Possible benefits from Saltbush & understorey

1.     Production
Saltbush & understorey pastures are much more productive than dense saltbush plantings because the understorey will typically produce from 3 to 10 times as much edible dry matter as the saltbush. It is the production from the understorey that can balance the salt in the diet and provide a better than maintenance ration for livestock.

2.     Conservation and amenity
Revegetation with ‘saltbush and understorey’ can assist in reducing soil erosion, and can enhance flora and fauna diversity by providing habitat to small local birds, lizards and other small animals. There is some evidence of improved microbial activity in soils established to saltbush compared with bare areas.

The amenity value of a well managed stand of saltbush and understorey, particularly when compared with bare and untreated saltland, is unmistakeable and farmers take pride in this.

3.     $$’s
Financial returns from saltbush and understorey are usually modest because the sites are saline and in a relatively low rainfall zone. An analysis of farmer trials from the SGSL network in WA showed that profitability varied greatly, though 16 of the 21 sites reached break even within 10 years.

The objectives behind implementing this saltland solution will usually be a mixture of production/profit and amenity improvement because there are more profitable investment opportunities on most farms.

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