Over the past few days, SASRI scientists and Extension Specialists embarked on a roadshow to share management guidelines to reduce salinisation of irrigated land under sugarcane. The objective was to promote salinity / sodicity awareness amongst farmers and to highlight the necessity of subsurface drainage to control salt levels in soils.
The project (funded by the Water Research Commission and administered by the University of Free State), established that yield losses in the sugarcane industry due to sodicity range from 2 tons cane/ha to 10 tons cane/ha for every 1% increase in exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP) above the threshold value of 7%.
It is hoped that the awareness message conveyed will create some momentum in the sugarcane industry to prevent soils from becoming saline or sodic. After each meeting growers engaged with the team to discuss their specific problems and possible reclamation action. Email Rianto.VanAntwerpen@sugar.org.za for more details.