A highlight from A new practice for improving subsoil health and crop yields



Research. Polit thank you for listening and joining us today. And this episode. We will be looking at the work of peter seal and his team at latrobe university in melbourne australia. Who are looking to improve. Subsoil for crop growth where are the new productivity-enhancing farming practices that will enable the world to produce enough food to feed nine billion people by twenty fifty with a global population growing rapidly every year on with millions already having limited access to enough food. It's highly pertinent question. Studies have shown that the global demand for cereal greens will need to increase by almost a half from the two point. Zero seven billion tonnes produced in two thousand five to over three billion tons in twenty-fifty we don't have on limited space on which to grow crops so we need to find ways to improve the yield on existing farmland with rising global temperatures on more variable full. This will not be a simple task. Improving farming practices through. Research can not only improve the years that farmers are currently getting from their crops. What it can also turn down. That was previously difficult to farm into a more viable option. One ye farming practice with the potential to improve croppies. His cold subsoil maturing. This practice has been developed to ameliorate or improve dense. Clay subsoil dense clay. Subsoil is problematic for reinfected crops. The clay particles are densely packed together which restricts the rate at which rian can enter the clay much of the water. The doors enter. The clay is tightly held unavailable to plants the dense clay also restrict root growth. This means the subsoil Effectively capture on store a lot of reinforcing for use by crops. This is a critical issue. As the yields of healthy well managed rian fed crops directly depend on rainfall on the amount of rian they can take in through the roots transpire through their leaves dance class subsoil also limits the amount of error the confused to the spiring routes within the clay when it is moist this means the crop roots struggle for aaron. These wet soap soyuz. In addition the klay drian per day whenever there is a surplus of reinforced during the growing period the resulting poos of surface water can lead to waterlogging dommage for the crops. Chemical constraints can also exacerbate the problems with the subsoils particularly if they are highly alkaline on dispersive or worse still if they are saline soil tends to be more alkaline in arid areas highly alkaline soils have a ph level of above nine. They contain a great deal of sodium on. This makes the clay highly dispersive. An addition there can be toxic concentrations of bicarbonate on carbon callahan's hands on reduced nutrient availability. Because of this stunted growth and nutrient deficiency com. So is the container. Harmful amount of salt are cold saline soils nevertheless the primary challenge with dance. Class subsoil is to find a way to make it easier for rent. Enter the clay on become available to crop ritz unfor- rich to grew through the clay to take the extra water in the clay earlier attempts at ameliorating dense clay subsoil relied on physical or chemical intervention. But these efforts were unable to fill you overcome the physical constraints of the soil and they were generally not sustainable. Farmers who worked on these soy's tended to simply accept that they needed to learn to live within the constraints improving. The structure of the subsoil wasn't seen as a viable solution for soil such as these increasing the water supply in the subsoil wouldn't be enough to help. The structure

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