Volume 02 – May 2013
QUARTERLY COMMUNICATION FOR AGRICULTURE IN THE SA MALLEE
Planting trees, salt-tolerant plants and lucerne have mitigated a historic seep area for the Smith family in the South Australian southern Mallee.
David Smith and his brother Philip bought their Geranium property with a 10-hectare soak area in 1990.
“Before we bought the property, the previous owners used the area for mud-sliding in buggies,” David said. “There was no way you could crop on there, the ground was so boggy and the soil was saline. It would get boggy after any rain, even in summer.”
Two paddocks adjoin the soak area — pasture on the north side incorporating a sand-hill and prime cropping swale to the south. When the family took over the area, the sandhill was bare and the paddock to the north sowed to pasture. The south paddock is continuously cropped, with sheep grazing stubbles in summer.
The family wanted to do something more useful with the soak area so David started rehabilitation about three years after they took over.
“First we fenced off the side of the hill, where the seepage originates, and planted about 500 trees in 1992 to use up more of the moisture before it could seep,” he said. “It wasn’t a big project, we only had to fence about 1.5 kilometres and we got a group of friends together to plant the trees.”