Industrial oil product to improve soil aggregation by Dr Mohammed Hamza

PRELIMINARY STUDIES to evaluate the effectiveness of a range of polyacrylamides in stabilising surface and subsoils have been carried out at the University of Western Australia. Since the 1980s, improvements in the co-polymers available, in application methodologies together with markedly reduced costs have greatly enhanced tbe potential uses of these materials.

Polyacrylamides are polymers of high molecular weight- usually produced from vegetable oils. Because of their high viscosity, they are used in agriculture to improve soil aggregation, reduce wind soil erosion and increase irrigation efficiency.

When applied to the soil, they are unlikely to change the soil pH because their pH is 6.0- 7.0. Polyacrylamide treatment of irrigation water is one of the fastest-growing soil and water conservation technologies in irrigated agriculture.

Preliminary studies carried out by an Honours degree student, Hannah Struckman at UWA, have shown that when applied under appropriate conditions of electrolyte concentration, a number of the non-ionic polymers are likely to be of considerable benefit in stabilising sub-soils for sufficient time to allow sustainable root penetration by field crops.

Program 4 Contact: Prof Graham Aylmore -08 9380 2484 email aylmore@cyllene.uwa.edu.au Dr Mohammed Hamza 08 9081 3122 email mhamza@agric.wa.gov.au