The Australia horticulture industry faces increased pressure to adapt farming practices to improve water quality and water use efficiency. With growing impacts from heavier summer downpours, dryer spells and limitations on infrastructure development such as storage dams, the spotlight on water quality and the efficient use of this resource has never been more important, particularly in peri urban communities where a large percentage of Queensland horticulture is grown.

Growers are continually seeking ways to make better efficiencies in the use of available water and fertiliser application whilst avoiding the costly effects of wasted water and energy, leaching of nutrients, chemicals and soil into waterways. As reported in the May/June 2020 edition of the Fruit & Vegetable News magazine, soil moisture monitoring equipment aids this as well as provides a simple and valuable tool for growers to use on a daily basis. This tool used in conjunction with EM38 mapping produces comprehensive soil maps and gives the farmer a better understanding of their soil properties. This is achieved by measuring the electromagnetic conductivity which reads the moisture holding capacity of the soil. So, in it most exaggerated terms, clay versus sand. It helps growers to get a deeper understanding of their soils and water movement within the soils.

EM38 BENEFITS

Helpful for:

  • development planning
  • design applications
  • optimising irrigation designs
  • mapping saline soils
  • drainage & runoff management

Identifies and quantifies:

  • productivity issues
  • soil health issues
  • waterlogging
  • high erosion hotspots

Whilst growers may already know they have soil variances across their farm and fields, soil mapping (EM38 mapping) accurately measures and more importantly quantifies that variance, giving the grower the ability to become more efficient in the application of things like fertiliser and irrigation rates with confidence to do so.

For more information, please contact Hort360 SEQ Project Manager Rowena Beveridge on 0417 783 313 or email rbeveridge@growcom.com.au

Hort360 SEQ is funded by the Department of Environment and Science.