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Soil testing in the South West

21 February 2019

The investigation of potential Pinus radiata plantation sites is continuing across the South West with an experienced FPC establishment team on the case testing various locations.

Forester Tim Mitchell is part of the team that also includes Senior Forester Richard Hartwell and Operations Officer Andrew Robertson, that has been testing potential softwood estate expansion sites.

“We use a trailer mounted drill rig and an EM-38 conductivity meter to check the soil depth to approximately three metres across the property to get an idea of permeability, soil quality and the lands salinity state,” Mr Mitchell said.

Accepted industry standards, developed over decades of plantation establishment, are used to define commercially productive soil salinity boundaries on prospective properties.

“In the result of a poor salinity test, we do further examination finding the extent of the salinity and determine if it would impact the overall potential of the site,” Mr Mitchell said.

One drill site east of Manjimup with an existing share farm on the property tested for elevated salinity, but upon further investigation was deemed to not have a significant impact on the overall farm.

“Luckily the saline area was less than 2,000m2 and in a geographically well-defined site, meaning it didn’t impact the overall rating and a business case can now be put forward to include this property as part of the estate expansion,” Mr Mitchell said.