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Alley Systems

Problem

A wheat and sheep farmer in Midwest WA had a 250 ha paddock that was showing signs of a rising watertable. There was a poor crop yield, rye grass and other weed infestation resulting from the area being moist throughout the year. The boggy site made winter spraying treacherous.
 
3 year old Alley Trees

Photo:
A 3 years old alley of trees and shrubs near Binnu, WA.
(350 mm rainfall pa)
 
Solution

Block planting these areas was not viable as :
  • The fencing would be too costly
  • Too much good productive land would be lost to trees
  • The paddock could become unworkable as the farm uses a 40m-spray rig
Alley farming was recommended, that is the planting of dense belts of trees above, below and through the problem zones. The introduction of fodder crops like saltbush enabled the trees to be protected from chemical drift and provide summer feed for sheep.

The trees were planted on a lupin rotation. This meant that weed spraying of chemical would have little or no affect on the trees. The belts were positioned so the widest implement (boom spray) could travel between the belts with no overlap.

Alley systems can be incorporated across the landscape to rectify wind erosion.
 
Evidence

Photo: Evidence that alleys work. Three-year-old alleys across the background has protected the top soil as seen by the
stubble retention whereas the foreground shows the affects wind has
on un protected top soils
 
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