Canada's salt tolerance testing laboratory
Authors: H. Steppuhn and K.G. Wall
Description: Soil salinity refers to a state where dissolved constituents in interstitial water concentrate beyond the needs of the plants rooted in the soil. Salinity levels in western Canadian soils can range from very slight to very severe within a few metres. Such variability makes it impossible to evaluate the salt tolerance of crops in the field. Canadian engineers have overcome this difficulty by fabricating an environmentally-controlled testing facility near Swift Current, Saskatchewan. Plants growing in sand tanks and irrigated with hydroponics can be evaluated from emergence through maturity. A programable logic controller actuates the facility's lighting, heating, ventilation, and ambient temperature monitoring. The controller also automatically triggers irrigation, replacement ofsupply water lost by evapotranspiration, and maintenance of brine concentration. Salt tolerance response functions have been determined for wheat, barley, alfalfa, kochia, quinoa, and perennial forage grasses. The facility can serve private companies and producer organizations through the Western Region Business Development Office of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Citation: H. Steppuhn and K.G. Wall 1999. CANADA'S SALT TOLERANCE TESTING LABORATORY. Canadian Agricultural Engineering 41(3):185-189.
Publisher: Canadian Society for Bioengineering
Language 1: en
Rights: Canadian Society for Bioengineering