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Unit 1 - What's in it for me?
Unit 2 - Saltland Basics
Unit 3 - Can I trust the technology?
Unit 4 - Plant and animal performance
Unit 5 - Sheep, cattle and conservation
Unit 6 - Do the $$$'s stack up?
Unit 7 - The saltland toolbox
Site Assessment
Solution 1: Exclude grazing
Solution 2: Volunteer pasture
Solution 3: Saltbush
Solution 4: Saltbush & Understorey
Solution 5: Tall Wheatgrass
Solution 6: Puccinellia
Solution 7: Vegetative grasses
Solution 8: Temperate perennials
Solution 9: Sub-tropicals
Solution 10: Legumes
Solution 11: Revegetation
Solution 12: Messina
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UNIT 4

Plant and animal performance.

 

Unit 4 is about how plants and grazing animals adapt to and perform on saltland, and introduces the concept of ‘saltland capability’.  Saltland with high capability can support a wide range of saltland pasture options and be quite productive, whereas saltland with low capability has few options and production will be severely restricted.

In Unit 4 there are 5 ‘sections’:

 

4.1

Understanding salinity and waterlogging.

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Plants growing on saline sites usually have to deal with the combination of salinity and waterlogging as a result of elevated water tables. Measuring salinity and waterlogging and their collective impact helps define saltland capability.

 
4.2

What grows where and why?

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The combination of salinity and waterlogging determine what plants are capable of growing on a saltland site. Typically, a saline site will have the lowest salinity and waterlogging around the edges, and increasing towards the centre of the site. Plants already growing on the site provide a good indication of its productive potential, so recognising indicator species is part of the assessment of a site’s capability.

 
4.3

Performance of saltland pastures.

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It is important to be able to identify the range of saltland pasture species and match the salinity and waterlogging tolerance of those species to a particular site. The production expected from a site is an important determinant of the likely profitability of a saltland pasture.

 
4.4

What is the weed risk?

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Some saltland pasture species have the potential (as environmental weeds) to invade the unique floral communities that inhabit naturally occurring saltland. There is also some potential for saltland species to become agricultural weeds, especially if salt tolerant crops become commercial.

 
4.5

Animal performance on saltland pastures.

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At low salinity levels, the nutritive value of saltland pastures will be similar to pastures on non-saline land.  However, as the salinity rises the plants can pose an increasing challenge to grazing animals, both through the direct effect of salt in the diet, and from the impacts of compounds plants use to manage high salinity in their tissues.