Soil Acidity

Innovative and cost-effective methods to manage ‘emerging’ soil acidity to improve soil health, crop and pasture production 

Funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, the project is being delivered by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) through its Rural Solutions SA Division.

Farmers in the Mid North and upper Yorke Peninsula will benefit from a new Agricultural Bureau of SA project offering innovative and cost-effective solutions for managing and treating acid soils.

The project will work with six Ag Bureau groups (three in the Mid North and three on the upper Yorke Peninsula), where soil acidity has been identified or likely to become an issue. Each group will have the opportunity to have a number of paddocks mapped with the new Veris® soil pH machine, purchased by PIRSA from the USA in 2015. The pH maps prepared from this machine reveal the variability of soil pH across paddocks.

Due to intensive and productive farming systems, soil acidity is now an emerging and increasing problem in many areas of the Mid North and on the ‘red’ soils of the Yorke Peninsula that can reduce crop and pasture production.

Mr Andrew Harding, Senior Consultant, Rural Solutions SA, said the project would help farmers to identify acid soils and assess the best ways to treat these soils. “High value crops such as lentils, chickpeas and beans are highly sensitive to low pH or acid soils, and where these crops are grown on these soils,” Mr Harding said. “They often go yellow, do not nodulate well and die in patches. “Lime is the most efficient and cost-effective means to treat acid soils. From the pH maps, lime prescription maps will be produced showing where lime needs to be targeted and at the right rates.  “Mapping these demonstration paddocks will enable farmers to better understand the soil pH variability across their paddocks. Information from the maps will be used in farmer workshops with decision support tools to provide farmers with a better awareness, understanding, management and treatment of acid soils.”

This project commenced in September 2018 and will finish in April 2020.

For more information please contact Andrew Harding at Rural Solutions SA (PIRSA) Clare on 0417 886 835.

"Reducing the risk of soil acidification", funded by Caring for our Country.

This project will sample both surface and sub-surface pH and trial precision agriculture equipment for mapping soil pH across paddocks in the Northern and Yorke region of SA.

This project builds on an extensive body of previous work by the Ag Bureau and its branches across SA. The accumulated knowledge is presented in the following fact sheets:

Understanding soil acidity

Farming systems and soil acidity

Identification and treatment of sub-surface soil acidity

For more information, please contact