Wait for rainfall goes on
WELL, we are still waiting for our winter planting rain and none of us would complain much if it rained steadily for a week.
So writing about crops and weeds is fairly tough when many of us have none and the care factor about non-existent weeds in very dry and blueish cereal fodder or grain crops is fairly low. However I would like to talk about soil and, in particular, your soil.
We drive heavy machinery on top of them and at times put mechanical implements through the upper soil layer, we remove the grain all the time and the stubble at times as well.
Admittedly mostly we are on controlled wheel tracking these days and zero or minimum till has really improved our soil structure, along with increasing the water infiltration and moisture holding capacity.
We still expect them to produce future crops just by mostly adding urea or anhydrous ammonia and some starter phosphorous products.
Weed control has really assumed a large portion of our time now with herbicide resistance so prevalent, so soils and soil health/structure gets left behind.
I realise controlling or changing these soil structure destroying aspects in large farming operations is difficult, however some small or large adjustments to your farming practice may well have a very positive effect on your crop yields.
Soils are made up of mineral particles, organic matter, water or better explained, the soil solution and then air, which all plants need and subsequently fills the particle spaces not filled with water.
A very old product that used to be cheap and very available out of the fertiliser works in Brisbane is gypsum or rightly described in this old manufactured process as phosphogypsum.
There are also recycled products from Redbank Plains made out of reclaimed or recycled old gyprock or plaster walls.
I have observed this cheaper product being used and while the even spreading of the small chunky bits of plasterboard is a bit haphazard, it certainly does work the exact way all these calcium and sulphur gypsum type products work in our less than ideal soils.
However it is a type of salt and therefore your EC (electrical conductivity) levels need assessment of your soil salt levels, before automatically assuming gypsum will cure all your soil structure problems.
Some simple paddock knowledge like big surface crusting characteristics, hardness in the top soil area for ease of cultivation, poor moisture infiltration and/or eventual moisture storage and finally some decent and reliable seed germination and seedling emergences, can all lead to an assumption that gypsum will be good for your soil.
A comprehensive soil test can also give you clear indications of whether a gypsum application would be useful.
The one I take most notice of is exchangeable sodium percentage in alkaline soils.
Consider your soil environment while we wait patiently for rain to plant our still intended big winter crop.
WAITING GAME: Growers are still desperate for winter rain to kickstart the planting of their winter crops.