Canadian Forest Service Publications

Structural amelioration of a South Australian red-brown earth using calcium and organic amendments. 1994. Baldock, J.A.; Aoyama, M.; Oades, J.M.; Susanto; Grant, C.D. Australian Journal of Soil Research 32: 571-94.

Year: 1994

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 4419

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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The ability of wheat straw, gypsum and agricultural lime to ameliorate the unstable structural condition of a degraded red-brown earth located at the Waite Agricultural Research Institute, South Australia, was investigated in a field experiment lasting 5 years. Wheat straw was added at rates of 0, 5 and 10 t ha-1 y-1, and gypsum and agricultural lime were added at rates of 3·4 and 2·0 t ha-1 y-1 respectively. Most of the measurements were taken on samples collected after three and four consecutive years of treatment applications, but some were taken one year after the fifth and final application of the treatments.

The amount of water-stable macroaggregation in the top 10 cm increased with increasing rate of wheat straw application. Addition of agricultural lime incorporated with straw temporarily increased macroaggregate stability to a greater extent than was observed with either amendment alone. The proportion of the soil surface occupied by macropores was also increased significantly by addition of agricultural lime, and this was attributed to a stimulation of biological activity in the soil due to the increased soil pH. Density fractionation of the soil suggested the turnover of the added wheat straw in the lime-treated soil was greater than in the gypsum-treated and control soils.

Addition of gypsum decreased the content of mechanically dispersible clay by modifying the electrolyte concentration and composition, but was unable to completely resist the dispersive tendencies created by the decomposing organic residues. The high rates of wheat straw incorporated in the top 10 cm caused significant dispersion in the top 20 cm, which was thought to have mobilized clay particles causing them to move downward, resulting in pore blockage and the consequent lowering of hydraulic conductivity in the zone immediately below.