Tags

So far lentils, field peas and vetch have proven to be the most productive crop options, with the quickest maturity, good yields and solid returns, though there were considerable variations in results between soil types.

BACKGROUND

Very little information has been available to support break crop selection, and Mallee growers are looking to increase the proportion and diversity of broadleaf crops in their paddock rotations.

Start:

April 2015

Finish:

June 2018

Project participants

Mallee Sustainable Farming: Michael Moodie

The problem

Very little information was available to support break crop selection, and Mallee growers are looking to increase the proportion and diversity of broadleaf crops in their paddock rotations.

The research

Trial sites were established in 2015 on contrasting soil types within a paddock at Loxton and Waikerie.

More information

Michael Moodie
Mallee Sustainable Farming
03 5024 5835
[email protected]

Research aims

The three-year project aims to provide a cache of information for growers to successfully diversify into legume break crops in low-rainfall areas.

In the field

Trial sites were established in 2015 on contrasting soil types within a paddock at Loxton and Waikerie.

These sites represent the range of soil types that farmers manage in the northern SA Mallee, and include sands, sandy loams, red loams and shallow limestone soils.

Crops were sown in April (Loxton) and May (Waikerie) in 2015. All plots received 100kg/ha of single superphosphate banded below the seed and legumes were inoculated just before seeding with specific Rhizobian strain using a peat inoculant. Pre-emergence herbicide packages and rates were specific for each treatment and soil type.

 

Crop performance was assessed by measuring peak crop biomass and grain yield and harvesting took place in late October to mid-November to ensure that grain yield was measured soon after crops matured.

Gross margins were calculated for each treatment using the Gross Margin Guide, with January 2016 grain prices used to undertake the economic analysis. This was replicated the following year.

In 2016 the sites were sown soon after the break, Loxton on May 27 and Waikerie three days later. With extremely kind spring conditions, abundant moisture and a cool finish, grain yields across all crops were exceptional.

Read the December 2017 Research Article on this project: Break crops provide profitable options for Mallee farmers