Possible benefits from dense saltbush plantings

1.     Production
Saltbush has some well established positives as a stock feed - it is green over summer when most other feed is dry; it has high protein levels; it provides vitamin E which can otherwise be a limitation for sheep on dry autumn pastures; and the salt in the saltbush leaves can improve the efficiency of conversion of feed to wool. The high salt content and the low production (a rule of thumb is 500-700g of edible dry matter per plant per year) are significant negatives.

2.     Conservation and amenity
Saltbush has some ability to lower watertables if they are not too saline and this can allow leaching of salts out of the surface soil layers, potentially making the site more productive – this benefit is more critical in Saltland Solution 4 – Saltbush and understorey because the leaching may allow understorey species that would not otherwise persist. By far the most consistently reported environmental benefits from dense saltbush plantings are ground cover and visual amenity.

3.     $$’s
Profitability is typically quite low ~$5-6/ha because production of edible leaf per hectare is low and establishment costs are quite high (~$150 per hectare for direct seeding and ~$450 for nursery raised seedling). The system has low maintenance costs after establishment and can persist indefinitely. This saltland solution is only an attractive investment if other benefits – such as visual amenity – are valued.

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