Grains Research and Development

Trees, tasasaste, permanent pasture

Certain soil types within an environment are not viable for crop, or pasture production. Often pale water repellent sands in low rainfall zones are unproductive and alternative management options should be considered to prevent land degradation.

Establishment of these grasses, pastures and fodder shrubs often employs methods of mitigating the effects of soil water repellence:

Perennial grasses

Deep furrow sowing and scalping is employed to move the repellent soil away from the establishment zone and provide more wettable and moist soil for plant establishment.

Fodder shrubs

Fodder shrubs such as tagasaste are usually planted from seed by commercial contract seeders who have a successful system they use.

The standard practice when seeding tagasaste is to scalp a one metre wide strip to remove the weeds and non-wetting topsoil and to rip a line to seed along. Ripping allows easy root penetration, improved harvesting of water and better survival over the first summer.

If the scalping process is skipped, herbicides need to be applied for weed control.

The use of soil wetting agents are also advised when seeding into non-wetting sands.

Additional resources

More information on alternative land use practices can be found at the following websites: