Managing soil moisture

Moisture for germination and growth is critical to crop performance. Many different strategies exist to conserve soil moisture pre and post sowing, including spraying and tillage.

Online Farm Trials contains 150 trials covering issues on managing moisture variability within paddock, crop rotations that optimise moisture availability in the sequence, impacts of break crops and summer crops for production and future crop gains and interactions between soil moisture and nitrogen conservation including timing of fertiliser application. There are 65 published trials for wheat, 16 for canola and 16 for barley linked to soil moisture conservations and use. There are also trials for lupins (6) and vetch (4).

For further information on soil moisture strategies, refer to the following case studies on low rainfall environments that consider summer weed control options to managing soil moisture:

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150 total results found Matching the current search filters and located within the visible map area.

144 results have a trial report available
72 results have source data available
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Aims:

  • To evaluate the effect of water rate using a medium spray quality on bromoxynil based herbicides under conditions where coverage is not optimal.
  • To evaluate the effect of coarse droplets.
  • To evaluate the effect on wild radish control at different water rates with MCPA in tank mixtures with Velocity.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Herbicide Type
Buntine, WA Sand to sandy loam
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

Growers and advisers have a better understanding of the benefits of deep ripping and in particular depth of deep ripping required to optimise crop yield & profit. They also better understand where the cost is worthwhile (rainfall zones, soil types) and very importantly how long the benefit lasts for in a CTF system.

Growers and adviser… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Soil Compaction Soil amelioration
Arrino, WA
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

  • To build an understanding of the current nitrogen use efficiency of four soil types in the Northern Agricultural Region of WA
  • To understand how efficiently applied nitrogen is used in the soil.
  • To educate growers and advisors on how to improve nitrogen use efficiency through a greater understanding of the soil water… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Fertiliser Application
Mingenew, WA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To assess the interaction between clay rate and incorporation methods to overcome soil water repellence and improve crop establishment and productivity.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Soil amelioration Rate
Bolgart, WA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding sources

Aims:

To determine if various farm management techniques improve the storage of out-of-season rainfall and whether this leads to improvements in crop growth and/or yield.

Crop type: Canola 1 trial Stubble Management
Buntine, WA Sandy loam
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To determine if various farm management techniques improve the storage of out-of-season rainfall and whether this leads to improvements in crop growth and/or yield.

Crop type: Barley 1 trial Stubble Management
East Wubin, WA Red loamy duplex
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To determine if various farm management techniques improve the storage of out-of-season rainfall and whether this leads to improvements in yield.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Stubble Management
East Wubin, WA Sand over gravel
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To determine if various farm management techniques improve the storage of out-of-season rainfall and whether this leads to improvements in crop growth and/or yield.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Crop Rotation Stubble Management
Buntine, WA Sandy loam
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To (i) improve the understanding of how soil moisture probes and Yield Prophet can be used to complement each other; (ii) increase the range of APSoil soil type selections in Yield Prophet by modifying existing soil types based on the probe data; (iii) provide growers with access to real-time soil moisture data and periodic Yield Prophet repor… read more

Crop type: Multiple 1 trial Soil Soil Type Variety Variety Type
Howick, WA
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To investigate how different summer crops influence soil moisture throughout their growing seasons and in the subsequent wheat crop

Crop type: Multiple 1 trial Crop Rotation Fertiliser Rate Sowing Rate
Pine Lodge, VIC Sandy clay loam
Research organisatons
Funding sources
Dookie Farms Trust <abbr title='National Water Commission'>NWC</abbr> <abbr title='The University of Melbourne'>UoM</abbr>

Aims:

To demonstrate the use of soil mapping and soil moisture sensors as data sources for variable rate irrigation and fertigation decisions, with the ultimate aim of reducing pumping and fertiliser costs, improving potato yields and quality and reducing the risk of nutrient enrichment of waterways and wetlands.

Crop type: Not specified 2 trials No treatment Soil
, WA Dandaragan, WA Deep sand Deep loamy earth
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

Managing crop growth and water use

Victor Sadras (SARDI) and Glenn McDonald (University of Adelaide)

Aims:

To manage the crop canopy and conserve the stored soil moisture so that it might be saved for grain-fill, rather than being used to create early crop growth.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Crop Crop Type
Hart, SA Calcarosol
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To investigate the long term effects of different approaches to sustainable farming, especially in relation to soil moisture and soil quality.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Crop Crop Type
Condowie, SA Calcarosol
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To investigate the long term effects of different approaches to sustainable farming, especially in relation to soil moisture and soil quality.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Crop Crop Type
, SA Calcarosol
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To investigate the long term effects of different approaches to sustainable farming, especially in relation to soil moisture and soil quality.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Crop Crop Type
, Calcarosol
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To investigate the effects of grazing livestock in no-till paddocks on soil structure, soil compaction and soil moisture, weed seed burial and carbon/nitrogen cycling in no-till farming systems.

Crop type: Barley 1 trial Grazing Rate
Quantong, VIC
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To investigate the effects of grazing livestock in no-till paddocks on soil structure, soil compaction and soil moisture, weed seed burial and carbon/nitrogen cycling in no-till farming systems.

Crop type: Barley 1 trial Grazing Rate
Hopetoun, VIC
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To investigate the effects of grazing livestock in no-till paddocks on soil structure, soil composition and soil moisture, weed seed burial and carbon/nitrogen cycling in no-till farming systems.

Crop type: Multiple 1 trial Grazing Stubble
Banyena, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding sources

Vetch termination: finding a compromise

De-Anne Ferrier (BCG), Laura Watson and Mark Peoples (CSIRO)

Aims:

To determine whether rhizobial inoculation of vetch enhances the amounts of N fixed. To evaluate the effect the timing of vetch termination has on inputs of fixed N, and on residual soil moisture and mineral N measured at the end of the 2012 growing season.

Crop type: Vetch 1 trial Harvest Timing Inoculant Type
Birchip, VIC
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

The use of all types of nitrogen fertiliser has increased in the last few years even in the lower rainfall districts as farmers have moved towards greater cropping intensity and become more confident in utilising stored soil moisture and nitrogen levels to predict grain yields. The greater use of nitrogen fertiliser brings both economic and envi… read more

Crop type: None 1 trial Fertiliser Type Fertiliser Rate
Booleroo Centre, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

To (i) ground truth through statistical analysis of small plot trials current practices of leading farmers in regards to the use of Variable Rate Technology (VRT), predictive yield modelling and nutrition modelling in improving water use efficiency and hence profitability; (ii) address the hypothesis that greater return on investment can be achi… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Fertiliser Application
Yarragadee, WA
Research organisaton
Funding source

Testing pre-emergence herbicide options for brome grass on Mallee sand

Sam Kleemann (University of Adelaide), Rick Llewellyn, Bill Davoren (CSIRO), Gurjeet Gill, Chris Preston (University of Adelaide) and Therese McBeath (CSIRO)

Aims:

The treatments applied on a non-wetting sand at the MSF Karoonda site were aimed at testing whether extra investment in alternative pre-emergent herbicide treatments can lead to better brome control under different notill seeding conditions. The trial used Kord wheat and compared: 1. Trifluralin (control) at standard local rate (1.5 L/ha); 2. Tr… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Herbicide Application
Karoonda, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To investigate the influence of rate, application timing and soil type of the activity of Lure H20 as a pre-sow soil wetting agent in the cropping phase.

Crop type: Wheat 3 trials Soil amelioration
Badgingarra, WA West Moora, WA Loamy gravel Deep yellow sand Sand over gravel
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding sources

Aims:

Long term assessment of water repellance amelioration techniques.

The experiment was established in 2009 as a long term trial to look at the following soil amelioration treatments on water repellent pale sand: no amendment (nil); 3t/ha limesand; and 150 t/ha clay rich (31% clay) subsoil spread with a multi-spreader. Across these amendm… read more

Crop type: Maize 1 trial Soil amelioration
Badgingarra, WA Pale deep sand
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding sources

Aims:

  • To maximise yield of new field pea varieties through the identification of optimum sowing dates.

Crop type: Field peas 1 trial Sowing Sowing Timing
Minnipa, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding sources

Aims:

  • To maximise yield of new field pea varieties through the identification of optimum sowing dates.

Crop type: Field peas 1 trial Stubble Stubble Management
Minnipa, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding sources

Aims:

To measure the role of water stored in the soil at sowing in affecting wheat yield.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Irrigation Rate Soil Type
West Wubin, WA Sandy loam
Research organisatons

Polymers

Simon Craig (BCG) and Andrew Makin (Integrated Packaging)

Aims:

To demonstrate if summer crops and wheat can be grown successfully when sown in winter and covered in biodegradable polymer films.

Crop type: Multiple 1 trial Crop Protection
Curyo, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton

Aims:

To discuss ‘tillage rotation’ as a way to rehabilitate compacted subsoil and increase yield and profit.

Crop type: Multiple 1 trial Soil Compaction
Birchip, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Early or delayed sowing for ryegrass control?

Sarah Noack and Peter Hooper (Hart Field Site Group), Chris Preston and Sam Kleemann (University of Adelaide)

Aims:

To investigate the effect of early or delayed sowing on reduction of ryegrass numbers in combination with different pre-emergent herbicides

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Herbicide Type Herbicide Rate Herbicide Application Sowing Timing
Hart, SA Calcarosol
Research organisaton
Funding source

Early or delayed sowing for improved ryegrass control?

Sarah Noack, Peter Hooper (Hart Field Site Group), Chris Preston and Sam Kleemann (Univeristy of Adelaide)

Aims:

To investigate the effect of early or delayed sowing on reduction of ryegrass numbers in combination with different preemergent herbicides.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Herbicide Herbicide Type Sowing Sowing Timing
Hart, SA
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To investigate the effect of early or delayed sowing on reduction of ryegrass numbers in combination with different preemergent herbicides.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Herbicide Herbicide Type Sowing Sowing Timing
Hart, SA
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

This trial was established in order to evaluate a range of current and soon to be released canola varieties at a single sowing time and under grower practice at Dandaragan, Western Australia.

Crop type: Canola 1 trial Variety Type
Dandaragan, WA Deep sand
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

Herbicide efficacy in retained stubble systems

Amanda Cook (SARDI), Andy Bates (Bates Agricultural Consulting), Wade Shepperd and Ian Richter (SARDI)

Aims:

The GRDC project ‘Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble - upper Eyre Peninsula’ aims to improve farm profitability while retaining stubble in farming systems on upper Eyre Peninsula (EP). Weed control in stubble retained systems can be compromised when stubbles and organic residues intercept the herbicide and prevent i… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Herbicide Type Herbicide Rate Stubble Management
Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

This trial was established in order to evaluate a range of current and soon to be released wheat varieties at a single sowing time and under growing conditions in Dandaragan, Western Australia.

Crop type: Wheat 2 trials Variety Type
Dandaragan, WA Loamy sand
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

The GRDC project ‘Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble - upper Eyre Peninsula’ aims to produce sustainable management guidelines to control pests, weeds and diseases while retaining stubble to maintain or improve soil health, and reduce exposure to wind erosion. The major outcome to be achieved is increased knowledge … read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Sowing Rate Sowing Timing Sowing Method
Murlong, SA Non-wetting sand
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

To investigate the impact of summer cropping on subsequent winter crop (wheat yield). To dtermine nitrogen (N) response of wheat following summer crops.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Crop Rotation Fertiliser Rate
Pine Lodge, VIC Sandy clay loam
Research organisatons
Funding sources
Dookie Farms Trust <abbr title='National Water Commission'>NWC</abbr> <abbr title='The University of Melbourne'>UoM</abbr>

Wider rows for larger cereal grain in low rainfall

Paul Blackwell (Department of Agriculture) and Mike Kerkmans (Marlingu Farms)

Aims:

To develop systems to protect grain quality and yield in a low rainfall area. Trying wider rows to conserve moisture instead of fallow.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Soil Type Sowing Row spacing
Pindar, WA Various
Research organisaton

Aims:

To compare five control practices to determine the best weed management strategy for summer months on this particular soil type.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Stubble Management
Narraport, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton

Aims:

To compare and showcase the broad range of strategic tillage options for amelioration of yellow sandplain soils and to assess their effectiveness at overcoming a range of soil constraints including non-wetting soil surface, compaction and subsoil acidity and increasing crop productivity.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Soil Soil Preparation
Goomalling, WA
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

  • To maximise yield of new field pea varieties through the identification of optimum sowing dates,
    and to confirm yield advantages from previously identified best practice blackspot management
    strategies

Crop type: Field peas 1 trial Sowing Sowing Timing
Hart, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding sources

Aims:

To determine which summer weed control method is most efficient and economical.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Herbicide Type
Watchupga East, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton

Aims:

Growers and advisers have a better understanding of the benefits of deep ripping and in particular depth of deep ripping required to optimise crop yield & profit. They also better understand where the cost is worthwhile (rainfall zones, soil types) and very importantly how long the benefit lasts for in a CTF system.

Growers and adviser… read more

Crop type: Canola 5 trials Soil Compaction Soil amelioration
Arrino, WA Mullewa, WA Ogilvie, WA Walkaway, WA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

For a sub-tropical grass established in the Mallee environment, to assess the pattern and reliability of growth and its potential as a fodder source using simulation models.

Hopetoun, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton

Aims:

To monitor moisture retention and nitrogen accumulation under cultivated and chemical fallow regimes.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Soil Preparation
Birchip, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton

Aims:

To determine how post-grazing nitrogen application rates and post flowering rainfall affect the recovery of Mace and Trojan grain wheat crops after grazing.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Grazing Timing
Berriwillock, VIC Sandy clay loam
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To determine how post-grazing nitrogen application rates and post flowering rainfall affect the recovery of Mace and Trojan grain wheat crops after grazing.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Grazing Timing
Berriwillock, VIC Sandy clay loam
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

  • To compare and identify optimum sowing times of 6 field pea varieties to maximise grain yield and agronomic performance.
  • To investigate whether field pea production in low rainfall areas is improved through stubble management in terms of grain yield, disease infection or harvestability.

Crop type: Field peas 1 trial Sowing Sowing Timing Stubble Stubble Management
Minnipa, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding sources

Aims:

To compare and evaluate the yield effect from cultivation, before seeding versus a full cut system in a wheat crop.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Soil amelioration Timing
east Buntine, ACT Sand over gravel
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons

Aims:

To observe effect on lentil growth and vigour of various herbicides

Crop type: Lentils 1 trial Herbicide Type Herbicide Timing
Port Broughton, SA Brown sandy loam over clay
Research organisatons
Funding source
Northern Sustainable Soils AgByte