How serious is Soil Acidity?
More than 70% of agricultural topsoils and 50% of sub-surface soils are more acidic than they should be, and such soils affect agricultural production negatively as plants are less able to take up nutrients from the soil.
This is a key issue affecting agriculture across Australia, and is also an issue that can be managed.
Results of recent government research shows that:
- Topsoil samples collected since 2005 were rated poor – the pH of more than 70% of surface soils (0–10 cm) was more acidic than recommended.
- Almost half of the samples collected from the subsurface layers (10–20 and 20–30 cm) had a pH which was rated poor – more acidic than recommended.
- The annual use of agricultural lime is 40% of the estimated amount required to treat existing acidity and on-going agricultural soil acidification.
- Department of Agriculture and Food, 2013. Report card on sustainable natural resource use in agriculture: Status and trends in the agricultural areas of the south west of Western Australia. Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia. 188 pages.