Fact Sheet #1 – June 2003
Dr. John Leys – Senior Research Scientist, DSNR
Wind erosion is an issue often associated with Mallee farming practices across the project region. This often results in accusations that the land is not being managed in a sustainable way. Therefore, an important fact for Mallee farmers to consider is that—it is how the land is farmed that causes erosion, not the fact that it is farmed.
Erosion must be managed both in the short term, based on seasonal variability, and in the longer term, focusing on development of a sustainable system.
Currently, conventional district practice concentrates on two or three-year rotations that involve a fallow and or pasture phase. These conventional rotations are more likely to erode due to the pasture and fallow phase
A summary of the key criteria found from this research includes:
• Soil cover (stubble, trash, crop, good pasture) is the best way of controlling erosion on sandy mallee soils.
• Soil aggregation (clods) can provide erosion protection on heavier textured soils (e.g. loam and clay loam).
• Soil aggregation levels are maximised where there is growing crop/pasture and tillage is minimised.
• Rotations with more crops (especially cereals) and pastures and less cultivation produce higher soil cover and aggregation levels and consequently lower erosion rates.