SA01WB-02 Site selection layout & drainage | SA05WB-02: Management erosion and sedimentation

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Research Site / Demonstration Number: SA01WB-02 and SA05WB-02

Grower Collaborator: Littabella Pines

Location 2: South Littabella Road, Yandaran

Initiation Date: April 2019


PHASE 1

OUTLINE: To evaluate the use of aerial imagery, topographic maps and/or in field surveying to establish better layout of pineapple blocks incorporating contour drains and other erosion management practices to mitigate off-farm deposition in moderate to heavy soil types.

OBJECTIVES:

  1. To compare the different methodologies of implementing better farm layout practices using aerial imagery, topographic maps and/or in field surveying.
  2. To reduce off farm deposition of moderate to highly erosible soil types.
  3. To improve surface water flow and soil drainage reducing key pest issues such as Phytophthora root rot.
  4. To increase yield mainly in ratoon crops, but also in plant crops
  5. To identify additional advantages to keeping soil in-field and positive effects on cost of production. 

PHASE 2

OUTLINE: To evaluate the benefits of different erosion products and practices in-field and out-field to manage surface and subsurface off farm deposition in low to medium textured soil types and slopes.

OBJECTIVES:

  1. To improve the methodologies of implementing better surface and sub-surface erosion practices.
  2. To evaluate different anti-erosion products and their impact on mitigating soil erosion.
  3. To identify additional advantages to maintaining soil in-field and positive effects on cost of production. 
  4. To evaluate methodologies for capturing, managing and treating surface water to reduce the loss of soil, pesticides and nutrients.

METHODOLOGY:

The trial site is strategically located where it drains into Littabella Creek and subsequently into a High Environmental Value (HEV) area – the Great Barrier Reef marine park.

The soil was prepared to standard industry conditions with good soil tilth, no crop residue and good soil moisture with a soil pH of 4.3.  

Trial location – prior to contour draining

Contour map of trial location (image courtesy of Central Queensland University)

A. Beds established up and over slope
B. Beds established on the contour
C. Beds established down the slope with contour banks

(left) Site for synthetic erosion products  (right) Site for vegetative erosion control


DEMONSTRATION PRACTICE:

Demonstration 1

Phase 1

Block layout:

  1. Beds planted down slope separated by contour drains/banks on 1-2% slope
  2. Beds planted to contours on 1-2% slope 
  3. Beds planted up and over slopes with no contour banks (standard practice) 

Phase 2

Primary drain stabilisation through:

  • Vegetative plantings (to be decided) 
  • Synthetic erosion products for in-field soil stabilisation including geo-polymer products:
  • Calcium silicate
  • Stone wall
  • Diatomix
  • P47

Treatment/management of water for removal of sediment, pesticide and nutrient

Demonstration 2

Standard industry practice: No contour, limited primary drains or silt traps.


ASSESSMENT / EVALUATION METHOD AND DELIVERY SCHEDULE:

PHASE 1

  • Rainfall and intensity: 0 to 42 months
  • Soil erosion (t / ha) – edge of field: Post rainfall events – 0 to 42 months
  • Cost analysis ($ / ha): 3 month

PHASE 2

In-field soil stabilisation through geo-polymer products:

  • Rainfall and intensity: 0 to 42 months
  • Soil erosion (t/ha) – edge of field: Post rainfall events – 0 to 42 months
  • Soil erosion (t/ha) – within contour drain: Post rainfall events – 0 to 42 months
  • Soil erosion (t/ha) – silt trap: Post rainfall events – 0 to 42 months
  • Cost analysis ($/ha): 6 months

Primary drain stabilisation:

  • Rainfall and intensity: 0 to 42 months
  • Soil erosion (t/ha) – within contour drain: Post rainfall events – 0 to 42 months
  • Soil erosion (t/ha) – silt trap: Post rainfall events – 0 to 42 months
  • Cost analysis ($/ha): 6 months

Treatment / management of water for removal of sediment, pesticide and nutrient:

  • Rainfall and intensity: 0 to 42 months
  • Soil erosion (t/ha) – silt trap: Post rainfall events – 0 to 42 months
  • Water Sample – Nutrient (ppm): Post rainfall events – 0 to 42 months
  • Water Sample – Pesticide (ppm): Post rainfall events – 0 to 42 months
  • Water Sample – Sediment (ppm): Post rainfall events – 0 to 42 months
  • Cost analysis ($/ha): 6 months

PROGRESS REPORT:

Current Progress: A site has been strategically identified that meets the criteria for monitoring environmental outcomes for the pineapple industry. 

April 2019
Grower identified
Site selected
Trial planned

May 2019
Block has been land prepped
Pre-plant pesticide and nutrition applied

June 2019
Bed-formed
Initial demonstrations being applied
Site planted

Issues Encountered: Delayed start awaiting outcomes of DES findings for further monitoring sites across industry mitigating off-farm deposition.  

Other Notes: Site has been selected for its strategic location – it drains into Littabella Creek which runs into the nearby ocean with the Great Barrier Reef off-shore.  Staff are collaborating with Growcom and DAF with on-farm initiatives in this trial.