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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Improving water use efficiency – reducing soil evaporation

Chris Lawson, Victor Sadras (SARDI) and Glenn McDonald (University of Adelaide)

Aims:

To use a thick layer of cereal straw maintained within the growing season to focus on reducing the amount of moisture lost to soil evaporation. 

Crop type: Wheat 4 trials Crop Crop Type Crop Rotation
, , SA Condowie, SA Hart, SA
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

To use a thick layer of cereal straw maintained within the growing season to focus on reducing the amount of moisture lost to soil evaporation.

Crop type: Wheat 4 trials Crop
, , SA Condowie, SA Hart, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Spring water use trial

Colin Hacking, Wes Arnott, Scott Chirnside (SFS), Bruce Wightman, Renick Peries (NRE) Robert White, Robert Edis and Gary Clark (Melb Uni)

Aims:

To identify whether deep ripping and other soil treatments will result in an increase in spring water use by crops and therefore increased yields and improved grain quality. 

Crop type: Barley 1 trial Soil Preparation Soil amelioration Type Sowing Method
Cressy, VIC
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To evaluate the effect of two triazine tolerant varieties, sown at three different seeding rates and three different depths has on emergence and yield at Minnipa Agricultural Centre and at Piednippie. 

Crop type: Canola 2 trials Sowing Rate Sowing Method Variety Type
Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA Piednippie, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To maximise canola productivity through creating soil specific management strategies that improve canola yields, profitability and establishment in field trials on Eyre Peninsula.

In 2015, seven separate trials were conducted as part of this project at Minnipa Agriculture Centre and Piednippie on upper Eyre Peninsula. Three trials will… read more

Crop type: Canola 2 trials Sowing Rate Sowing Timing Sowing Method Variety Type
Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA Piednippie, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To compare grain yields of early sown wheat with grazed (cut) wheat sown at the same time and that sown at a more traditional time, May. A further aim was to compare a commercial plant density for dual purpose and grain‐only production with reduced rates comparable to that used for early sowing in the UK.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Grazing Regime Sowing Rate Sowing Timing
Epping Forest, TAS
Research organisaton

Aims:

To evaluate the performance of perennial grass and crops (Barley in 2013) when pasture cropped over different perennial species established on deep pale sands.

Crop type: Barley 1 trial Sowing
Moora, WA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

To establish if the current wheat yield could reach potential yield by extra N fertilisation and to identify potential constraints of 8 Satellite Sites throughout the Liebe area

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Fertiliser Type Fertiliser Rate Fertiliser Timing
East Maya, WA
Research organisaton
Funding source

Herbicide control of summer weeds

David Scholz (Elders Ltd) and Clare Johnston (Liebe Group)

Aims:

To evaluate the economic benefit and effectiveness of different herbicide treatments on mixture of summer grassses and melons.

Crop type: No crop specified 1 trial Herbicide Type Herbicide Rate
Kalannie, WA
Research organisaton

Aims:

To investigate the potential of biological and organic matter inputs to increase soil water storage, target long-term yield increases and soil health and structure improvements.

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

Conserving moisture during summer

Claire Browne (BCG), James Hunt and Therese McBeath (CSIRO)

Aims:

To quantify how paddock stubble load and weed burden during summer can affect available soil water, nutrients and subsequent crop yield.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Stubble Management
Hopetoun, VIC
Research organisaton
Funding source

Conserving moisture during summer

Claire Browne (BCG), James Hunt, Anthony Whitbread and Damian Mowat (CSIRO)

Aims:

To quantify how paddock stubble load and weed burden during summer can affect available soil water, nutrients and subsequent crop yield.

Crop type: Canola 1 trial Soil Preparation Stubble Management
Hopetoun, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton

Conserving moisture during summer

Claire Browne (BCG), James Hunt (CSIRO) and Michael Walsh (BCG and UoM)

Aims:

To quantify how paddock stubble load and weed burden during summer can affect soil water, nutrients and subsequent crop yield.

Crop type: Barley 12 trials Stubble
Charlton, VIC Hopetoun, VIC Kerang, VIC Longerenong, VIC Swan Hill, VIC Walpeup, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To demonstrate the tolerance of new and existing wheat varieties on acid soils.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Variety Type
Kalannie, WA
Research organisatons

Aims:

To conduct an evaluation of the ability of wheat varieties to tolerate acid/aluminum.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Variety Type
Xantippe, WA
Research organisaton

Aims:

To quantify the effect of paddock stubble management and weed burden during the summer fallow on crop available soil water, nutrients and yield.

Crop type: Lentils 1 trial Soil Type Stubble Management
Hopetoun, VIC
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To assess the effects of physical, chemical and biological soil manipulation (or inputs) on soil organic carbon in relation to changes in long term crop yields and quality.

Crop type: Barley 1 trial Fertiliser Application Soil Preparation Soil amelioration Type Soil amelioration Application
Buntine, WA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding sources

Aims:

To determine whether maintaining stubble cover in low rainfall environments increases summer moisture conservation, and, to establish the minimum stubble quantity or threshold necessary to ensure maximum moisture conservation over the summer.

Crop type: Oats 1 trial Stubble Management
Jil JIl, VIC
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 source

Aims:

To test if no-till crops grown on clay soils in the low rainfall, southern Mallee environment would yield better if more straw could be retained on the soil surface from the previous crop.

Crop type: Wheat,Fallow,Barley 3 trials Crop Protection Stubble
Jil JIl, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To demonstrate more efficient deep ripping of a dry compact sandy soil and to assess any benefits of improved rain infiltration and crop yield.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Soil amelioration Application
east Buntine, ACT
Research organisatons

Adopting profitable crop sequences in the South Australian Mallee

Michael Moodie, Todd McDonald (MSF), Nigel Wilhelm (SARDI) and Ray Correll (Rho Environmetrics)

Aims:

  • Trials were implemented to compare break crop productivity and profitability on major soil types in the northern South Australian Mallee. This information will help farmers in the region to select the most appropriate break crop for their farming system.

Loxton, SA Waikerie, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To determine the best nitrogen and sulphur strategy for wheat grown on sandy soils in the Mallee with a full profile of moisture and a forecast El Nino.

Crop type: No crop specified 1 trial Fertiliser Type Stubble Management
Kooloonong, VIC
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To evaluate the performance of Dividend seed treatment and to determine its efficacy in controlling the soil borne root rotting disease
Pythium in wheat as well as other potential seed borne and seedling diseases.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Fungicide Type Fungicide Rate
Lake Bolac, VIC
Research organisaton

Aims:

  1. To refine canola establishment methods for early sowing.
  2. To see if it is possible to chase moisture at depth with canola.

Crop type: Canola 1 trial Crop
Strawberry, WA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

  1. To refine canola establishment methods for early sowing.
  2. To see if it is possible to chase moisture at depth with canola.

Crop type: Canola 1 trial Crop
Eradu, WA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To evaluate a range of seeding modifications or additions with the aim of improving crop establishment and yield on water repellent sandplain soil.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Soil amelioration
Badgingarra, WA
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: Barley 1 trial Sowing Rate Sowing Method
Lock, SA
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

To satisfy the questions of local farmers.

  • Can you sustainably continuously crop this land?
  • Will we get herbicide resistant weeds with continuous cropping?
  • Which crop rotations are the most profitable?
  • What is happening to nitrogen in the rotations?
  • What impact does continuous croppi… read more
Weethalle, NSW
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

The aim of this project (SAGIT S914) was to:

  • Provide a genuine legume break crop option for cereal and mixed farmers in the marginal cropping areas of South Australia. Focusing on Western Eyre Peninsula, the Upper North and the Murray lands/Mallee.
  • Trial advanced common vetch lines with specific targeted traits in re… read more
Crop type: Vetch 2 trials Variety Type
Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA Piednippie, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

To develop high water-use farming systems that integrate crops with perennial pastures.

Condobolin, NSW
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton

Aims:

To investigate the benefits of speciality phosphorus products and liquid phosphorus options in cereals. 

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Fertiliser Type Fertiliser Rate Fertiliser Timing
Mininera, VIC
Research organisaton

Aims:

To investigate the response of wheat to different rates of applied P and N.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Fertiliser Rate
Regans Ford, WA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons
Funding source

Aims:

To compare the economic and agronomic response between the paddock rotations of wheat on wheat, wheat on late pasture topping and wheat on chemical fallow. This investigation aims to identify winter fallowing as a low-risk rotational strategy for low rainfall cropping systems in the North and Eastern Wheatbelt region of Western Australia.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Crop Rotation
East Dalwallinu, WA
Research organisaton

Aims:

To demonstrate the ideal depth for optimum canola establishment in local conditions.

Crop type: Canola 3 trials Sowing Method
Birchip, VIC Charlton, VIC Sea Lake, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton

Aims:

To investigate whether plant growth affected by sodic subsoils.

Condobolin, NSW Forbes, NSW Parkes, NSW Tottenham, NSW
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton

Aims:

To evaluate the performance of crops (Lupin in 2012) when pasture cropped over different perennial species established on deep pale sands.

Crop type: Lupins 1 trial Crop Type
Moora, WA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To compare the efficacy and crop safety of different herbicide options for control of grasses in barley.

Crop type: Barley 1 trial Herbicide Herbicide Type
Wongan Hills, WA
Research organisaton

Aims:

This was the second year of a three-year trial, funded by the South Australian Grains Industry Trust (SAGIT), to evaluate the nitrogen fixation capabilities of various legume species commonly grown on Kangaroo Island.

In this second year, the trial was set up to answer the following questions:

Crop type: Clover,Pea,Canola,Linseed,Faba beans,Lupins 12 trials Crop Rotation Variety Type
Seddon, SA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding sources

Aims:

To evaluate the performance of crops (barley in 2009) when pasture cropped over different perennial species established on deep pale sands.

Crop type: Barley 1 trial Crop Type Crop Rotation Fertiliser Rate Sowing Row spacing
Dandaragan, WA
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To shed some light on why cereals yielded so much better compared with pulse crops and canola in the southern Mallee in 2001.

Birchip, VIC
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton

Aims:

The demonstration undertaken at four on-farm sites seeks to test the Yield Prophet tool to determine its relevance and usefulness to growers of the West Midlands region in determining the most efficient and effective nitrogen strategy.

Crop type: Wheat 3 trials Fertiliser
Badgingarra, WA West Moora, WA
Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

Demonstrate best practice phalaris establishment and management at the PPS/EverGraze site at Mooneys Gap which should provide information to producers to give them confidence to increase phalaris use.

Crop type: Mixed species 4 trials Crop Crop Type
Mooney's Gap, VIC
Research organisaton
Funding sources

Impact of vetch 'end-use' on the following wheat crop

De-Anne Ferrier (BCG), Harm van Rees (CropFacts), Laura Watson and Mark Peoples (CSIRO)

Aims:

To compare soil moisture, soil nitrogen and profitability of five different vetch end-use treatments from 2012, sown to wheat in 2013.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Soil amelioration Rate
Birchip, VIC
Trial Report Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To (i) identify gaps in soil descriptions for the Esperance and Albany Zones (this project will assist growers to make better informed decisions when it comes to addressing their soil constraints and crop management decisions); and (ii) upskill growers and industry on the tools and models available to them and how to interpret the data generated… read more

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Soil Soil Type
Nyabing, WA
Trial Report Unavailable Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To demonstrate differences between sprayed and unsprayed plots from December 2012 to February 2013 for RCSN Kwinana East Port Zone trial locations.

Crop type: No crop specified 1 trial Herbicide Application
Merredin, WA
Trial Report Unavailable Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton
Funding source

Aims:

To determine the critical concentration of zinc for plant growth in chickpea shoots

Crop type: Chickpeas 1 trial Fertiliser Rate
University of Adelaide , SA
Trial Report Unavailable Source Data Unavailable
Research organisatons

Aims:

Manganese concentrations in soil and wheat crops were monitored over time in the field.

Crop type: Wheat 1 trial Fertiliser
Rutherglen, VIC
Trial Report Unavailable Source Data Unavailable
Research organisaton