Sustainable Grazing on Saline Land (SGSL) project products

Luke Beange
An extension package from landholders and advisers who successfully overcame major problems in the Sustainable Grazing on Saline Land project contains some valuable lessons for other landholders with a salty patch, says project leader, Luke Beange.

Team members behind the award winning Sustainable Grazing on Saline Land (SGSL) project are putting together a dossier of extension information to summarise their research.

The project has investigated the best ways to establish productive pastures on saline areas since 2003 and ends this year.

Farmer groups between Inverell and Albury were funded to trial their own ideas for saline land management in their area.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) established 25 sites around the State with financial assistance from Land, Water and Wool, and despite the challenges presented by the drought, most sites provided many interesting results.

“A two page trial site summary for each of the sites outlines the site issues, characteristics, treatments trialled, type of pastures sown and how well they established, pasture performance, grazing management and conclusions from the farmer and farm adviser,” project leader, Luke Beange said.

There will also be a brochure on managing saltland in Northern NSW.

“As there was little research into managing saltland in that region, three more detailed case studies covered pasture mixes for saline or waterlogged sites, pasture options for hostile saline and sodic soils and Tall Wheat Grass pastures for saltland,” Mr Beange said.

Most land managers address saline sites for more than economic reasons, but it is important to understand the economics, so some hard numbers were analysed with landowners in a study in 2006 by NSW DPI salinity economist Rob Welsh.

From this work a farmer publication addressing the economics of saltland agronomy is being published. It is based on a long-term analysis of two properties in the Lachlan Catchment where saltland has been successfully managed for more than a decade.

The bulk of the printed material will be ready by the end of 2007.