Two tractors meet in a field of wheat.

Across the Fenceline helps farmers share information.

Across the fenceline: combating dryland salinity

CSIRO is helping land users work together in a project to combat the growing problems of dryland salinity.

  • 14 November 2007 | Updated 14 October 2011

Project summary

One way in which farmers gather information about land management strategies is to look over the fence and see what other people are doing.

By talking and sharing information with other farmers and land managers, farmers have more information available to develop land management strategies that will work for them.

Across the Fenceline is a project that brings together land users in the Jugiong Creek area in southern NSW to address dryland salinity.

The aim is to better manage salinity through a combination of monitoring and community education.

By talking and sharing information, farmers and land managers can develop land management strategies that will work for them.

In this region, winter/spring rainfall that is not used in current land management practices, or lost across the landscape as runoff, drains through the soil profile. 

This deep drainage through subsurface layers collects salt and contributes to dryland salinity as well as river and water quality decline.

Objective

A major objective is to provide reliable data to identify the most effective strategies to overcome the problem of high salinity levels in the Jugiong Creek catchment.

This catchment has been listed in the Salinity Audit of NSW as having severe salinity problems.

Successfully addressing the problems in this area could help achieve the interim end-of-valley salinity target.

Current activities

Across the Fenceline monitors deep drainage on real farms, using a CSIRO-developed tool called a tube tensiometer.

The tool can objectively measure levels of deep drainage under different land management practices, and communicate the results to farmers and advisors.

The chosen sites are visited frequently and have become a focal point for discussions among farmers, advisors and researchers.

They share possible solutions to the rising water tables using available water, and raise awareness of the increasing incidence of salinity across the region.

The project highlights the drainage differences that can occur between different land management systems.

The tube tensiometers are deployed on a range of representative soil types in:

  • an annual cropping system
  • an improved perennial pasture system
  • a best-practice phase farming system.

Partners

Across the Fenceline is a joint project between:

  • CSIRO Land and Water
  • Harden Murrumburrah Landcare Group
  • Grains Research & Development Corporation.

Find out more about CSIRO's work in Salinity & Acidity.