Land capability for annual horticulture in the south west of Western Australia based on analysis and interpretation of the best available soil-landscape mapping dataset (DPIRD-027).
Land capability refers to the ability of land to support a type of land use without causing damage. See DAFWA Resource Management Technical Report 298 for a description of the qualities assessed and the methodology involved.
The assessment for annual horticulture covers the production of irrigated horticultural crops from plants with short-term life cycles (typically completed within the period of a year). Crops include annual fruits (strawberries, melons, etc.), vegetables (e.g. potatoes, lettuce, cabbages, tomatoes, pumpkins, etc.), commercial turf production and cut flowers.
The assumptions for the land use as assessed include:
• crops are grown for commercial production
• crops are shallow-rooted with most roots using only the top 50 cm of soil
• crops are irrigated using sprinkler or trickle systems
• mechanised cultivation occurs at least annually
• fertilisers and herbicides, fungicides and/or pesticides are broadcast at least annually
• crop rotation is practised
• considers physical requirements only and ignores socio-economic factors.
Capability ratings do not take into account factors such as the availability and quality of water supplies for irrigation or climatic risks such as frost or heat stress. Such factors need to be considered as a separate layer of information.