Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4

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The 1989 saltland survey


Saline soils, Surveys, Western Australia

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In March 1989, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) surveyed farmers in Western Australia to determine the area of previously arable land that was now too saline for conventional agriculture. Farmers reported that 443,441 ha, or 2.83 per cent, of the 15.7 million hectares of cleared farm land in south-western Australia, was saline. This was an increase of about 180,000 ha on the 1979 survey figure.

The worst affected areas were in the 350 mm to 600 mm rainfall zone and included the Shires of Tammin (9.26 per cent arable area saline), Katanning (7.96 per cent), Goomalling (7.93 per cent), Wongan-Ballidu (7.57 per cent), Dowerin (7.06 per cent) and Wagin (6.73 per cent). On a state-wide basis, 5,266 farmers reported salinity, with an average area affected per farm of 84 ha. Several farmers reported that more than 40 per cent of their properties were affected. Rapid increases in the area ofsaltland were reported in the Shires ofDundas, Esperance, Dandaragan, Boyup Brook, Boddington, Kojonup and Yilgarn.