Aramac Desert Uplands Waterspreading Project
Funded by Queensland and Federal Governments and Landholders as part of the Drought Regional Initiative


Aramac Landcare Group

Introduction

For the last three seasons the Aramac Landcare Group has had eight properties trialing different methods of Waterspreading, these include:
Large Ponding sites
Pulling timber (with and without Waterspreading)
Ripping and cutter-baring (to compare with Waterspreading)
Waterspreading on various soil and landtypes, Yellowjack, Claypan, Ironbark, Gidyea, Red and Black soils.
Stickraked rows of timber to spread water

The aim of this project is to establish a cost-effective approach to regenerating Rangelands where water infiltration is poor or doesn’t improve even when the land has been rested for several years.
It was not about Claypan reclamation

The project objectives are to:
increase drought resistance for the desert uplands,
regenerate native grasslands,
establishment of palatable grasses,
development of a cost/ benefit analysis for drought resistance for arid and semi arid areas, and
create a high protein pasture reserve for strategic use in dry seasons.

Background

The Aramac Desert Uplands waterspreading project has used old techniques in a new way. Waterspreading or shallow ponding has been used in the last 30 years in Australia, but not on the broad scale of this project, nor for the purpose of developing grazing land.
Many trials have been made of holding water, in shallow ponds on completely bare, capped areas which may have some salinity problems. The extra time that the water is held allows infiltration and washes the salts to a deeper level, where they no longer inhibit plant establishment.
This claypan rehabilitation slowly heals degraded areas, but do not produce enough extra vegetation quickly enough to justify the expense from a purely production point of view.

Other waterspreading work in N.S.W, N.T, W. A and Qld has involved larger areas (into the hundred’s of acres) having water diverted from watercourses by a variety of designs of banks, onto areas which were then cleared and used for cropping to help recoup the high cost of the development. In contrast the Aramac Project has aimed to use waterspreading and shallow ponding as a means of developing large areas of grazing land and making them highly productive and resistant to periods of low rainfall at a cost effective price.

As an extra benefit, results have shown that waterspreading drastically reduces soil erosion by wind and water. It also improves mineral and nutrient content of the soil, as these are retained by the banks, and not lost downstream.
It is believed that the introduced species of grasses and vegetation will not out compete native species in the waterspreading process in a way that can occur with other development options such as tree pulling.

Over 6000 acres were developed across 8 properties, 297 Km of earthen banks were constructed and 46 Km of Stickraked timber rows were built. It was found that it was possible to reduce costs to $10/acre depending on the slope, design and size of the banks. It is common for production rates to increase up to 3 fold in areas where waterspreading is taking place.

Why did each property choose the land types and bank pattern and construction method that they did is a very common question, here are the answers for one property, “Barcoorah”

On Barcoorah we Waterspread in four separate areas, we looked for what we thought would be the flattest areas of land with the most extra Catchment above the banks.
We wanted to bring the costs of bank construction down as low as possible, so the contractor, Mr Mike Price, was asked to try building banks with one pass of an angle blade. This would be much cheaper, but the banks were only ½ metre in height compared to the 1 metre height of the pushed banks.
For us this didn’t matter as we run sheep rather than cattle. All our Waterspread areas consist of a large first bank, to protect everything down slope of it, with the rest reducing in height being cheaper to construct.


Results

Barcoorah – 4 different sites – Leon and Jane Ashby
Mike Price contracted @ $105/Hr using a 220hp Dozer
Soil type      Red Ironbark/Spinifex Soil
Soil test sites  1 – 5 (George Bourne)
131 Km of Banks, costs varied from $100/Km for 20inch high angle bladed banks to 1.2m high banks for $700/Km
1600 acres of water affected area.
Reason for choosing sites
The sites were selected to represent all the major soil/ vegetation sites on Barcoorah. (some black gidgee soil, some red gidgee soil, red spinifex and red neverfail soil) We wanted to see which soils worked best. We chose to build small banks, because they were cheaper, but then we had to have a large bank at the top of every group to protect the smaller banks from a sudden flood of water. We did not have any catchment between one bank and the next. All of our catchment was above the banks. Sometimes on a neighbours property the water from the catchment above the banks was shared among the ponds by draining through a section of stickraked banks in the top, large bank.


Trial results

Control Area
Waterspread Area
Pulled and Buffel seeded spread area
Year
Kg/Ha
Density
Kg/Ha
Density
Kg/Ha
Density
1996
700
11%
700
11%
700
11%
1997
750
12%
2500
35%
800
22%
1998
700
11%
2000
40%
1000
23%
1999
700
10%
2750
50%
1000
23%

Comments

Rainfall was 14 inches for all three years, but 1997 had 8 inches in January.
Water infiltration increases each year. In one ponded area the first time it filled the water took 72 hours to soak in. The next year at the first filling of the ponded area the water soaked in within 12 hours
In one set of ponds we trialed seeding with Buffle (cenchrus ciliaris), Siran, Urachloa, Wynn Cassia (Cassia rotundifolia) using off set discs, in another we used a Crocodile (seed spreading equipment, pulled behind a vehicle), and in a third the seed was spread by hand. The pond sown by crocodile showed poor results, the disced and hand-sown ponds showed equally good results, with the exception of improved Wynn Cassia establishment in the disced pond.
Approximately 70 acres was pulled to compare, but has cost nearly twice as much for each Kilogram of extra grass grown in the pulled area as it has cost in the waterpread areas. (1.9c/Kg of extra feed in ponds, 6.6c/Kg of extra feed in the pulled area.
We built banks in 4 different areas of the property. The three sites, which had consistently good results, were on gidgee or ironbark/spinifex areas. One site on a purely neverfail area responded very well in the first year, when we had a near average rainfall year. It has since declined in the last two years when rainfall has been below average. In the other sites, the pasture has continued to improve in spite of the lower rainfall. We suspect the poor result on the neverfail soil was mainly because of poor soil fertility

A small trial area, in Ironbark-Spinifex country, next to the waterspreading area was pulled to compare, results are tabled below


Property
Cost/Ha
Extra Kg/Ha
Extra plant density
Cost extraKg
Barcoorah Pulled area
$20
300
12%
6.6 Cents
Barcoorah
Waterspread
$37
2000
30%
1.9 Cents


Bank construction on Barcoorah





Water held in Waterspread areas on Barcoorah





This shows banks stabilised with grass
Area to the right is in it's original bare condition






Blandfield – Davin Marshall

Mike Price contracted @ $105/Hr using a 220hp Dozer
Soil Red Gidyea (site 24,25 – George Bourne)
38Km banks affecting 800 Acres.
Costs/Km varied from $250/Km for angle bladed banks up to $700/Km for 1.2m high banks, the average cost equates to $22/acre for water affected area

Reason for choosing site

Two different approaches were trialed with the banks. I had an area of red soil that was very bare and getting worse above and area of reasonably well grassed black soil downs. On the red soil the banks were built with the angle blade, but we angled the dirt twice, once from each side to get a bigger bank. This was cheaper than a pushed bank. The monitoring results and the soil test in appendix A refer to these banks. I also tried using the large amount run off from some of the bare red soil to water the black soil below it. The banks on the black soil had to be bigger because the soil was cracking. It made sense to get better use out of the country that already had grass on it. Both areas have shown good results


Trial Result

Control Area
Waterspread Area
Year
Kg/Ha
Density
Kg/Ha
Density
1996
100
12
100
12
1997
400
15
600
15
1998
150
12
1200
50
1999
100
10
1200
50


Comments

Because of the type of soil, the banks have cracked and have breakouts (water washing out soil), results have suggested that if banks were larger, the frequency of breakouts would reduce.
Davin has also trialed spreading water off red soil onto black soil downs with very good results to date.
60 acres was cutterbarred at the same time along with several strips of ripping. Surprisingly only rolypoly came up on the cutterbarred site. The ripping showed fair results, with about half as much grass production as the waterspread area. This process was completed at a cost of $40/acre
Some soils don’t appear to be a “cracking soil”, until disturbed with a dozer. This was the situation at Blandfield where the soil surface was crusted and smooth





This photo shows water laying in the ponds a week after the initial rain and soaking in at a slow rate.



The 1999 photo shows mostly annuals in abundance.








Cherhill – Stan Lawrence

Merv Schwartz contracted @ $125/Hr using a 250hp Rubber-Tyred Articulated Tractor
Soil – Gidyea – Saches Creek floodplain. (site 8,10,15 George Bourne)


As this area is prone to flooding a method of controlling water flow, without causing major soil erosion was required.

26Km of timber rows were constructed affecting 700 acres, at a cost of $670/Km for timber rows equating to $25/acre of water affected area.

N.B
Water spread over the area, which was to be used as a control for this trial

Reason for choosing the site

I had pulled but not stickraked an area of gidgee in 1985. It did not have much buffel established on it. By stick raking banks of timber along the contour I thought it would slow the water down so that it would soak in and the water would be forced out over a wider area than the normal floodplain. Stickraking would disturb the soil a fair bit to increase plant establishment
Trial results

Control Area
Waterspread Area
Year
Kg/Ha
Density
Kg/Ha
Density
1996
1000
20
1997
2000
40
1998
2000
50
1999
2000
50


Comments

Results have shown that Buffle grass densities have increased dramatically. Where the stickraked timber was a bit thin there was some erosion the first time a flow happened but this has now grassed up and healed itself.


This shows the stickraked banks





This shows abundant growth within the Waterspread area








Ballyneety – Michael and Lindy Dickson

Merv Schwartz contracted @ $135/Hr using a 270hp D8 Dozer

Soil type  - Yellowjack (site 19 – George Bourne)

14 Km of banks were constructed at a cost of $1400/Km.
200 Acres of water affected area equating to a cost of $100/acre

Reasons for choosing site.

We chose to put banks on our yellowjack country because on one knows of any way yet to improve Yellowjack country and we thought that it was worth trying to see if waterspreading could. We wanted the banks to last a long time so we made then nice and big, (1.2m). we had 4 acres of catchment for every 1 acre of ponded area. We wanted to trial some different plant species  such as Verano, seca, Urachloa, Buffel and Jantra Magic

Trial Results

Control Area
Waterspread Area
Year
Kg/Ha
Density
Kg/Ha
Density
1996
1997
1998
1999
400
10
400
10

Comments

After burning in 1999 monitoring took place on a control site and a waterspread site, an interesting point was that several spinifex seedlings were found in the waterspread area. Lindy Dickson says that they have often found spinifex seedlings on Ballyneety when conditions are right (there seems to be a need for  reasonable rain  preceeded by good seeding of the old spinifex plants, perhaps seed remains viable for a short time only). Perhaps the banks will improve  the establishment and survival of the seedlings.
Michael believes that constructing the banks further apart would have caught more water to improve the waterspreading results. Yellowjack soil has not responded as well as other soils, probably because the water goes straight through the soil too quickly. Although even holding the water up for a day has helped the spinifex to thicken and Secca has established very well in some areas. If  spinifex density and organic matter increase near the banks results may improve.





Pushed banks on Ballynetty





Same pushed banks after rain







Pushed banks holding water in June 1997











The Lake – Bernie and Margaret Dixon.

Brett Wehl contracted @ $70/Hr using a D4D 75hp Dozer

Soil type – Yellowjack ( site 20 and 21 George Bourne)

27Km of Pushed up Banks 1m in height at $740/Km approx 300 acres water affected which equates to $67/acre/water affected

Reason for choosing site
We already knew how to improve the pastures on the lake on our own soils, except the Yellowjack so we thought we would experiment to see if waterspreading could improve that. We built 1m high banks with 4 acre Catchments for every 1 acre of ponded area. We wanted to see if we could get Buffel established in the Yellowjack soil. We thought that splitting the paddock up with banks would help us check for Heartleaf, and there was a lot of erosion on the fence line that needed controlling.

Trial Results

Control Area
Waterspread Area
Year
Kg/Ha
Density
Kg/Ha
Density
1996
1997
1998
1999
500
10
500
10


Comments

Although Buffel sown on the banks has established very well, waterspreading in Yellowjack doesn’t seem to be as effective as on other soils and landtypes. The Waterspread area was cleared of spinifex when the banks were pushed up, and this removed native vegetation. The plants in this area are now primarily Buffel.
Another comment is that it the banks were pushed up from below the water would have less of a hollow to fill in first, and would be able spread further for more effect. The erosion that was of concern along the fenceline and tracks has now been stopped.






Banks constructed at the lake






An Ariel shot after rain January 1997






Banks holding water January 1997










Albionvale – Ian Mitchell

Mike Price contracted @ $105/Hr using a 220hp Dozer
Soil types Ironbark country, Yellowjack and Claypan
Size of banks varied in height and price, 2 pass angle-bladed @ $200/Km, Push up banks 1m high @ $500Km, Push up banks 1.6m high @ $1250/Km. This resulted in a total of 37Km of banks
Cutter Baring @$37/acre, at own cost.
Pulling of tree’s @ $5/acre at own cost
Reasons for choosing site
We wanted to start the banks at the top of the hill so we did not get too much Catchment. We have lost banks before when too much water came down in a hurry. We prefer the bib banks for cattle, we allowed about 3:1 Catchment to soakage area ratio
Trial Results
Control Area
Waterspread Area
Year
Kg/Ha
Density
Kg/Ha
Density
1996
300
10
1997
900
20
1998
2000
40
1999
2700
50

Comments
The banks held water for over a week the first year. This caused some bare areas near the banks where grasses were flooded. the next two years there was no ponding for longer than a few days, even though in 1998 we had over 30 inches of rain. The soil became more absorbent. Because of the good season water soaked underground between the banks soaking not only the ponds but the whole area. (this did not happen on other unponded, areas of the property in spite of the better year) There is a good balance of native grasses, forbs, and sedges with introduced plants like Buffel and Stylo




This shows water penetration a fair distance in the Catchment area







Inside waterspread site 4 - Before





Inside Waterspread site 4- After
















Adelong – Jim and Phylis Stralow
Jim Stralow contracted @ $500/Km for 1m high banks
Soil type Ironbark (site 6 and 7 George Bourne)
35Km of banks affecting 500 acres, but could be over 1000 acres if it worked like Albionvale, equating to a cost of $17 -$35/acre of water affected area.
Reason for choosing site
We have a good shallow watercourse that runs off of Albionvale and through our place, beside a very flat area of ironbark/spinifex country. We wanted to spread it out where it could do more good. We used pushed up 1m high banks with a little bit of Catchment between the banks as well as spreading the water from the watercourse.
Trial Results
Control Area
Waterspread Area
Year
Kg/Ha
Density
Kg/Ha
Density
1996
1997
1998
1999
1500
10
2500
40

Comments
There are almost no forbs or sedges in the control site, whereas there are substantial amounts in the Waterspread area. Due to only having had one season on this site, (98/99 season was below average on Adelong) the results ore not as conclusive as on some other properties. We expect to have similar results to other Ironbark/spinifex sites in time.
No Photos









Fortuna - Margaret House

Chris Hermann contracted @ $70/Hr using a 160hp Fiat / Allis Dozer
Soil types Ironbark, Red Gidgee
20km bans sticks, 15km banks earthen @550 acres water affected @ $570/km
Reason for choosing the site
The reason that we chose this site was because it was the best quality country we had, but it had been pulled before we brought Fortuna and had never been seeded. The topsoil was gone and was bare and virtually useless. It also had quite a lot of erosion from excess run off. We wanted to slow the water to allow it to soak in and help grasses establish, and for the erosion gullies to heal. Stickraking would also scratch the soil surface and help grasses to establish. We also tried earth banks on other areas to compare with the stickraked ones. We tended to put the earth banks on steeper country.
Trial Results
Year
Kg/Ha
Density
Kg/Ha
Density
1996
1997
1998
1999
10
80

Comments
We found that we had to put sticks on the end of our earth banks to stop erosion as the water by-washed. We used some of the funding to modify our earth banks after we saw how they went in the first season. The paddock with the stickraked banks has gone from carrying no stock to being able to carry the heaviest stocking rate anywhere on the property. We are continuing with more waterspreading at our own expense.


An Aerial shot of the banks on Fortuna



Good growth in banks -outside of the bank it is relatively bare





Recommendations

Soil
Results have shown that soil type and soil profile made a big difference in either the success or failure of waterspreading. Soils that are very sandy and porous allow water to soak in well but the water keeps travelling down, and is soon below the reach of plant roots. This situation may improve in the future if the banks increase the build up of organic matter, and thus improving its water holding capacity.

Soils which crack can cause bank failures unless banks are constructed wider than usual, which adds to the construction costs. Cracking soils also tend to need waterspreading less, as the cracks allow good infiltration. Results have also shown that some soils don’t crack when undisturbed, but do when formed into banks.

Soils which have shown the best results are those with enough clay and loam content to have a good water holding capacity, or a more porous soil  with an impermeable clay or rock layer deeper within the profile. All red spinifex and ironbark soils trialed so far have given good results.
For further details on these soil types please refer to appendix A

Catchment and slope

Most cost-effective results can be expected from choosing land for development, which has the least slope possible with substantial amount of catchment.
Areas which can have small watercourses diverted over them are possibly the best to be developed first as good soakage can be achieved most years. Alternatively it is good to have about 2 to 4 acres of catchment for each acre of ponding.


Bank Design

The cheapest way to construct banks, ½ m in height is to use an angle blade. Rip and push away trees in one pass and blade up the bank on the return. This method was trialed on 500 acres and the cost per Km was reduced to $100/km (with many thanks to Jeff Taylor of Alpha for pushing himself and his equipment to achieve this result).
Unfortunately larger banks are needed for graziers producing cattle. Pushing banks at $500/km for 1m high banks is the cheapest method that has been tried so far. It is believed that the next method to try would be to angle blade a bank with a 600-hp dozer, which should be capable of building a 1m high bank, in one pass. The estimated costs of this would be $150 - $200 per Km. It is our recommendation to push the dirt up into a bank from the down slope side for the best results.
It is important to allow for enough by-wash area around the banks during large rainfall events. Timber can be used on the end of the banks to minimise soil erosion. It is also a cheaper alternative to using pipes through the banks, if there are concerns regarding water ponding in one area for too long. When designing banks allow for the speed of water infiltration to increase dramatically as plant density increases and soil structure improves.















Soil Tests



By Scott Irvine and George Bourne


Resource Management
Department Of Natural Resources
Emerald




Site 1
Manager:     Leon Ashby
Paddock:     Airstrip

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     0.5 %
Vegetation:          Silver-leaved ironbark, Desert Oak
Australian Soil Classification:     Yellow Chromosol
Runoff:     rapid
Permeability:     moderately permeable
Drainage:     impefectly drained
Surface Condition:     crusting, hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY AND FIELD TSTS
A1:     Brown (10YR 3/3) moist; sandy clay loam; massive; dry very weak; clear to-
A21:     Brown (10YR5/4) moist; sandy clay loam; massive; dry very weak; gradual to-
A22:     Brown (10YR5/3) moist; sandy clay loam; sandy clay loam; massive; dry very weak; clear to-
B21:      Yellow (10YR6/4) moist; many medium distinct red mottles; medium clay; strong 5-10mm polyhedral; few medium ferruginous nodules; dry firm; clear to-
B22:      Yellow (10YR6/4) moist; many medium distinct red mottles; medium clay; strong 5-10mm polyhedral; many medium ferruginous nodules; dry firm; clear to-
C:     Ferricrete

Chemical Analysis similar to site 20
Site Notes (1)
This site contains a duplex soil, where a lighter texture overlies a heavier texture.  In this case, the surface contains a sandy clay loam, which lies over a medium clay B horizon.  The B-horizon is also mottled (coloured patterns) which indicates relatively poor drainage.  The surface is hardsetting that would reduce water infiltration and increase runoff.
The surface contains a massive structure, which would allow rapid water movement once the water has moved beyond the surface crust.  However the B-horizon would reduce this movement due to increase in clay content.  The B-horizon's polyhedral structure would allow plant root growth to the C-horizon.  
A bleached horizon (A2e) indicates a perched watertable can occur above the B-horizon.  This site did not qualify as a bleached horizon although a perched watertable may exist for some time within the site.  The soil overlies Ferricrete (or ironstone) which would limit water availability to 75cm.
Organic carbon levels are expected to be moderate and sulphate levels are expected to be low.  The results from site 20 indicate no movement or accumulation of sulphates in the top 30cm of the soil.  This is probably due to the hardsetting nature and clay loam texture of the surface soil reducing water infiltration.  
No sodicity or salinity was found in the site
Site 2
Manager:     Leon Ashby
Paddock:     Little Sherban

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     0.5 %
Vegetation:     False sandalwood, Gidgee
Australian Soil Classification:     Red Vertosol
Runoff:     moderately rapid
Permeability:     moderately permeable
Drainage:     well drained
Surface Condition:     crusting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY, FIELD TESTS AND ANALYSIS
A11:     Red (5YR 3/4) moist; light clay; weak 2-5mm granular; dry very weak; clear to-
A12:     Red (5YR3/4) moist; medium clay; moderate 5-10mm angular blocky; dry firm; gradual to-
B21:     Red (5YR4/4) moist; medium clay; moderate 5-10mm angular blocky parting to 2-5mm lenticular; very few fine manganiferous nodules; dry very firm; gradual to-
B22:     Red (5YR4/6) moist; medium clay; moderate 5-10mm angular blocky parting to 2-5mm lenticular; very few fine calcareous and manganiferous nodules; dry very firm; gradual to-
B23:     Red (5YR4/6) moist; medium clay; moderate 5-10mm angular blocky parting to 2-5mm lenticular; common fine calcareous and very few fine manganiferous nodules; dry very firm;

Depth (cm)     pH (1:5)     Ec (1:5) dS/m     Cl (mg/kg)     Bicarb P (mg/kg)     SO4-S ug/g     Organic Carbon %      
Bulk 0-10     6.70     0.070     7     23     4.5     0.42     
10-20     7.14     0.047     18     3     9.7     0.31     
20-30     7.61     0.059     28     2     7.7     0.25     
Site Notes (2)
This site contains a uniform clay soil.  The red colour of the soil indicates better drainage.  The surface is crusting that would reduce water infiltration and increase runoff but not to the scale that a hardsetting surface would allow.  This soil would be able to hold more water due its clay content.
The soil contains a blocky structure with some evidence of deep cracking (lenticular structure).  This structure would encourage plant growth.  White streaks or calcium carbonate compounds (calcareous nodules) indicate a reduction in water drainage, and represents the depth where water would reach.  In this soil the water availability reaches around 90cm.  Black nodules of manganese also indicate reduction of drainage.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are low in this soil.  However, sulphate levels are peaking at 20cm suggesting that water infiltration is good at this depth, due to surface cracking.  Sulphate levels are expected to decline with depth as water infiltration decreases.
Soil pH becomes highly alkaline in the subsoil, which could reduce nutrient availability in the subsoil.  High sodicity is expected below 60cm in this soil, due to field dispersion tests conducted.  This may reduce water availability (between 60 to 90cm). Salinity occurs in moderate levels past 90cm from both field and laboratory tests.


Site 3
Manager:     Leon Ashby
Paddock:     Dingo

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     0.5 %
Vegetation:     Ironbark, Box, Desert Oak
Australian Soil Classification:     Brown Sodosol
Runoff:     moderately rapid
Permeability:     moderately permeable
Drainage:     imperfectly drained
Surface Condition:     hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY, FIELD TESTS AND ANALYSIS
A1:     Grey (10YR 4/2) moist; sandy loam; massive; moderately moist firm; gradual to-
A2e:     Brown (10YR5/3) moist; sandy loam; massive; moderately moist firm; clear to-
B21:     Brown (10YR5/3) moist; common medium distinct red mottles; medium clay; strong 2-5mm polyhedral; common medium ferruginous nodules; moderately moist firm; clear to-
B22:     Brown (10YR5/3) moist; common medium distinct yellow and very few medium distinct red mottles; medium clay; strong 2-5mm polyhedral; very many medium ferruginous nodules; dry firm; gradual to-
C:     Ferricrete


Depth (cm)     pH (1:5)     Ec (1:5) dS/m     Cl (mg/kg)     Bicarb P (mg/kg)     SO4-S ug/g     Organic Carbon %      
Bulk 0-10     5.15     0.014     2     5     3.9     0.27     
10-20     5.22     0.011     5     2     5.5     0.22     
20-30     5.51     0.014     8     1     5.1     0.20     

Site Notes (3)
This site contains a duplex soil, where a lighter texture overlies a heavier texture.  In this case, the surface contains a sandy loam, which lies over a medium clay B horizon.  The B-horizon is also mottled (coloured patterns) which indicates relatively poor drainage. A bleached horizon (A2e) indicates a perched watertable can occur above the B-horizon.  The surface is hardsetting that would reduce water infiltration and increase runoff.
The surface contains a massive structure, which would allow rapid water movement once the water has past the surface crust.  However the B-horizon would reduce this movement due to increase in clay content.  The B-horizon's polyhedral structure would allow plant root growth to the C-horizon.  The soil overlies Ferricrete (or ironstone) which would limit water availability to 80cm.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are low in this soil.  There is an increase in the levels of sulphates at depths to 30cm.  This may indicate sulphate leaching due to good water infiltration within the surface soil.  The soil texture is a sandy loam and is expected to have better infiltration compared to heavier soils (i.e. sandy clay loam).  
No sodicity or salinity was found in the site

Site 4
Manager:     Leon Ashby
Paddock:     Old Barcoorah

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     1 %
Vegetation:     Ironbark, Desert Oak, minor False sandalwood (Eremophila mitchellii)
Australian Soil Classification:     Brown Dermosol
Runoff:     moderately rapid
Permeability:     moderately permeable
Drainage:     well drained
Surface Condition:     hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY AND FIELD TESTS
A11:     Black (7.5YR3/2) moist; clay loam sandy; massive; moderately moist weak; clear to-
B21:     Brown (7.5YR4/3) moist; light clay; weak 2-5mm polyhedral; moderately moist weak; gradual to-
B22:     Brown (7.5YR5/4) moist; few medium faint red mottles; light clay; weak 2-5mm polyhedral; very few fine manganiferous nodules; moderately moist weak; gradual to-
B23:     Yellow (7.5YR6/4) moist; common medium distinct red and few medium distinct brown mottles; light medium clay; strong 5-10mm polyhedral; few medium calcareous and manganiferous nodules; moist firm; gradual to-
B24:     Yellow (7.5YR6/4) moist; common medium distinct grey and few medium distinct red mottles; light medium clay; strong 5-10mm polyhedral common medium calcareous and                                                manganiferous nodules; moist firm;
Chemical Analysis similar to site 2
Site Notes (4)
This site contains a gradational soil or a soil that has an increasing texture.  The surface is hardsetting and massive that would reduce water infiltration and increase runoff.  
White streaks or calcium carbonate compounds (calcareous nodules) indicate a reduction in water drainage, and represents the depth where water would reach.  In this soil the water availability reaches around 100cm.  Black nodules of manganese also indicate reduction of drainage.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are expected to be low in this soil.  However, sulphate levels are expected to peak at a shallow depth due to coarser texture and decrease in structure on the surface.  Sulphate levels are expected to decline with depth as water infiltration decreases.
Soil pH at the surface may be limiting the supply of plant nutrients, however pH becomes more neutral lower down the profile.  High sodicity is expected below 60cm in this soil, due to field dispersion tests conducted.  This may reduce water availability (between 60 to 90cm).  No salinity has been found to occur.
Site 5
Manager:     Leon Ashby
Paddock:     Barcoorah  

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     0.5 %
Vegetation:     Ironbark
Australian Soil Classification:     Red Kandosol
Runoff:     moderately rapid
Permeability:     moderately permeable
Drainage:     well drained
Surface Condition:     hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY AND FIELD TESTS
A1:     Brown (7.5YR4/4) moist; clay loam sandy; massive; dry firm; clear to-
B21:     Brown (7.5YR4/6) moist; clay loam sandy; massive; very few fine manganiferous nodules; dry firm; gradual to-
B22:     Red (5YR5/6) moist; clay loam sandy; massive; few fine manganiferous nodules; dry firm; gradual to-
B23:     Red (5YR5/6) moist; few medium brown mottles; clay loam sandy; massive; common fine manganiferous nodules; dry firm;





Chemical Analysis similar to site 19
Site Notes (5)
This site contains a uniform loamy soil.  The surface is hardsetting that would reduce water infiltration and increase runoff.  The soil contains a massive structure throughout, which would allow no restriction to water movement once the surface restriction has been past.  The loamy nature and it's structure of the soil would not hold as much water as compared to the clay soils.
Black nodules of manganese indicate reduction of drainage and can be found at 55cm.  Water availability is at 55cm depth.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are low in this soil.  Sulphate levels are not increasing with depth.  This is an indication that leaching is not occurring and water infiltration is decreasing with depth due to increases in soil texture.
Soil pH at the surface may be limiting the supply of plant nutrients, however pH becomes more neutral lower down the profile. No sodicity or salinity has been found to occur.

Site 6
Manager:     Jim Strahlow
Paddock:     Lost Bull

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     0.5 %
Vegetation:     Ironbark
Australian Soil Classification:     Yellow Kandosol
Runoff:     moderately rapid
Permeability:     moderately permeable
Drainage:     moderately well drained
Surface Condition:     hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY, FIELD TESTS AND ANALYSIS
A1:     Red (5YR3/4) moist; sandy loam; massive; dry weak; clear to-
B21:     Brown (7.5YR4/6) moist; sandy clay loam; massive; very few fine manganiferous nodules; moderately moist weak; gradual to-
B22:     Yellow (10YR6/6) moist; sandy clay loam; massive; few medium ferruginous and very few fine manganiferous nodules; dry weak; gradual to-
B23:     Yellow (10YR6/6) moist; sandy clay loam; massive; very many coarse ferruginous nodules; dry weak; clear to-
C     Ferricrete




Depth (cm)     pH (1:5)     Ec (1:5) dS/m     Cl (mg/kg)     Bicarb P (mg/kg)     SO4-S ug/g     Organic Carbon %      
Bulk 0-10     5.85     0.009     5     3     2.3     0.48     
10-20     5.42     0.009     4     1     3.3     0.21     
20-30     4.97     0.013     4     1     8.0     0.20     

Site Notes (6)
This site is similar to site 5, expect for the colour and texture differences.  The yellow colour indicates poorer drainage ability as compared to the red earth (site 5).
This site contains a gradational soil or a soil that has an increasing texture.  The surface is hardsetting that would reduce water infiltration and increase runoff.  The soil contains a massive structure throughout, which would allow no restriction to water movement once the surface restriction has been past.  The loamy nature and its structure of the soil would not hold as much water as compared to the clay soils.
Black nodules of manganese indicate reduction of drainage and can be found at 75cm.  Water availability is at 85cm depth where Ferricrete occurs.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are low in this soil. There is an increase in the levels of sulphates at depths to 30cm.  This may indicate sulphate leaching due to good water infiltration within the surface soil.  The soil does show signs of reduction of drainage at depth and this confirms that maximum sulphates will most likely occur at depth.
Soil pH at is adequate throughout.  No sodicity or salinity has been found to occur.

Site 7
Manager:     Jim Strahlow
Paddock:     Lost Bull

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     0.5 %
Vegetation:     Ironbark
Australian Soil Classification:     Brown Kandosol
Runoff:     moderately rapid
Permeability:     moderately permeable
Drainage:     moderately well drained
Surface Condition:     hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY AND FIELD TESTS
A11:     Brown (7.5YR4/4) moist; fine sandy loam; massive; dry weak; clear to-
A12:     Brown (7.5YR4/4) moist; sandy loam; massive; dry weak; gradual to-
B21:     Brown (10YR5/4) moist; sandy clay loam; massive; very few fine manganiferous nodules; moderately moist weak; gradual to-
B22:     Brown (10YR5/4) moist; sandy clay loam; massive; common medium ferruginous nodules; dry weak; clear to-
C     Ferricrete





Chemical Analysis similar to site 6
Site Notes (7)
This site is similar to site 6, expect for its brown colour.  The brown colour indicates improved drainage as compared to the yellow earth (site 6).
This site contains a gradational soil or a soil that has an increasing texture.  The surface is hardsetting that would reduce water infiltration and increase runoff.  The soil contains a massive structure throughout, which would allow no restriction to water movement once the surface restriction has been past.  The loamy nature and it's structure of the soil would not hold as much water as compared to the clay soils.
Black nodules of manganese indicate reduction of drainage and can be found at 50cm.  Water availability is at 85cm depth where Ferricrete occurs.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are expected to be low in this soil.  Data from site 6 shows there is an increase in the levels of sulphates at depths to 30cm.  This may indicate sulphate leaching due to good water infiltration within the surface soil.  The soil does show signs of reduction of drainage at depth and this confirms that maximum sulphates will most likely occur at depth.
Soil pH at is adequate throughout.  No sodicity or salinity has been found to occur.

Site 8
Manager:     Stan Lawrence
Paddock:     Fischer's South

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     0.5 %
Vegetation:     Gidgee, Ironbark, Blackwood
Australian Soil Classification:     Red Vertosol
Runoff:     moderately rapid
Permeability:     slowly permeable
Drainage:     moderately well drained
Surface Condition:     cracking, self-mulching
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY AND FIELD TESTS
A11:     Red (5YR4/3) moist; light clay; strong 2-5mm granular; moderately moist firm; clear to-
A12:     Red (5YR4/3) moist; light clay; strong 2-5mm granular; very few manganiferous nodules; moderately moist firm; clear to-
B2:     Red (5YR4/6) moist; medium clay; strong 2-5mm lenticular; very few fine manganiferous and calcareous nodules; moderately moist firm; gradual to-
B3:     Brown (10YR4/4) moist; few medium distinct grey mottles; medium clay; moderate 2-5mm polyhedral; few medium manganiferous nodules and few calcareous soft segregations; dry very firm;



Chemical Analysis similar to site 2
Site Notes (8)
This site contains a uniform clay soil.  The red colour of the soil indicates better drainage.  The surface is cracking and some self-mulching exists that would increase water infiltration and decrease runoff.  This soil would be able to hold more water due its clay content.
A change of soil structure occurs at 55cm and may represent a buried soil or weathered material.  The soil contains a lenticular structure.  This structure would encourage plant growth.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are expected to be low in this soil.  However, sulphate levels are expected to peak at a shallow depth, due to improvement in water infiltration due to surface cracking.  Sulphate levels are expected to decline with depth as water infiltration decreases.
Soil pH is adequate.  High sodicity occurs throughout the soil (below 20cm).  This may reduce water availability past this depth.  Salinity occurs in moderate levels past 60cm and becomes high at 120cm from field tests.

Site 9

No description was made due to the wetness of the soil.
Site 10
Manager:     Stan Lawrence
Paddock:     Risbeth

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     0.5 %
Vegetation:     Gidgee, Ironbark
Australian Soil Classification:     Red Dermosol
Runoff:     moderately rapid
Permeability:     slowly permeable
Drainage:     imperfectly drained
Surface Condition:     hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY AND FIELD TESTS
A1:     Black (5YR3/2) moist; light clay; moderate 2-5mm polyhedral; moderately moist firm; clear to-

B1:     Red (5YR4/3) moist; light clay; moderate 2-5mm polyhedral; moderately moist firm; clear to-
B21:     Red (5YR4/4) moist; common medium distinct brown and few common grey mottles; medium clay; strong 5-10mm prismatic; few medium ferruginous and manganiferous nodules; moderately moist firm; gradual to-
B22:     Red (5YR4/6) moist; common medium distinct brown and grey mottles; medium clay; strong 5-10mm prismatic; many medium ferruginous and few medium manganiferous nodules; moderately moist firm;
1D1     Brown (10YR5/6) moist; few medium dark mottles; heavy clay; strong 5-10mm angular blocky; moderately moist firm;
Chemical Analysis similar to site 24

Site Notes (10)
This site contains a uniform non-cracking clay soil.  The red colour of the soil indicates better drainage.  The surface is hardsetting that would decrease water infiltration and increase runoff.
A change of soil colour, texture and structure occurs at 90cm and may represents a buried soil underneath the ironstone layer.  The soil contains a polyhedral structure in the upper soil (A1, B1 horizons).  This structure would encourage plant growth.  However below this a prismatic structure occurs which indicates a sodic soil.  Ironstone occurs in the at 70cm.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are expected to be low in this soil.  However, sulphate levels are expected to peak at a shallow depth, due to improvement in water infiltration due to surface cracking.  Sulphate levels are expected to decline with depth as water infiltration decreases.
Soil pH is adequate.  High sodicity occurs throughout the soil (below 25cm) from field dispersion tests.  This may reduce water availability past this depth.  No salinity was observed.
Site 11
Auger hole only, description same as site 17
Site 12
Auger hole only, description same as site 18
Site 13
Auger hole only, description same as site 16
Site 14
Auger hole and check site only, description same as site 16

Site 15
Manager:     Stan Lawrence
Paddock:     Sasche's Creek

Landform Element:     drainage depression plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     >0.5 %
Vegetation:     Gidgee
Australian Soil Classification:     Brown Vertosol
Runoff:     moderately rapid
Permeability:     slowly permeable
Drainage:     moderately well drained
Surface Condition:     coarse self-mulch
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY, FIELD TESTS AND ANALYSIS
A11:     Grey (10YR4/2) moist; common medium distinct brown mottles; light medium clay; strong 5-10mm granular; dry very firm; clear to-

A12:     Brown (10YR4/3) moist; light medium clay; strong 5-10m  angular blocky; dry strong; clear to-

B21:     Brown (10YR4/3) moist; medium clay; strong 5-10mm lenticular; dry strong; gradual to-

B22:     Brown (10YR5/4) moist; few fine distinct red and dark mottles; medium clay; strong 5-10mm lenticular; very few fine manganiferous soft segregations and gypseous crystals; dry strong; gradual to-


B23:     Brown (10YR5/4) moist; few fine distinct red and dark mottles; medium clay; strong 5-10mm lenticular; very few fine manganiferous soft segregations and commom fine gypseous crystals; dry strong; gradual to-
B24:     Brown (10YR5/4) moist; few fine distinct red and dark mottles; medium clay; strong 5-10mm lenticular; dry strong;
Depth (cm)     pH (1:5)     Ec (1:5) dS/m     Cl (mg/kg)     Bicarb P (mg/kg)     SO4-S ug/g     Organic Carbon %      
Bulk 0-10     6.86     0.250     28     41     15.6     1.55     
Site Notes (15)

This site contains a uniform clay soil. The surface has a coarse self-mulch that would aid in water infiltration in dry conditions.  The soil contains a blocky structure with some evidence of deep cracking (lenticular structure).  This structure would encourage plant growth.  This soil would be able to hold more water due its clay content.
Gypsum crystals indicate a reduction in water drainage and represent the depth where water would reach.  In this soil the water availability reaches around 90cm.  Black nodules of manganese also indicate reduction of drainage.  Some mottling is also found suggesting reduction in drainage at depth.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are moderate in this soil.  However, sulphate levels are expected to peak at a shallow depth, due to improvement in water infiltration due to surface cracking.  Sulphate levels are expected to decline with depth as water infiltration decreases.
Soil pH becomes acidic in the subsoil, which could reduce nutrient availability in the subsoil.  Salinity occurs in high levels past 90cm from field tetsts.

Site 16
Manager:     Margaret House
Paddock:     Fortuna Home (Bottom Gidgee)

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     >0.5 %
Vegetation:     Sandlewood, Gidgee, Ironwood, Leopardwood
Australian Soil Classification:     Red Kandosol
Runoff:     moderately rapid
Permeability:     moderately permeable
Drainage:     well drained
Surface Condition:     hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY AND FIELD TESTS
A11: Red (5YR4/3) moist; clay loam sandy; massive; dry firm; clear to-
A12:     Red (5YR4/3) moist; light clay; massive; dry firm; clear to-
B21:     Red (5YR4/3) moist; light medium clay; massive; very few fine manganiferous soft segregations; dry firm; gradual to-
B22:     Red (5YR4/6) moist; medium clay massive; very few fine manganiferous soft segregations; dry firm; clear to-
C: Gravel





Chemical Analysis similar to site 19Site Notes (16)
This site contains a gradational soil or a soil that has an increasing texture.  The surface is hardsetting that would reduce water infiltration and increase runoff.  The soil contains a massive structure throughout, which would allow no restriction to water movement once the surface restriction has been past. The red colour of the soil indicates better drainage.  The surface is hardsetting and massive that would decrease water infiltration and increase runoff.
Black nodules of manganese indicate reduction of drainage and can be found at depths greater than 20cm.  Water availability is at 100cm depth where sedimentary gravel occurs.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are expected to be low in this soil.  Sulphate levels are not expected to increase with depth.  This is an indication that leaching is not occurring and water infiltration is decreasing with depth due to increases in soil texture.
Soil pH is adequate.  No salinity or sodicity was observed.

Site 17
Manager:     Margaret House
Paddock:     Fortuna Home

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     >0.5 %
Vegetation:     Dead Finish, Leopardwood, Reid River Box, Ironbark
Australian Soil Classification:     Brown Sodosol
Runoff:     slow
Permeability:     moderately permeable
Drainage:     imperfectly drained
Surface Condition:     hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY FIELD TESTS AND ANALYSIS
A1: Brown (7.5YR3/3) moist; clay loam sandy; massive; dry firm; clear to-
A2e:     Brown (7.5YR4/3) moist; clay loam sandy; massive; dry firm; clear to-
B21:     Grey (7.5YR5/2) moist; many medium distinct red mottles; medium clay; strong 2-5mm angular blocky; few fine manganiferous soft segregations; moderately moist firm; gradual to-
B22:     Brown (7.5YR4/6) moist; common medium distinct grey mottles; medium clay; strong 5-10mm prismatic parting to 2-5mm angular blocky; few fine manganiferous soft segregations; moderately moist firm; clear to-
C: Shale



Depth (cm)     pH (1:5)     Ec (1:5) dS/m     Cl (mg/kg)     Bicarb P (mg/kg)     SO4-S ug/g     Organic Carbon %      
Bulk 0-10     4.78     0.261     44     19     4.8     0.48     
0-10     5.36     0.028     16     16     9.8     0.65     
10-20     5.31     0.019     5     9     13.6     0.51     
20-30     5.61     0.018     3     6     13.7     0.34     
Site Notes (17)
This site contains a duplex soil, where a lighter texture overlies a heavier texture.  In this case, the surface contains a clay loam sandy (0-30cm), which lies over a medium clay B horizon. A bleached horizon (A2e) indicates a perched watertable can occur above the B-horizon.  In this soil the bleach is found at 20-30cm.
The surface is hardsetting and massive that would decrease water infiltration and increase runoff.  The soil contains a prismatic structure in the B2 horizon.  This structure usually indicates a sodic soil.  Mottles and manganiferous segregations occur past 50cm indicating poorer drainage

Organic carbon and sulphate levels are low in this soil.  However, sulphate levels are peaking at 30cm, due to improvement in water infiltration due to coarse soil texture and lack of structure.  Sulphate levels are expected to decline with depth as water infiltration decreases within the subsoil.

Soil pH is adequate.  High sodicity occurs throughout the soil (below 30cm) from field dispersion tests conducted.  This may reduce water availability past this depth.  No salinity was observed.
Site 18
Manager:     Margaret House
Paddock:     Fortuna Home

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     >0.5 %
Vegetation:     Reid River Box, Dead Finish
Australian Soil Classification:     Red Sodosol
Runoff:     slow
Permeability:     slowly permeable
Drainage:     moderately well drained
Surface Condition:     hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY AND FIELD TESTS
A1: Red (5YR4/3) moist; clay loam sandy; massive; dry firm; clear to-
A2e:     Red (5YR5/4) moist; clay loam sandy; massive; few fine manganiferous nodules; dry firm; clear to-
B2:     Red (5YR4/4) moist; medium clay; strong 5-10mm prismatic; few medium manganiferous nodules in upper horizon; dry very firm;







Chemical Analysis similar to site 24
Site Notes (18)
This site contains a duplex soil, where a lighter texture overlies a heavier texture.  In this case, the surface contains a clay loam sandy, which lies over medium clay B-horizon.  A bleached horizon (A2e) indicates a perched watertable can occur above the B-horizon.  In this soil the bleach is found at 45-50cm.  A change in the soil occurs at 90cm and may represent weathered material.
The red colour of the soil indicates better drainage.  The surface is hardsetting and massive that would decrease water infiltration and increase runoff. The soil contains a prismatic structure in the B2 horizon, which indicates a sodic soil.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are expected to be low in this soil.  However, sulphate levels are expected to peak at a shallow depth, due to improvement in water infiltration due to lower clay texture and lack of structure.  Sulphate levels are expected to decline with depth as water infiltration decreases.  Sulphates will accumulate at a shallow depth due to the decreased drainage at the lower depths due to sodic conditions.
Soil pH is adequate.  High sodicity occurs throughout the soil (below 50cm) from field dispersion tests conducted.  This may reduce water availability past this depth.  No salinity was observed.


Site 19
Manager:     Lindy Dixon
Paddock:     Ballyneety Poison

Landform Element:     hillslope
Landform Pattern:     rise <9m 1-3%
Slope:     1.5 %
Vegetation:     Yellow Jack, Lancewood, Desert Oak
Australian Soil Classification:     Red Kandosol
Runoff:     moderately rapid
Permeability:     moderately permeable
Drainage:     well drained
Surface Condition:     hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY FIELD TESTS AND ANALYSIS
A11: Red (2.5YR4/4) moist; sandy clay loam; massive; dry weak; clear to-
A12:     Red (10R4/8) moist; sandy clay loam; massive; dry weak; clear to-
B2:     Red (10R4/8) moist; clay loam sandy; massive; dry weak;









Depth (cm)     pH (1:5)     Ec (1:5) dS/m     Cl (mg/kg)     Bicarb P (mg/kg)     SO4-S ug/g     Organic Carbon %      
Bulk 0-10     5.95     0.012     4     2     2.3     0.30     
0-10     6.01     0.009     3     1     2.2     0.22     
10-20     6.28     0.008     4     5     1.8     0.16     
20-30     6.51     0.007     4     1     1.0     0.16     
Site Notes (19)
This site contains a gradational soil or a soil that has an increasing texture.  The surface is hardsetting that would reduce water infiltration and increase runoff.  The soil contains a massive structure throughout, which would allow no restriction to water movement once the surface restriction has been past. The red colour of the soil indicates better drainage.  The surface is hardsetting and massive that would decrease water infiltration and increase runoff.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are expected to be low in this soil.  Sulphate levels are not expected to increase with depth.  This is an indication that leaching is not occurring and water infiltration is decreasing with depth due to increases in soil texture.
Soil pH is adequate.  No salinity or sodicity was observed.
Site 20
Manager:     Bernie Dixon
Paddock:     The Lakes Garden #1

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     >0.5 %
Vegetation:     Ironbark, Desert Oak
Australian Soil Classification:     Yellow Chromosol
Runoff:     slow
Permeability:     moderately permeable
Drainage:     imperfectly drained
Surface Condition:     hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY FIELD TESTS AND ANALYSIS
A1: Brown (10YR3/3) moist; common medium distinct dark mottles; sandy clay loam; massive; dry firm; clear to-
A2e:     Brown (10YR4/4) moist; sandy clay loam; massive; dry firm; clear to-
B21:     Yellow (10YR6/6) moist; light clay; moderate 2-5mm sub-angular blocky; few medium manganiferous nodules; moderately moist very firm; clear to-
B22:     Yellow (10YR6/6) moist; common medium distinct red and few medium faint grey mottles; light clay; strong 2-5mm sub-angular blocky; common medium manganiferous nodules; moderately moist very firm;




Depth (cm)     pH (1:5)     Ec (1:5) dS/m     Cl (mg/kg)     Bicarb P (mg/kg)     SO4-S ug/g     Organic Carbon %      
Bulk 0-10     6.74     0.048     10     4     1.8     0.69     
0-10     6.58     0.026     15     2     2.4     0.70     
10-20     6.61     0.021     7     1     1.6     0.52     
20-30     6.79     0.017     5     2     1.9     0.27     

Site Notes (20)
This site contains a duplex soil, where a lighter texture overlies a heavier texture.  In this case, the surface contains a sandy clay loam, which lies over light clay B-horizon.  A bleached horizon (A2e) indicates a perched watertable can occur above the B-horizon.  In this soil the bleach is found at 25-50cm.  A change in the soil occurs at 90cm and may represent weathered material.  The surface is hardsetting that would reduce water infiltration and increase runoff. The soil contains a sub-angular blocky structure in the B2 horizon.  This structure usually indicates a non-sodic soil.  Mottles and manganiferous segregations occur past 50cm indicating poorer drainage
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are low in this soil.  Sulphate levels are expected to increase or accumulate with depth at the junction with the B-horizon.  This is an indication that leaching is occurring and water infiltration is decreasing with depth due to increases in soil texture within the B-horizon.
Soil pH is adequate.  No salinity or sodicity was observed.


Site 21
Manager:     
Paddock:     The Lakes Garden #2

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     >0.5 %
Vegetation:     Tea tree, Hop bush
Australian Soil Classification:     Brown Kandosol
Runoff:     slow
Permeability:     moderately permeable
Drainage:     imperfectly drained
Surface Condition:     hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY FIELD TESTS AND ANALYSIS
A1: Brown (10YR4/3) moist; sandy loam; massive; dry firm; clear to-
A2e:     Brown (10YR4/4) moist; sandy loam; massive; dry firm; diffuse to-
B21:     Brown (10YR5/6) moist; sandy clay loam; massive; dry firm; diffuse to-
B22:     Brown (10YR5/8) moist; sandy clay loam; massive; dry firm;







Depth (cm)     pH (1:5)     Ec (1:5) dS/m     Cl (mg/kg)     Bicarb P (mg/kg)     SO4-S ug/g     Organic Carbon %      
Bulk 0-10     6.01     0.015     1     2     1.4     0.35     
0-10     5.46     0.029     3     2     3.5     0.31     
10-20     5.70     0.021     3     1     3.2     0.20     
20-30     5.81     0.010     12     1     1.7     0.19     

Site Notes (21)

This site contains a gradational soil or a soil that has an increasing texture.  The surface is hardsetting that would reduce water infiltration and increase runoff.  The soil contains a massive structure throughout, which would allow no restriction to water movement once the surface restriction has been past.  The surface is hardsetting and massive that would decrease water infiltration and increase runoff.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are low in this soil.  Sulphate levels are not expected to increase with depth.  This is an indication that leaching is not occurring and water infiltration is decreasing with depth due to increases in soil texture.  Sulphates appear to accumulate in low levels at 20cm.
Soil laboratory pH is acidic at 20cm indicating some soil nutrients may be unavailable for plant growth.  No salinity or sodicity was observed.



Site 22
Manager:     Ian Mitchell
Paddock:     Albionvale

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     >0.5 %
Vegetation:     None
Australian Soil Classification:     Brown Dermosol
Runoff:     slow
Permeability:     moderately permeable
Drainage:     poorly drained
Surface Condition:     hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY, FIELD TESTS AND ANALYSIS
A1?: Brown (10YR5/4) moist; silty light clay; strong 5-10mm platy; moderately moist weak; clear to-
B21?:     Brown (10YR4/3) moist; common medium distinct yellow and few medium distinct grey mottles; fine sandy light clay; moderate 2-5mm sub-angular blocky; moderately moist weak; diffuse to-
B22?:     Brown (10YR5/4) moist; fine sandy light clay; massive; dry firm; diffuse to-
C:     Sandstone







Depth (cm)     pH (1:5)     Ec (1:5) dS/m     Cl (mg/kg)     Bicarb P (mg/kg)     SO4-S ug/g     Organic Carbon %      
Bulk 0-10     7.28     0.328     300     13     34.7     0.29     
0-10     7.16     0.426     410     10     71.9     0.26     
10-20     6.72     0.796     540     7     276.8     0.20     
20-30     7.08     1.640     1260     4     6.3     0.12     

Site Notes (22)

This site is located within a clay-pan or scalded soil.  The soil classifciation is uncertain due to a number of inconsisitent trends that occur throughout the soil.  However, it is expected to be strongly sodic in the sub-soil due to impermeablity of the subsoil.  Water infiliration is expected be slow and drainage poor.

Organic carbon is low in this soil.  However, sulphates are high to very high.  These levels are indications of very poor drainage and may indicate the presence of gypsum (calcuim sulphate).  The sulphates are peaking at 20cm at very high levels indicating that poor drainage occurs at greater depths.  This is confirmed by the low sulpate levels at 30cm

Soil pH is adequate.  Very high salinity has been observed within the top 30cm from both field and laboratory tests.  


Site 23
Manager:     Ian Mitchell
Paddock:     Albionvale #2

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     >1 %
Vegetation:     Silver leafed Ironbark, Dead Finish; Reid River Box
Australian Soil Classification:     Red Kandosol
Runoff:     moderately rapid
Permeability:     moderately permeable
Drainage:     well drained
Surface Condition:     hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY AND FIELD TESTS
A1: Red (5YR4/3) moist; clay loam sandy; massive; dry weak; clear to-
B21:     Red (5YR4/4) moist; light clay; massive; very few fine manganiferous nodules; moderately moist weak; gradual to-
B22:     Red (5YR4/6) moist; light clay; massive; few fine manganiferous nodules; moderately moist weak; gradual to-
B23:     Brown (7.5YR4/6) moist; common medium distinct grey mottles; light clay; massive; many fine manganiferous nodules; dry weak; clear to
C:     Sandstone



Chemical Analysis similar to site 19
Site Notes (23)

This site contains a gradational soil or a soil that has an increasing texture.  The surface is hardsetting that would reduce water infiltration and increase runoff.  The soil contains a massive structure throughout, which would allow no restriction to water movement once the surface restriction has been past. The red colour of the soil indicates better drainage.  The surface is hardsetting and massive that would decrease water infiltration and increase runoff.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are expected to be low in this soil.  Sulphate levels are not expected to increase with depth.  This is an indication that leaching is not occurring and water infiltration is decreasing with depth due to increases in soil texture.

Soil pH is adequate.  No salinity or sodicity was observed.


Site 24
Manager:     Davon Marshell
Paddock:     Blandfield #1

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     >1 %
Vegetation:     Black Gidgee
Australian Soil Classification:     Red Sodosol
Runoff:     rapid
Permeability:     slowly permeable
Drainage:     imperfectly drained
Surface Condition:     Hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY, FIELD TESTS AND ANALYSIS
A1: Red (5YR4/4) moist; clay loam; massive; dry very firm; clear to-
B21:     Red (5YR4/6) moist; medium clay; very few fine gravelly angular tabular unconsolidated material; strong 10-20mm angular blocky; very few fine manganiferous nodules; moderately moist firm; diffuse to-
B22:     Red (5YR4/6) moist; medium clay; common fine gravelly angular tabular unconsolidated material; strong 10-20mm angular blocky; few fine manganiferous nodules; dry firm; gradual to-
C:     Unconsolidated material






Depth (cm)     pH (1:5)     Ec (1:5) dS/m     Cl (mg/kg)     Bicarb P (mg/kg)     SO4-S ug/g     Organic Carbon %      
Bulk 0-10     6.50     0.044     31     28     5.3     0.45     
0-10     6.64     0.041     27     28     4.8     0.61     
10-20     6.89     0.035     6     9     4.1     0.26     
20-30     6.89     0.060     7     5     34.9     0.27     
Site Notes (24)

This site contains a duplex soil, where a lighter texture overlies a heavier texture.  In this case, the surface contains a clay loam, which lies over medium clay B-horizon. The red colour of the soil indicates better drainage.  The surface is hardsetting and massive that would decrease water infiltration and increase runoff.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are low in this soil.  However, sulphate levels are peaking at 30cm due to improvement in water infiltration due to lower clay texture and lack of structure.  Sulphate levels are expected to decline with depth as water infiltration decreases.  Sulphates have accumulated at 30cm, due to the decreased drainage of the soil at the lower depths due to sodic conditions.
Soil pH is adequate.  High sodicity was observed in the subsoil at 60cm from field dispersion tests.  No salinity was observed.







Site 25
Manager:     Davon Marshell
Paddock:     Blandfield #3

Landform Element:     plain
Landform Pattern:     level plain <9m  <1%
Slope:     >1 %
Vegetation:     Black Gidgee
Australian Soil Classification:     Red Dermosol
Runoff:     rapid
Permeability:     slowly permeable
Drainage:     imperfectly drained
Surface Condition:     hardsetting
PROFILE MORPHOLOGY AND FIELD TESTS
A1: Red (5YR4/4) moist; light clay; strong 2-5 platy; dry firm; clear to-
A12:     Red (5YR4/6) moist; medium clay; strong 2-5mm angular blocky; moderately moist firm; diffuse to-
B21:     Red (5YR4/6) moist; few medium faint grey mottles; medium clay; strong 2-5mm angular blocky; moderately moist firm; gradual to-
B22:     Red (5YR4/6) moist; few medium faint grey mottles; medium clay; very few medium gravelly angular tabular unconsolidated material; strong 2-5mm angular blocky; very few fine manganiferous nodules; dry very firm; gradual to-
BC:     Red (5YR4/6) moist; few medium faint grey mottles; medium clay; common medium gravelly angular tabular unconsolidated material; strong 5-10mm angular blocky; very few fine manganiferous nodules; dry very firm;


Chemical Analysis similar to site 2
Site Notes (25)
This site contains a non-cracking clay.  The soil contains a blocky structure.
Organic carbon and sulphate levels are expected to be low in this soil.  However, sulphate levels are expected to peak at a shallow depth suggesting that water infiltration is good at this depth, due to surface structure.  Sulphate levels are expected to decline with depth as water infiltration decreases.
Soil pH at the surface may be limiting the supply of plant nutrients, however pH becomes acidic at 60cm. This may reduce water availability to 60cm.  No salinity has been found to occur.  Sodicity levels are expected to be high in the subsoil from field dispersion tests.












































Conclusions

Waterspreading
In conclusion, waterspreading is one of the options available to us in the Desert Uplands to improve our production while creating great environmental benefits. Other possible methods of doing the same thing are pulling, ripping, cutterbarring, stickraking, crocodiling and even just resting the country. Different techniques may be useful in different situations. For example waterspreading would be too expensive on very steep slopes and pulling is pointless in thinly treed areas (although some people feel that even pulling large grass tussocks provides enough benefit).
Below we have listed how waterspreading compares with other methods of development based on the trials we have conducted during this project.

Cost

Waterspreading

A 50cm high waterspreading bank suitable for sheep, when built by an efficient contractor should cost about $100 to $120 per km, on an average slope in this project, this equates to about $10 to $12 per acre. There are possible ways, yet to be explored, of reducing this cost to $5 or $6 per acre by using a bedding plough rather than an angle blade. Country with less slope would cost less again. It could be worth trying 50cm banks with cattle, but leaving plenty of breaks in the banks so that cattle have places to walk through without having to walk over banks and break them.
1m high Waterspreading banks suitable for cattle, when built by an efficient dozer and contractor should cost about $500/km which on an average slope in this project equates to $25/acre. We believe it possible to build 1m high banks for about $200/km by using an angle blade on a 600hp dozer, but this has not been tried yet. If this idea worked it would bring down the cost of the large banks to those of the smaller ones, currently at $10/acre.

Another way which has not been tried yet, but which may be soon is to rely on hollows to spread the water rather than the banks. It is estimated that the cost per acre for this would be as low as $3/acre, further trials would be needed to confirm this price.

To sum up the cost of Waterspreading should be from around $10 to $25/acre at this stage.
One advantage of Waterspreading is that it is tax deductable, because of its environmental benefits.



Pulling

Pulling costs for this project were $5/acre.

Cutterbarring

Cutterbarring costs during this project were about $37/acre

Ripping

Ripping costs during this projects were about $40/acre


Improvement in production

Waterspreading

On Ironbark/spinifex soils or gidgee soils the bulk of grass typically increased by 200% - 300%. Also the extra bulk tended to be made up of a high proportion of more palatable, nutritious plants such as Buffel, Golden Beard, kangaroo Grass, Desert Bluegrass, sedges and annuals. Waterspreading grows as much or more Buffel as pulling or ripping, but it grows the other plants as well. We expect grass density to continue to increase each year more quickly with this method of development than any other because any capping of the soil is softened each year.



Pulling

On pulled (and not also Waterspread) sites in this project the bulk of the grass increased by about 25% - 100%. Most of the extra bulk grown on pulled areas is Buffel. Increases in grass density will probably depend on grazing management. Soil disturbed by pulling trees will gradually cap over again but the extra litter and ground cover provided by dead timber and bushes helps keep more soil soft than happens with ripping or cutterbarring.

Cutterbarring

Cutterbarred areas in this project gave disappointing results. On Blandfield Cutterbarred areas grew a good crop of Rolypoly and little else. On Albionvale the soil where the Cutterbarring was done was too porous to give good results.

Ripping

Many properties had strips of ripping done as the dozers moved from place to place. They all gave good results with up to 100% increase in bulk. The most productive ripped areas were those with the rip line at right angles to water flow and some run off running into them. We do not expect continued improvement in grass cover from now on in ripped areas, as, the soil has capped over again.

Environmental Benefits

Waterspreading

Waterspreading has many environmental benefits. It reduces water and wind erosion. On Barcoorah when an area up slope of one bank was burned, the next rain, washed leaf litter up to 4ins deep against the bank. Normally this litter would be gradually moved a bit closer to the creek with every rain. The more soil surface that is covered with living plants, or litter the less wind and water erosion can occur. This will lead to a softer soil surface. This will allow water to penetrate and plants to establish, there will be less evaporation from the soil, and a healthier environment in which organisms in the soil can cycle nutrients and increase soil fertility.
Waterspreading has encouraged increases in plant density of up to 400% on Ironbark/Spinifex and gidgee soils.

Because waterspreading doesn’t require trees to be pulled the soil can continue to benefit from leaf drop which returns nutrients from deeper in the soil to the surface. Grazing animals often supplement their diet with leaves. During dry periods leaves and foliage can be more nutritious than grass. Keeping mature trees also provides shade for animals and the soil, limiting evaporation.

Waterspreading seems to encourage a wider variety of plant species than the other development option we are considering. This is because it provides more water in concentrated areas so that the minium moisture requirements of more plant species are provided for. Plants, which are not as robust, still have an opportunity to establish. It is a general understanding in environmental science that a more complex ecosystem is a more stable system. If you have a mixture of plants in your pasture one disease is unlikely to come along and wipe out the whole pasture. Having a mixture of native species should help the biodiversity of fauna in the area. Monitoring of these has yet to begin to see if there is any change.

Pulling

Pulling trees on fairly bare areas to cut up the soil surface and lay more litter on the soil encourages grass to thicken and the bare soil surface to cover up. The benefits of keeping the soil surface covered have already been stated. The areas that were pulled in the project had up to 100% increase in plant density. Overtime the trees grow back and the soil again has the benefit of shade and leaf drop. Local knowledge suggests that the trees will grow back more thickly if not managed by fire, grazing, or mechanical means, and if they grow back too thickly they can rob pastures of moisture and light leading to bare ground again.

Pastures established by pulling trees are often dominated by Buffel, which environmentally speaking is much better than bare ground under trees, but not as good as a well balanced pasture containing plenty of native grasses, as well as introduced plants like Buffel and Seca. Although some environmentalists consider Buffel a weed, there should be nothing wrong, if it remains a balanced part of the pasture.

As pulling promotes thicker grass cover it also reduces erosion. Many graziers can point out gullies that have healed over since pulling slowed the water and thickened the grass.

Cutterbarring

Cutterbarring in this project produced some improvement in ground cover because of the RolyPoly it produced. The RolyPoly may provide protection for other grasses to become established, overall it seems to have produced very limited benefits. This seems a surprising result and may not be a typical result.

Ripping

Ripping produced a greater grass density than pulling, but less than the Waterspreading. It leaves the trees to do their job, but tends to favour Buffel over native plants, especially over time as the soil surface caps over again.

Management

Waterspreading

Waterspreading takes more effort to do than the other methods of development. It takes time to survey the area to be developed to mark out where the banks are to be built. Seed needs to be thrown out on the banks to help stabilise them. There maybe occasional small repairs, especially in the first year.

On the positive side tree regrowth is not a problem with waterspreading. With the extra moisture we thought that we might get large numbers of tree seedlings germinating. We have been watching for this and so far it has not happened. Waterspreading simplifies burning so much though, by producing a bigger volume of fuel and by eliminating the bare areas which prevent a fire from spreading, that if large numbers of seedlings did germinate it should be easy to control them with fire. Even after grazing a fire should carry well.

Waterspreading increases access through paddocks for vehicles although it makes it slightly more difficult with a motorbike. Shorter banks would help this as well as perhaps lessening stock damage to the banks


Pulling
Pulling only requires a property owner to show the contractor the paddock and let him go, so it is very easy. With the way public pressure is increasing against pulling it may become more difficult to get permits. We are yet to find out to what extent this would affect waterspreading. Pulling that is not followed by stickraking or a very good burn can make access difficult and it can be hard sometimes to get a thick enough build up of grass to get a good burn for controlling regrowth. If regrowth can not be controlled with burning more money has to be spent on stickraking or re-pulling.



Finally

We would have liked to also include comparisons with crocodiling and resting country but were not able to. Crocodile work seems to have produced widely varying results - from no response to a good establishment of  grass. Properly monitored trials with the crocodile are really needed. A trial of resting bare land on Cherhill was conducted during the same three years as this project by Mal Lorimer of the Department of Environment. The results were not yet available at the time this report was compiled. If they become available to us later we will include them as an appendix to this report. We hope you have found this information useful. For more information you can contact Leon and Jane Ashby, Barcoorah, Aramac phone (07) 46 510 593.