CSIRO Land and Water and Fodder King Ltd have signed a letter of cooperation to jointly explore opportunities to commercialise new salinity combating technology
FodderFacts No. 8
CSIRO and Fodder King join forces to tackle Salinity.
CSIRO Land and Water and Fodder King Ltd have signed a letter of cooperation to jointly explore opportunities to commercialise new salinity combating technology.
Scientists at CSIRO Land and Water have found a way to manage one of irrigated agriculture's most vexing problems - secondary salinisation of irrigation areas.
This work is important given that about 30% of the world's food crops and 50% of wheat and rice, the two major staples, are currently supplied by irrigated agriculture.
To feed the world's growing population, total food production from irrigated crops must be boosted by 12% over the next decade.
Competing against the need to increase global food supplies are warning signs within irrigation areas that current farming practices are not environmentally sustainable.
In the Murray-Darling Basin, for example, the water table (and therefore saline conditions) is already within 2 metres of the surface in a staggering 30% of the basin's southern irrigation acreage. If nothing changes this is expected to grow to 50%.
Drainage, an integral part of any irrigation scheme, is one of the critical issues facing agriculture today.
There is salt in all water - even rain - and when water is applied to the ground, plants take up water and nutrients and leave salt behind in the soil. Drainage from irrigation areas exports this salt, traditionally disposing of it to deep aquifers or watercourses. This drainage leads to salinisation and as such is an unacceptable consequence of present farming methods.
CSIRO Land and Water have come up with an innovative solution, which converts the salty drainage water into a potentially profitable asset. CSIRO researchers have found a way to repeatedly use drainage water to grow crops.
In the process, known as Sequential Biological Concentration (SBC), the system concentrates the salt in the water to manageable levels which can then be used, stored or disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.
The process can be used on salty drainage water and even sewage effluent.
For the SBC system to be environmentally and economically viable it must be carried out on a scale which reflects the magnitude of the salinity problem, which is where Fodder King's expertise becomes critical to the project.
Fodder King uses patented technology to produce and market high quality fodder products on a large scale. Fodder King's technology produces high-quality, clean animal feed in an environmentally sustainable fashion.
Fodder King CEO Kim Campbell said today "we believe that there is an opportunity to take a severe problem and convert it into profitable export enterprise. This partnership opens up opportunities to take the SBC system to the next stage.
We welcome the opportunity to work with CSIRO Land and Water towards the development of an irrigated farming system that can be repeated in many parts of Australia as both a problem solver and a regional development opportunity".
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