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Coal-ash as a resource for sustainable soil-management in plant production systems

Funding: 2004: $30,316
2005: $54,344
2006: $48,767
2007: $50,190
2008: $25,451

Project Member(s): Skilbeck, C.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Ash Development Association of Australia
Australian Research Council (ARC Linkage Projects)

Start year: 2005

Summary: Acidification and salinisation are major causes of land degradation in Australia, costing $1-2 billion to combat. Farmers used 1.9M t of lime and 1.0M t of gypsum to manage their soils in 2000. Power stations annually produce 12M t of coal-ash that have functional characteristics of lime and gypsum and can potentially ameliorate degraded land. Presently only 43% of the ash is used and almost entirely for construction with the rest going into landfills. This project will determine the sustainable use of coal-ash to improve structure and nutritive properties of the soil and to raise crop yield across several sites in Australia.

Keywords: Land degradation, Acidity and salinity, Coal ash, Soil management, Water and nutrient use efficiency, Crop productivity,

FOR Codes: Horticultural crops, Field crops, Sown grasses, Sown Pastures (excl. Lucerne), Land Capability and Soil Degradation, Crop and Pasture Nutrition, Environmental Impact Assessment, Management of Gaseous Waste from Plant Production (excl. Greenhouse Gases), Environmental assessment and monitoring, Land capability and soil productivity