In previous trials, spading highly nutritious organic matter was one of the most successful treatments for sand amelioration at the PIRSA New Horizons trial site at Karoonda, and a Lowbank Agricultural Bureau trial found spading treatments were affordable with costs recoverable in short term.
Insight Extension for Agriculture; Chris McDonough.
Previous trials in the South Australian Mallee have shown that header rows can have yield and soil benefits, but these have not been confirmed at a paddock-scale.
Spading will be tested alongside windrow burning and spading with nutrition for three seasons at Lameroo.
This project is studying the practicality of spading header rows to control weeds and improve soil health.
The key challenges to be studied in the project are wind erosion, the risk of tying up nutrients in the decomposing straw, the impact of varying soil types, and the effect of spading over multiple years.
In the field
The project is trialling two soil types over a three-year period the Hayward family property at Lameroo on each phase of their crop rotation. Spading 4-metre-wide header rows will be compared full spreading of straw and narrow windrow burning, with a fourth strategy of adding nutrition to the spaded header rows.