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Impact of soil conditions on hydrology and water quality for a brown clay in the north-eastern cereal zone of Australia

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Freebairn, D. M., Wockner, G. H., Hamilton, N. A. and Rowland, P. (2009) Impact of soil conditions on hydrology and water quality for a brown clay in the north-eastern cereal zone of Australia. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 47 (4). pp. 389-402.

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/SR07054

Publisher URL: https://www.publish.csiro.au/SR/SR07054


Hydrology and water quality impacts of alternative land management practices are poorly quantified for semi-arid environments in the northern Australia cropping zone, yet wide-scale changes in tillage practices and land use were being recommended based on experience from other environments. The objective of this study was to explore changes in soil profile and catchment hydrology and water quality associated with different soil surface conditions created by different tillage and grazing practices. Soil water, runoff, and suspended sediment concentrations were monitored on 4 contour bay catchments over an 18-year period. Soil conditions were described by soil moisture, soil cover, and surface roughness in order to explore functional relationships between management, hydrology, and water quality. The site was chosen to represent the drier margins of cropping in southern Queensland where clay soils with high water-holding capacity, in conjunction with fallowing to store water for later crop growth, are an essential risk management tool. Accumulation of soil water in fallows was inefficient, with fallow efficiencies ranging from 7 to 40% due to high evaporation and runoff losses. Runoff amount was determined by soil water content, which was strongly influenced by antecedent rainfall, water use, and evaporation patterns. Surface cover and roughness had subtle influences on runoff, and a greater effect on suspended sediment concentration. Runoff and suspended sediment losses were considerably lower under pasture than cropping. A participative approach between farmers and scientists was demonstrated to be an efficient method to carry out an extensive and long-term catchment study at a remote location. This study provides benchmark data for future hydrologic and water quality investigations. © CSIRO 2009.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Additional Information:Reproduced with permission from © CSIRO Publishing. Access to published version is available via Publisher’s website.
Keywords:Antecedent rainfall Australia Benchmark data Catchment hydrology Clay soil Crop growth Efficient method Functional relationship High water Land management practices Northern Australia Queensland Remote location Semi-arid environments Soil conditions Soil cover Soil profiles Soil surfaces Soil water Soil water content Surface cover Suspended sediment Suspended sediment concentrations Tillage practices Water quality impact Water use Agricultural machinery Agriculture Benchmarking Catchments Clay Clay minerals Evaporation Groundwater Land use Rain Risk analysis Risk management Runoff Sedimentology Sediments Soil moisture Surface roughness Underwater soils Vapors Water content Water pollution Water quality Water supply Soil pollution catchment cereal concentration (composition) grazing roughness semiarid region soil profile soil quality tillage water storage Australasia
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Special aspects of agriculture as a whole > Sustainable agriculture
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Soils. Soil science
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Soils. Soil science > Soil and crops. Soil-plant relationships. Soil productivity
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Improvement, reclamation, fertilisation, irrigation etc., of lands (Melioration)
Plant culture > Field crops > Grain. Cereals
Agriculture > By region or country > Australia > Queensland
Live Archive:17 Feb 2022 04:15
Last Modified:17 Feb 2022 04:15

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