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 that include: 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 conservation 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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147 total results found Matching the current search filters and located within the visible map area.

142 results have a trial report available
69 results have source data available
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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 3 trials Soil Soil Preparation
Goomalling, WA
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To determine the impact of grazing on soil condition and weed populations.  This report is on findings after two years of grazing. 

Crop type: Wheat,Barley,Canola 4 trials Grazing Regime Grazing Timing
Inverleigh, VIC Lake Bolac, VIC Werneth, VIC
Research organisaton
Funding sources

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 4 trials Fertiliser Application
Mingenew, WA Morawa, WA Ogilvie, WA Tenindewa, WA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

The broad aim of this 3 year SAGIT funded project was to investigate if current management tools for medic based pastures, such as herbicides, fertilisers and rhizobial inoculants, are affecting N fixation by medic pastures under field conditions typical of the upper Eyre Peninsula.

Crop type: Medic 3 trials Fertiliser Rate Herbicide Type Herbicide Timing
Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA Piednippie, SA Pingbong, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To investigate the performance of soil moisture retention granules on wheat grain yield.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Crop
Hart, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton

Aims:

To investigate the performance of soil moisture retention granules and seed coatings on wheat grain yield. 

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Crop
Hart, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton

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
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
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
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
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: Wheat 13 trials Soil Soil Type Variety Variety Type
Beacon, WA Bindi Bindi, WA Bonnie Rock, WA Coomberdale, WA Dowerin, WA Howick, WA Jerramungup, WA Lake Grace, WA Merredin, WA Ravensthorpe, WA Southern Cross, WA Warradarge, WA Yealering, WA
Source Data Unavailable
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: Millet,Safflower,Mung beans 3 trials Crop Rotation Fertiliser Rate Sowing Rate
Pine Lodge, VIC
Research organisatons
Funding sources
Dookie Farms Trust <abbr title='National Water Commission'>NWC</abbr> <abbr title='The University of Melbourne'>UoM</abbr>

Aims:

To measure the interaction between stubble management and soil moisture on:

  1. the retention of soil water accumulated outside the growing season, and
  2. the value of stored water to crop physiological traits and yield.
Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Stubble
Hart, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
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
Research organisaton
Funding source

Managing crop growth and water use

Chris Lawson, Victor Sadras (SARDI) and Glenn McDonald (UoA)

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: Barley,Wheat 2 trials Crop
Hart, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To develop predictive formulas that can be used by growers to estimate in-season soil moisture at different depths and crop nutrient content from proximal sensing (PS) data.

Crop type: Wheat 6 trials Variety Type
Cummins, SA Lock, SA Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA Nunjikompita, SA Piednippie, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
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: Barley,Wheat 7 trials Crop Crop Type
Condowie, SA
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: Barley,Wheat 7 trials Crop Crop Type
, SA
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: Barley,Wheat 6 trials Crop Crop Type
,
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 2 trials Grazing Rate
Hopetoun, VIC Quantong, 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: Wheat,Barley 4 trials Grazing Stubble
Banyena, VIC Ultima, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Lucerne in the crop rotation

David Watson (Agvise), Simon Falkiner (Falkiner Ag) and Cam Nicholson (Nicon Rural Services)

Aims:

To answer some key questions about lucerne in the crop rotation:

  • What is the impact of the lucerne phase on subsequent crops regarding yield, quality, soil moisture and nitrogen?
  • What is the best time to remove lucerne - spring or autumn?
  • What is the best method of removing lucerne?
  • What is the … read more
Crop type: Lucerne 1 trial Crop Crop Rotation Grazing Grazing Regime
Inverleigh, VIC
Research organisaton

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

In-paddock variability — a snapshot and lessons learnt

Dr Cassandra Schefe, Cameron Grant, Peter Dahlhaus, Nathan Robinson, Ryan Walker, Les Janik, Dean Jones, Ben Fleay.

Aims:

The aims of the PA component of the GRDC Stubble project were to:

• deliver a pilot project to understand how soil parameters, including PAW, vary across a paddock and understand
whether current PA datasets can correlate with PAW

• connect variations in soil moisture with nitrogen supply

• demonstrate t… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Crop
Yarrawonga, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

  • To determine the interaction of nitrogen timing and dose with plant population in terms of yield, crop structure, predisposition to lodging and quality in the high rainfall zone.
  • To determine the influence of nitrogen applied at stem elongation versus up front nitrogen on soil moisture content and dry matter production
  • <… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Fertiliser Rate Fertiliser Timing Sowing Rate
Inverleigh, VIC
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

  • To determine the interaction of nitrogen timing and dose with plant population in terms of yield, crop structure, predisposition to lodging and quality in the high rainfall zone.
  • To determine the influence of nitrogen applied at stem elongation versus up front nitrogen on soil moisture content and dry matter production.
  • read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Fertiliser Rate Fertiliser Timing Sowing Rate
Inverleigh, VIC
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

  • To determine the interaction of nitrogen timing and dose with plant population in terms of yield, crop structure, predisposition to lodging and quality in the high rainfall zone.
  • To determine the influence of nitrogen applied at stem elongation versus up front nitrogen on soil moisture content and dry matter production.
  • read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Fertiliser Fertiliser Rate Fertiliser Timing Sowing Sowing Rate
Inverleigh, VIC
Research organisaton
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 2 trials Fertiliser Application
Allanooka, WA Yarragadee, WA
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To examine the impact of crown rot on yield and grain quality in 22 barley, six durum and 34 bread wheat entries across two sowing times at Tamworth in northern NSW in 2014. 

Crown rot, caused predominantly by the fungus Fusarium pseudograminearum (Fp), is a major constraint to winter cereal (wheat, barley and durum) production in th… read more

Crop type: Barley,Wheat 2 trials Crop Inoculant Variety Variety Type
Tamworth Agricultural Institute, NSW
Research organisaton
Funding sources

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 Dandaragan, WA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

To compare the tolerance of legume and canola varieties to a range of herbicides and timings.

Hart, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton

Aims:

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

Aims:

To compare the tolerance of legumes and canola varieties to a range of herbicides and timings.

Research organisaton

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
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.

Curyo, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton

Aims:

  • To compare the impact of four different management strategies on production, profitability and sustainability at the Minnipa Agricultural Centre.

Crop type: Barley 1 trial Crop Type Grazing
Minnipa, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding sources

Aims:

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

Birchip, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

This experiment reports the effect of three sowing dates on the timing of anthesis, grain yield and grain quality parameters for a range of commercially available and advanced bread wheat and durum varieties.

The combination of phenology and sowing date (SD) determines the probable timing of environmental stresses (frost and heat stres… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Sowing Sowing Timing Variety Variety Type
Tamworth Agricultural Institute, NSW
Research organisaton
Funding sources

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
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 measure the interaction between stubble management, frequency of rainfall events and fertiliser nitrogen on:

  • the retention of soil water accumulated outside the growing season.
  • the value of stored water to crop physiological traits and yield.
Crop type: Wheat 3 trials Stubble
, , SA Hart, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
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:

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
Research organisatons
Funding source

Impact of summer cropping on subsequent wheat crops

Charlotte Aves, Kithsiri Dassanayake and David Cook (UoM and Riverine Plains)

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
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
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 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 provide growers and advisers with a better understanding of the benefits of deep ripping and in particular depth of deep ripping required to optimise crop yield and profit.

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