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Relationships of water repellency to soil properties for soils of southwestern Australia

McKissock, I., Gilkes, R.J., Harper, R.J.ORCID: 0000-0003-0268-2917 and Carter, D.J. (1997) Relationships of water repellency to soil properties for soils of southwestern Australia. In: Soils '97 Proceedings of the Fourth Triennial Western Australian Soil Science Conference, 30 September - 2 October, Geraldton, Western Australia

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In order predict the susceptibility of soils to the development of water repellency, it is necessary to identify predictive relationships between water repellence and commonly measured soil properties. This paper evaluates these relationships for diverse groups of soil samples.

The soil assemblages include a set of reference soils from the south west of Western Australia (an area of 250 000 sq km), more intensively sampled suites of soils in several smaller soil landscape associations within the south west of Western Australia (≈1000 sq km), soils from single farms (1-10 sq km) and transects(≈0.001 sq km) and single soil profiles(≈sq m). The severity of water repellency was assessed by measuring water drop penetration time in seconds (WDPT) and was statistically related to intrinsic properties of soils using log transformed data. For the set of soils from the West Midland Sandplain the type of land use was also considered.

There is a general tendency for WDPT to increase as organic matter content increases and decrease as the content of fine mineral material increases (clay, silt, fine sand). However there is no single soil property that is able to adequately predict WDPT. Furthermore reliability of prediction decreases as the area of sampling increases. There appear to be no systematic differences in the capacity of organic matter from pasture or crop to induce water repellency but increments of organic matter under bush increase water repellency at a greater rate than does organic matter from crop or pasture.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Publisher: Australian Society of Soil Science Inc. (WA Branch)
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