ON THE LAND Bet­ter stub­ble man­age­ment

The Free Press (Corowa) - - LOCALREALESTATE -

Man­ag­ing the stub­ble left over from ce­real crops is a peren­nial prob­lem for grain grow­ers in the River­ine Plains re­gion.

While stub­ble loads in 2018 are gen­er­ally much lighter than usual due to the im­pact of the dry con­di­tions and the sal­vaging of frost dam­aged crops, stub­ble man­age­ment re­mains an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion head­ing in to next sea­son.

“Farm­ers know that stub­ble re­ten­tion has many ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing rain­fall cap­ture and stor­age over the sum­mer fal­low, pro­tec­tion from wind and water ero­sion and the im­prove­ment of soil struc­ture,” ex­plained River­ine Plains Inc Re­search and Ex­ten­sion Of­fi­cer, Dr Cas­san­dra Schefe.

“But on the other hand, high stub­ble loads can also in­crease the fre­quency of block­ages at sow­ing, af­fect es­tab­lish­ment and in­crease dis­ease car­ry­over be­tween crops,” she said.

“For this rea­son, River­ine Plains Inc un­der­took a sig­nif­i­cant amount of re­search into the ef­fec­tive­ness of stub­ble man­age­ment tech­niques as part of the GRDC in­vest­ment Main­tain­ing Prof­itable Farm­ing Sys­tems in the River­ine Plains project,” said Cas­san­dra

The project, which ran from 2013-2018, de­liv­ered a num­ber of key find­ings, in­clud­ing that no-till stub­ble re­tained sys­tems gen­er­ally yielded as well, or bet­ter, than stub­ble man­age­ment sys­tems which in­volved burn­ing, cul­ti­va­tion or ad­di­tional ni­tro­gen at sow­ing with cul­ti­va­tion, ex­cept where stub­ble loads were ex­tremely high at some lo­ca­tion (as in 2016).

To sup­port the out­comes of the project, River­ine Plains Inc has de­vel­oped a se­ries of stub­ble man­age­ment guide­lines specif­i­cally for grain grow­ers.

The guide­lines cover top­ics such as how to man­age stub­ble at har­vest, tech­niques for suc­cess­fully sow­ing into stub­ble, the strate­gic man­age­ment of crops grown in stub­ble-re­tained sys­tems, as well as the im­pacts of stub­ble on soil car­bon.

The guide­lines also re­fer to re­sults of the tri­als un­der­taken through­out the life of the project, which makes them es­pe­cially rel­e­vant for farm­ers in the River­ine Plains re­gion.

“In terms of stub­ble man­age­ment, we of­ten talk about the need for sow­ing preparation to start at har­vest time, so now def­i­nitely is a good time to be ac­cess­ing these Guide­lines in preparation for 2019,” added Cas­san­dra.

The guide­lines are avail­able for down­load from www.river­ine­plains.org.au. A lim­ited num­ber of hard­copies are avail­able by re­quest from the River­ine Plains Inc of­fice by phon­ing 03 5744 1713 or email­ing [email protected]­ine­plains. org.au

River­ine Plains Inc ac­knowl­edges the sup­port of the GRDC and our project part­ner FAR Aus­tralia in de­liv­er­ing this project and the re­sult­ing stub­ble man­age­ment guide­lines.

Faba beans grow­ing in ce­real stub­ble.

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