Agronomic strategies for water repellent soils in WA - mouldboard ploughing

CC BY 4.0

Research organisaton
Funding source

Trial details

Researcher(s) Sheree Blechynden (DAFWA)
Stephen Davies (DAFWA)
Sarah Hyde (Facey Group)
Year(s) 2014
Contributor Facey Group
Trial location(s) Wickepin, WA
Agronomic strategies for water repellent soils in WA - mouldboard ploughing locations

To provide a demonstration site to observe the effects of mouldboard ploughing vs. no cultivation on non-wetting soils and crop growth and yield.

Key messages
  • This large scale on-farm demonstration has shown how soil inversion with a mouldboard plough can provide wheat yield benefits on sandplain soil.
  • The mouldboard ploughing reduced the soil water repellence by about a third, but moderate repellence was still present. In this trial frost affected the mouldboard plough treated area more than the untreated area which is opposite to what some growers have reported who felt that crops on mouldboard ploughed soil were less affected by frost.
  • Soil type, soil moisture, crop biomass and timing of the frost event may have had an impact in 2014.
  • Short-term grain yield responses to cultivation on sandplain soils are typical and the potential benefits need to be studied for several more seasons before the value of the practice can be properly assessed.
  • Other deep soil cultivation practices, such as deep ripping, can also give wheat yield responses in the first year.
Lead research organisation N/A
Host research organisation Facey Group
Trial funding source GRDC DAW00204
Related program N/A

Thanks to Graeme Manton for hosting the trial site and DAFWA (Derk Bakker, Albany) for provision of the small 3-furrow mouldboard plough – impressive patience Toad! Support for this research was provided by DAFWA, Facey Group and GRDC through Project: DAW00204 'Delivering agronomic strategies for water repellent soils in WA'.

Other trial partners Not specified
Download the trial report to view additional trial information


Crop type Cereal (Grain): Wheat
Treatment type(s)
  • Soil Improvement: Rate
  • Soil Improvement: Type
Trial type Demonstration
Trial design Replicated

Wickepin 2014

Sow rate or Target density 80Kg/ha
Sowing machinery

Treatment on 06/06/2014 using 3-furrow Kvernerland Mouldboard Plough

Sow date 11 June 2014
Harvest date November
Plot size 50m x 100m
Plot replication 10

11/06/2014 120 kg K Till Extra Plus


15/05/2014- 1L Glyphosate 450, 120ml Ecopar .2% wetta 11/6/2014- 2L Trifluralin 480, 800ml Paraquat- Non-MBP ONLY 10/7/2014- 800ml Jaguar- Non-MBP ONLY

Soil amelioration

Mouldboard Plow

Download the trial report to view additional method/treatment information

Download results

Trial results Table 1

@T1: 4th Aug @T2: 30th April
# Variety
Treatment 1
Harvest index (value) Grain yield (t/ha) Shoot biomass (t/ha) 20-30cm soil pH (pH) pH 30-40cm (pH) 0-10cm soil pH (pH) 10-20cm soil pH (pH) pH 10-20cm (pH) pH 0-10cm (pH) pH 20-30cm (pH) pH 30-40cm (pH)
1 Mace Control 0.41 2.6 6.4 5.16 5.26 5.76 5.04 4.6 5.2 4.8 4.8
1 Mace MBP 0.39 3.3 7.4 5.34 5.36 5.66 6.04
1 Mace
2 Mace
2 Mace

Grain yield t/ha


0-10cm soil pH pH


10-20cm soil pH pH


20-30cm soil pH pH


Harvest index value


pH 0-10cm pH


pH 10-20cm pH


pH 20-30cm pH


pH 30-40cm pH


Shoot biomass t/ha

Observed trial site soil information
Trial site soil testing
Site Depth Type pH EC P K N A OC CAT
Wickepin, WA 0 - 10cm 5.10 0.10 12.00 38.00 10.60 0.80 1.00
Wickepin, WA 10 - 20cm 4.60 0.00 15.00 29.00 5.00 0.40 0.40
Wickepin, WA 20 - 30cm 4.70 0.00 0.00 31.20 3.60 0.40 0.30
Wickepin, WA 30 - 40cm 4.80 0.00 7.80 35.00 4.00 0.80 0.30
Wickepin, WA 40 - 50cm 5.10 0.10 5.20 44.60 10.00 1.60 0.20
Soil conditions
Trial site Soil texture
Wickepin, WA Sandy clay loam
Derived trial site soil information
Australian Soil Classification Source: ASRIS
Trial site Soil order
Wickepin, WA Sodosol
Soil Moisture Source: BOM/ANU
Average amount of water stored in the soil profile during the year, estimated by the OzWALD model-data fusion system.
Year Wickepin WA
2014 121.7mm
2013 130.1mm
2012 113.0mm
2011 106.5mm
2010 111.8mm
2009 118.5mm
2008 120.5mm
2007 145.9mm
2006 190.8mm
2005 150.8mm
2004 137.9mm
2003 166.3mm
2002 135.8mm
2001 165.8mm
2000 251.5mm
National soil grid Source: CSIRO/TERN
NOTE: National Soil Grid data is aggregated information for background information on the wider area
Actual soil values can vary significantly in a small area and the trial soil tests are the most relevant data where available

Soil properties



Wickepin WA 2014

Observed climate information

Rainfall trial gsr (mm) 344mm

Derived climate information

Wickepin WA


Some data on this site is sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology

SILO weather estimates sourced from
Jeffrey, S.J., Carter, J.O., Moodie, K.B. and Beswick, A.R. (2001). Using spatial interpolation to construct a comprehensive archive of Australian climate data , Environmental Modelling and Software, Vol 16/4, pp 309-330. DOI: 10.1016/S1364-8152(01)00008-1.

Trial report and links

2014 trial report

Trial last modified: 15-11-2021 16:33pm AEST