Dense saltbush plantings in a nutshell

Dense saltbush plantings (>1,000 stems/ha) are established as nursery raised seedlings (lower risk but higher cost) or direct seeding (higher risk but lower cost). This high density planting severely limits the opportunity for under-storey species.

Saltbushes (Atriplex species) are woody shrubs with leaves that accumulate significant amounts of salt that is noticeable when tasted. The main species used for saltland pastures are old man and river saltbush (Australian natives), and wavy leaf saltbush (introduced from Argentina). The dense planting of saltbush was one of the first saltland pastures developed in Australia so both researchers and farmers are reasonably confident in their understanding of this option.

Profitability is typically quite low but saltbush is very long-lived and can be heavily crash-grazed. Dense saltbush stands provide an ideal paddock for supplementary feeding sheep in autumn without risking soil erosion.

Dense saltbush plantings are no longer widely recommended because saltbush with under-storey is more profitable, has lower establishment costs, is more productive and nutritious, and generally provides for easier management of sheep.

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