Restoring Flood Affected Soils

This drought breaking summer has been one of the wettest on record. Periods of intense rain have caused major flooding in many areas of Victoria.

Growers are advised to identify and correct any damage to their fields caused by water-logging, soil erosion/deposition, after a flood.

It is often not the flood itself but the waterlogged soil that’s the greatest threat to a crops recovery after flooding.

Lettuce crop flooded at Werribee South
Flooded lettuce crop at Werribee South – February 2011

Short term flooding may foul the crop but extended water-logging can raise levels of manganese, aluminium and sulphides in the soil, which are toxic to plants.

Where erosion has occurred there will be a loss of topsoil and nutrients. Soil test flood affected areas and apply fertilisers to replace the nutrients lost in the flood. Weed seeds are easily transported in flood waters.

Expect weed growth where sediment has deposited and bare or wet ground where weeds can quickly establish.

Restoring flood affected soils
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Recovering flooded soils may also form hard clods when cultivated, which restrict plant growth.

Cover Crops should be sown where possible to stabilise the soil structure after cultivation. Cover crops will help your soils to recover from flood damage by replacing organic matter lost from the soil and creating air pores that further improve soil structure.

Discuss your flood recovery options with your Farm Consultant or contact DPI Victoria about the best flood recovery management practices for your soils.

A Clean-up and Restoration Grant of up to $25,000 is available to Primary Producers who have suffered direct physical damage as a result of a flood event between August 2010 and January 2011.

Contact Rural Finance … 03 5448 2600

Rural Finance

For more information contact your Industry Development Officers :

Slobodan Vujovic
IDO – East
Helena Whitman
IDO – West

0422 583 784

0407 772 299

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