This project is studying the value of spading header rows to control weeds and improve soil health, on a paddock scale. Trials are being conducted over three seasons at Lameroo on two soil types, comparing spading, spading with nutrition and windrow burning with a control.


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.


July 2017


March 2020

Project participants

Insight Extension for Agriculture; Chris McDonough.

The problem

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.

The research

Spading will be tested alongside windrow burning and spading with nutrition for three seasons at Lameroo.

More information

Chris McDonough
Insight Extension for Agriculture
0408 085 393
[email protected]

Research aims

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.

Read the June 2017 research article on this project: Digging into spading benefits