Using Meningie Gypsum    

Agriculture and viticulture
Miscellaneous uses


Large areas of southeast Australia have sodic soils which contain very fine sodium based clay particles. Surface water will not penetrate to the root zone and hence crop growth is restricted. Essentially gypsum consists of hydrated calcium sulfate, CaSO4.2H2O. When gypsum is spread on the soil, the sodium ions from the clay particles are replaced by the calcium ions from the gypsum causing the clay particles to increase in size. The pore spaces also increase in size allowing surface water and air to percolate down to the root zone. As a result, plant growth improves. A typical application rate is 2.5 tonnes to 10.0 tonnes per hectare. The finer the gypsum particles the better it works.

Waterlogged, sodic soil

(image by CRC Soil and Land Management)
photograph of waterlogged, sodic soil

Meningie Gypsum being spreadIn crops such as lupins and canola, gypsum is applied to provide the sulfur content that aids the setting of flowers. Lower applications of gypsum are sufficient for this purpose, perhaps 0.5 tonnes to 1.0 tonne per hectare. The application of gypsum benefits potato crops. Gypsum prevents blossom-end rot and also increases tuber yield and quality. See Case study: SA Potatoes.

When MENINGIE GYPSUM is mined and screened, it is naturally extremely fine grained. It does not have to be crushed or milled. Particles average under 0.075mm and readily dissolve into the soil. Thousands of tonnes are spread every year on pastures, cropping land and vineyards to improve the soil and therefore the yields and quality of crops are better. The gypsum from Meningie is recognised as the best agricultural gypsum in Australia. See Case study : Grant Lyon Fertilizers.

Gypsum is an important component of mushroom compost. See Case study : Adelaide Mushrooms.

gardening with Meningie GypsumGypsum works the same way on garden soils as it does on pastures, croplands and vineyards (see Case study: Braeview Primary School). You can buy Premium Grade MENINGIE GYPSUM in 10kg and 25kg bags from many retail outlets in South Australia. (see list of retail stores).

Please let us know if you can’t find our product at your local hardware or garden shop, or ask the proprietor to contact us. Those of you who have bought other brands of gypsum may be used to a brown gritty material. If so, expect a pleasant surprise with MENINGIE GYPSUM because it is white, of high quality and very fine grained. We recommend application rates of 250 grams to one kilogram per square metre. Instructions are on the bag. See also Case study: Barrow & Bench Mitre 10.

flocculation experimentStorm water, coming off open ground, contains clay particles which cause turbidity. This water enters reservoirs or catchment dams and remains in a state of high turbidity. MENINGIE GYPSUM has the ability to flocculate these clay particles. Clay particles, treated with gypsum, increase in size and drop out of suspension, thus leading to clearer water. This has been demonstrated by an experiment whereby MENINGIE GYPSUM was applied to a clay suspension at rates ranging from 0.5gram/litre to 2gram/litre.

As a result of our experiments, a major highway construction company purchased MENINGIE GYPSUM in bulkabags. See Case study: The Hume Highway.

Australia’s greatest waterway, the Murray River, provides domestic water for the southeast of the country but, untreated, it contains a large amount of suspended clay. This situation has become worse in the last few decades as the introduced pest, European Carp Cyprinus carpio, stirs up fine clay from the river bed. One of our experiments showed that MENINGIE GYPSUM reduced the turbidity of Murray River water from 10% to 3% within 48 hours. Distilled water, with 0% turbidity, was used as the control.

Gypsum is used to dewater sewage sludge in Northern Hemisphere treatment plants. Our product, being of high quality and ultrafine grained, is ideal for this application. An experiment was conducted on sea water containing suspended clay rich soil. MENINGIE GYPSUM slightly increased the settling rate but, more importantly, it removed yellow staining from the water, believed to be caused by suspended or dissolved organic matter. This result presents opportunities in aquaculture. Contact us if you can see a use for MENINGIE GYPSUM in your storm water treatment, domestic water production, sewage sludge treatment or aquaculture.

Our gypsum, being naturally very fine grained, is an ideal absorbent. It has been marketed to garages and service stations for this purpose. Contact us if you require MENINGIE GYPSUM for absorbent purposes. See Case study: Absorbent.

All grain fed animals require a mineral supplement. For example sulfur is essential for protein synthesis and growth of rumen microbes. Pure gypsum, contains 18.6% sulfur, and is one of the minerals incorporated into stockfeed mixes. MENINGIE GYPSUM can be supplied to any stockfeed manufacturer in bulka bags and also pallets of 25kg bags. It is ideal due to its high purity but it is also low in quartz (free silica) content. Therefore it will not harm the teeth of sheep or cattle. Stockfeed suppliers please contact us for your stockfeed gypsum requirements.

Gypsum is the sole raw material required to make plaster. The specifications for plaster grade gypsum are stringent with restrictions on various impurities. MENINGIE GYPSUM is suitable for plaster manufacture after leaching. The company has made laboratory scale batches of plaster (stucco). Millions of tonnes of gypsum at Meningie are available for treatment.

plaster cast made with Meningie Gypsum
plaster cast made with Meningie Gypsum

Gypsum is an important component in cement manufacture. Cement contains around 5% to 7% gypsum which controls the setting time of concrete. We have large deposits of MENINGIE GYPSUM available for the cement industry.

High grade gypsum is used as a filler in plastics, paint, adhesives and tile grouts. Gypsum is also a component of certain types of glass. Food grade gypsum is used in tofu manufacture. There are pharmaceutical uses for high grade gypsum as well.

Meningie Gypsum stockpile