Katanning’s premier research facility has identified a desperate need for support with soil salinity issues which are crippling the station’s research. The 2100ha Katanning Research Facility, 5km east of Katanning, has experienced a deterioration of soil quality over the past 10 years to the point where the station is losing productivity, according to KRF manager Gavin D’Adhemar. “Our dams are twice as salty as sea water... and because of poor pastures we are running into all sorts of problem such as grazing areas we shouldn’t be grazing,” he said. “There is a huge amount of pressure on the station at the moment as it is predominantly a sheep research facility.” Some of the best farming minds from around the Great Southern gathered late last month with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to brainstorm solutions to KRF’s salinity woes. “We need to halt the spread and that is our number one priority. That is going to be what drives the change,” Mr Dadhemer said. “This comes down to a deeper objective to turn our station into not only a research showpiece but also a really good demonstration site for farmers in our region on how to turn their salinity problems around on their properties.” Katanning averages about 440mm of rain a year, but DPIRD climatologist Ian Foster said he expected that figure to drop 15 per cent by 2030, contributing to worsening soil quality. The seminar came up with several possible ways to reduce soil salinity and stem the rising water-table, including the planting of Anameka saltbush to improve biomass production. Other solutions that came out of the seminar included planting trees around the creek line and lambing plot, as well as drainage strategies to relieve groundwater pressure, allowing tree growth and natural reticulation. DPIRD research scientist John Paul Collins said the department would host a meeting with neighbours of the KRF after seeding season with a view to start implementing the ideas by spring.