Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 3


W. M. Nunn


Kimberley, Kimberley soil, Soil, Phosphates, Kimberley Research Station

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Research work carried out at the Kimberley Research Station on the Ord River, and on experimental plots throughout the East and West Kimberleys, indicates that the soils of the Kimberleys are quite as deficient in phosphorus as are the soils of our agricultural areas where superphosphate is essential to the growth of most crops.

This may come as a surprise to many people, for there has been a widespread tendency to assume that the Kimberleys soils, especially those of the Ord and Fitzroy valleys, are highly fertile.

The black earths of Queensland's Darling Downs produce most enviable yields of sorghum without superphosphate and seem to be able to go on doing it year after year. Perhaps because patches of our Kimberleys are said to resemble these rich basaltic soils of Queensland—perhaps because in a good wet season the growth of grasses is so impressive—or perhaps merely because the Kimberleys are so far away, there seems to have arisen a belief that superphosphate would not be needed to grow crops in those areas.

Although we have not yet progressed very far with agricultural research in the Kimberleys, the work done to date points very definitely to a phosphorus deficiency in both plants and animals.

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