Investigating the use of “Radiometrics” as a potential tool to identify soil types in the South East

Final report on Project – as at September 2011

This project aimed to look at 60 existing soil pits around the South-East where soil has been previously characterised to analyse surface texture data and to measure the gamma emissions from these sites using a Gamma Ray Spectrometer to see if good correlations can be established between the emissions and the soil type.

This technology has been very successful in WA, but to date, no known work has been carried out in the South East of SA.

It is thought that this technology when coupled with EM (electromagnetics) may allow for more accurate identification of the spatial variation of soil types across a paddock than EM alone (found to be effective at detecting sodicity and salinity, but not as effective in distinguishing between some of the other soil characteristics that affect Plant Available Water).

Measuring with a hand-held Gamma Ray Spectrometer at sites where PAW is known, will give an indication of whether there is the potential to further investigate this technology on paddock scale demonstrations.

What problem/issue(s) are being addressed by the project?

If good correlations can be found between the gamma emissions and soil sites, the technology has the potential to assist in

  • Identifying saline areas
  • Identifying areas that may be more prone to acidity
  • Allow for targeted site-specific improvement of soil condition (as areas can be accurately identified)
  • Improving Water Use Efficiency (a better understanding of how PAW varies across a paddock will allow for better management of targeted inputs)

How will the project address the problems/issues?

This project will determine if a good correlation can be established between the technology and the soil sites where soil characteristics are already known (including sites where acidity and salinity is an issue).

If good correlations can be established, then this gives us the confidence to take this technology across to broadacre applications and further investigate in larger scale demonstrations.

For further information please contact:

This project will ran from January to June 2011 and was managed by Felicity Turner.

Project funded by: