Soil salinity is one of those issues that creeps up — quite literally. The accumulation of salts in the growing zone typically happens slowly over time, causing small yield losses that may go unnoticed until salinity is quite severe. The tell-tale wavy growth in a field or, worse, bare batches or salt-loving weeds moving in likely mean crops like wheat are down significantly in yield. While wheat can handle a little salinity, losses begin at low levels.
In this episode of the Wheat School, Ken Wall of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada explains how to identify soil salinity (long before you’d notice it with your own eyes), when to soil test and offers several management options for dealing with saline creep. To the good, researchers are hard at work building saline tolerance into new lines of wheat, but those varieties are years away from release. In the meantime, crop rotation and potentially irrigation management will play the larger role in managing this sneaky yield robber. We spoke to Ken at a Salainity & Alkalinity Clinic in Picture Butte, Alberta put on by the County of Lethbridge Agricultural Services.
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