Dealing with saline soils can be a big challenge for producers, especially in the southwest.

Saline soils can have a big impact on crop production; in a field, they tend to be white areas with little to no plant growth.

Troy LaForge is the Lead Agronomist with Ultimate Yield Management Services.

According to LaForge in the southwest, sodium sulphate is an issue adding it’s not unusual to have 2 to 3% of a field be affected by some degree of salinity.

"When you get the problem with sodium, and then you also have sodium sulphate on top of that," he said. "When the water can't move through the soil, then we start getting accumulations of salt on the surface, and we end up with problems where crops just can't grow because they just can't access available plant water."

It’s estimated that Saskatchewan has over a million acres of non-productive land due to salinity issues.

Water infiltration rates tend to decrease with sodium and can get to the point where the plant no longer has access to available water.

LaForge says it’s important to recognize the type of salinity issue you have and then develop a plan on how to deal with it.

"Finding a species of crop that will tolerate the levels of sodium that you're dealing with," he said. "Designing fertility programs to help some of the salts be bleached out of the system."

Marginal or slightly saline soils can still see some crop growth, but productivity can be decreased by as much as 75% in some of those areas.

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