Six year soil assessment project

SOIL TOIL: Technical staff at DEDJTR drill out large soil cores for a major study on the effects of elevated CO2 on plant growth and soil properties.

GETTING soil ready for the cropping season has taken on a whole new meaning for the soils research team at the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) in Horsham, as part of a six year project to assess how soils will respond to elevated carbon dioxide (eCO2) levels.

As well as routine soil sampling, testing and field trial establishment, the team has used a truck-mounted crane, barrel auger and PVC pipes to collect large, intact soil cores for this cropping study.

Soils are collected as metre long, 30cm diameter cores, weighing up to 150kg each.

These are placed into a series of specially designed bunkers sunk into the ground in a paddock at the SoilFACE project site near Horsham.

DEDJTR technical officer Mel Munn said the team had devised a system where intact soil profiles are collected from the ground in PVC sleeves using a crane and barrel augur.

Extracting such large cores required considerable trial and error on the part of technical staff over some time.

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