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

194 results have a trial report available
78 results have source data available
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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 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. These results should also be relevant to other low rainfall Mal… read more

Crop type: Medic 1 trial Fertiliser Rate Herbicide Type Herbicide Timing
Piednippie, SA
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. These results should also be relevant to other low rainfall Mal… read more

Crop type: Medic 1 trial Fertiliser Type Herbicide Type Herbicide Timing
Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA
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. These results should also be relevant to other low rainfall Mal… read more

Crop type: Medic 1 trial Fertiliser Type Herbicide Type Herbicide Timing
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: Multiple 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
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
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: No crop specified 1 trial No treatment Soil
Gingin, WA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

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 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:

This research has developed 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.

 

The upper Eyre Peninsula (UEP) is a challenging environment for growers, due to the Mediterranean-type of climate, where irregular an… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Fertiliser Type Fertiliser Rate
Nunjikompita - Howard, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

This research has developed 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.

 

The upper Eyre Peninsula (UEP) is a challenging environment for growers, due to the Mediterranean-type of climate, where irregular an… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Fertiliser Type Fertiliser Rate
Piednippie - Montgomerie, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

This research has developed 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.

 

The upper Eyre Peninsula (UEP) is a challenging environment for growers, due to the Mediterranean-type of climate, where irregular an… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Variety Type
Cummins - Green, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

This research has developed 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.

 

The upper Eyre Peninsula (UEP) is a challenging environment for growers, due to the Mediterranean-type of climate, where irregular an… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Variety Type
Lock - Burrows 2018, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

This research has developed 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.

 

The upper Eyre Peninsula (UEP) is a challenging environment for growers, due to the Mediterranean-type of climate, where irregular an… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Variety Type
MAC N10, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
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

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

Improving crop establishment in a non-wetting sand with soil wetting agents

Jack Desbiolles (University of SA), Lynne Macdonald (CSIRO), David Davenport (Rural Solutions SA), Mel Fraser (Rural Solutions SA), Nigel Wilhelm (SARDI), Brett Masters (Rural Solutions SA)

Aims:

Previous work on Eyre Peninsula at Wharminda (Wilhelm, unpublished data) investigated the impact of two soil wetter chemistries applied within the seed row on crop establishment and grain yield. This work showed that both wetting agents increased cereal crop establishment in most trials over three years, but this rarely translated into grain yie… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Soil amelioration Type Soil amelioration Rate Soil amelioration Application Soil amelioration Timing
Murlong, 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 2 trials Fertiliser Application
Allanooka, WA Yarragadee, WA
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

On the upper Eyre Peninsula (UEP), calcareous soils constitute a high proportion (more than 1 million hectares) of soils used for agricultural production (Bertrand et al. 2003). The website ‘Yield Gap Australia’ (http://yieldgapaustralia.com.au/maps/) identifies that the average grain yield on western Eyre Peninsula (WEP) and UEP is… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Fertiliser Type Fertiliser Rate Fertiliser Application
Nunjikompita - Howard, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

On the upper Eyre Peninsula (UEP), calcareous soils constitute a high proportion (more than 1 million hectares) of soils used for agricultural production (Bertrand et al. 2003). The website ‘Yield Gap Australia’ (http://yieldgapaustralia.com.au/maps/) identifies that the average grain yield on western Eyre Peninsula (WEP) and UEP is… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Fertiliser Type Fertiliser Rate Fertiliser Application
Piednippie - Montgomerie, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
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: Multiple 1 trial 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.

Crop type: Multiple 1 trial Crop Protection
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:

This trial was established in order to evaluate a range of current and soon to be released barley varieties at a single sowing time and under growing conditions in Eneabba, WA.

Crop type: Barley 1 trial Variety
Eneabba, WA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

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
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:

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 1 trial Stubble
,
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source