Crop establishment on non-wetting soil

CC BY 4.0

Research organisatons
Funding source

Trial details

Researcher(s) Amanda Cook, Wade Shepperd and Ian Richter (SARDI)
Year(s) 2015
Contributor Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research Foundation
Trial location(s) Site 1, Murlong, SA
Related trials
Crop establishment on non-wetting soil locations

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 and skills allowing farmers and advisers to improve farm profitability while retaining stubble in farming systems on upper Eyre Peninsula (EP).

One issue EP farmers identified as a problem with stubble retained systems was sowing into non-wetting sands and the resulting uneven and reduced germination. A trial at Murlong (near Lock) was established in 2013 to compare how crop establishment is affected by time of sowing, sowing rate, and seed position and depth on a non-wetting sand and crop performance. The trial has been re-seeded in the 2014 and 2015 growing seasons.

Key messages
  • Crop establishment increased with on row sowing. Stubble from the previous season helps soil moisture infiltrate into non-wetting sands and into a position closer to the seed.
  • Initial germination of brome grass weeds was higher with inter row sowing.
  • Late brome grass weed numbers was also greatest with inter row sowing. Sowing on row may also increase crop and weed competition as will a higher seeding rate.
Lead research organisation Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research Foundation
Host research organisation SARDI Minnipa Agricultural Centre
Trial funding source GRDC EPF00001
Related program Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble

Thank you to the Hentschke family for having this trial on their property. Trial funded by GRDC Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble - upper Eyre Peninsula (EPF00001).

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


Crop type Wheat
Treatment type(s)
  • Sowing: Rate
  • Sowing: Timing
  • Sowing: Method
Trial type Experimental
Trial design Replicated

Murlong 2015

Sow rate or Target density 40kg/ha, 60 kg/ha
Sow date 18 May 2015
Harvest date 19 November 2015
Plot size 12m x 2m
Plot replication 3
Paddock history 2014: Scope barley, 2013: Kord wheat

60 kg/ha of DAP and 50 kg/ha of ammonium sulphate. A trace element mix of manganese sulphate at 1.5 kg Mn/ha, zinc sulphate at 1 kg Zn/ha and copper sulphate at 0.2 kg Cu/ha were also delivered as a fluid at seeding. Extra urea was broadcast on all plots on 10 August @ 40 kg/ha.


The trial was sprayed with a knockdown of 1L/ha of Roundup Powermax, 1.5 L/ha Avadex and 1.5 L/ha Treflan on 18 May. The trial was also sprayed with 750 ml/ha Tigrex and 100 ml/ha Lontrel on 10 August.

Download the trial report to view additional method/treatment information

Download results

Trial results Table 1

# Treatment 1
Protein (%) Test weight (kg/hL) Plant Establishment (plants/m2) Harvest Index (2015) Screenings (%) Yield (t/ha) Late dry matter (kg/m2)
1 Placement on-row 11.7 75.8 95.4 0.38 10.4 0.58 0.43
2 Placement inter-row 11.8 76.6 56.3 0.39 8.4 0.55 0.41
3 Depth 0-1 cm 11.7 76.1 78.2 0.38 10 0.57 0.4
4 Depth 3-4 cm 11.7 76.3 73.5 0.39 8.8 0.56 0.44
5 Sowing rate 40 kg/ha 11.7 76.4 62.7 0.38 9.4 0.56 0.42
6 Sowing rate 60 kg/ha 11.7 76 88.9 0.39 9.4 0.57 0.42

Harvest Index 2015


Late dry matter kg/m2


Plant Establishment plants/m2


Protein %


Screenings %


Test weight kg/hL


Yield t/ha

Observed trial site soil information
Trial site soil testing
Not specified
Soil conditions
Trial site Soil texture
Site 1, Murlong, SA Non-wetting sand
Derived trial site soil information
Australian Soil Classification Source: ASRIS
Trial site Soil order
Site 1, Murlong, SA 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 Site 1, Murlong SA
2015 364.2mm
2014 427.4mm
2013 395.9mm
2012 392.8mm
2011 429.9mm
2010 388.7mm
2009 347.9mm
2008 331.9mm
2007 349.2mm
2006 365.6mm
2005 349.6mm
2004 340.1mm
2003 388.1mm
2002 378.6mm
2001 399.4mm
2000 407.8mm
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



Site 1, Murlong SA 2015

Observed climate information

Rainfall avg ann (mm) 336mm
Rainfall avg gsr (mm) 250mm
Rainfall trial total (mm) 294mm
Rainfall trial gsr (mm) 229mm

Derived climate information

Site 1, Murlong SA


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 last modified: 08-06-2018 12:54pm AEST