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

143 results have a trial report available
69 results have export data available
87 trials are CC BY 4.0
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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 6 trials Crop Crop Type
,
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 7 trials Crop Crop Type
Condowie, SA
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