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Flood-hit farmers face 'extreme' soil loss

By Frances Adcock, Tuesday April 9, 2013 - 10:11 EST
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Researchers are studying the effects of topsoil movement after the Bundaberg floods. - ABC

Soil researchers say the summer floods will have long-term effects on farmers and growers in southern Queensland's Wide Bay region.

CQUniversity researchers are studying the effects of topsoil movement after the Bundaberg floods.

Environmental scientist Dr Melinda McHenry says large amounts of fertile soil were washed away from farms along the Burnett and Mary River banks.

"Some of the people who have had farm dumps along the river were unprepared, it was something they never had to question before because their land wasn't subject to flooding," she said.

She says soil condition was already poor after the 2011 floods.

"Having one flood followed by another flood has meant soil health has not had the chance to bounce back," she said.

"We've certainly found the amount of soil loss has been extreme."

She says the study will look at how the State Government and producers can work together to flood-proof farming areas.

A large sinkhole was formed in Gayndah in the North Burnett last month and there was a 10-metre landslip on a Hervey Bay Road a fortnight ago.

Dr McHenry says there has been an increase in landslips because the watertable is still full.

"A lot of the subsidence and sinkhole issues in the region are due to a collapse in soil structure because it's salty or it has those sodic components," she said.

Results from the study will be available in 12 months.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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