land is unsuitable for profitable cereal cropping. This usually occurs in the valley floors where drainage is poor.
Although the client had over 20,000 acres and cropped some 15,000 acres per annum he was increasingly aware of the rising water tables across his valley floors.
These valley floors were no longer profitable for traditional cropping and we undertook an intense saltbush planting program.
His objective was to establish fodder reserves throughout his farm which would feed sheep in late summer and/or early winter months when feed quality and quantity was low. This took the pressure off his pastures and enabled him to confidently keep high sheep flocks throughout these months. Densely planted saltbush will also help lower the watertable over time.
With sheep prices rising he is now able to increase his sheep numbers and hold onto stock in dry years when other farmers are destocking.
Turning a negative problem of salinity into a positive long term asset to the property is paramount to successful landcare
On salt affected soils mounding helps elevate the saltbush from the harsh salt affected soils
Newly planted saltbush elevated on well-formed mounds
Saltbush has a good tolerance to salt affected soils. Site preparation is the key to establishing trees and shrubs on salt affected soils
Eight month old saltbush can be lightly grazed in slowly integrate with the overall farm paddock grazing rotation
Low yielding soil types with a high-water table is ideal for a saltbush reserve. (Bencubbin West Aust.)
Two-year saltbush planted on poor Wodjil soil type (Narembeen West Aust)