Soil and land suitability assessment for the Dunmarra area


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has investigated 59,980ha in the Dunmarra area to assist the potential development of irrigated agriculture in the vicinity.

The land resource mapping and crop type suitability findings have identified 14,831ha of versatile lands suitable for irrigated agriculture across the entire range of crops assessed, with a further 10,396ha occupied by lands that are suitable for a limited range of irrigated agricultural activities.

The first soil and land suitability study conducted in the Dunmarra area has identified considerable areas of soils suitable for irrigated agriculture, across three pastoral leases and an Aboriginal Land Trust.

The study immediately followed a groundwater investigation of the Georgina Basin, which identified prospective aquifers in the region.

"Our knowledge of this area was limited before this study, but thanks to an excellent team of scientists spending weeks in the field, coring and testing over 110 soils, we now have an excellent understanding of the area’s development potential," Mr Jason Hill, Director Land Assessment said.

This is the eleventh project completed over the past five years that has identified arable soils from the Top End to the Red Centre. The various studies span across the Territory’s climatic zones, providing opportunities for diverse growing seasons and market access.

"Collectively, these studies are providing a number of regional communities, pastoralists and traditional owners from across the Territory with the necessary scientific information to underpin agricultural development opportunities," Mr Hill said.

The Northern Territory Government has recognised these types of natural resource studies as a key economic enabler, so has invested a further $10M over five years in a Mapping the Future program. This is accelerating natural resource assessment programs, enabling projects similar to the Dunmarra study to continue through to 2022.

The reports and maps released today are available on the DENR website

Soil scientists coring soil in the Dunmarra area

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