Impact of retaining stubble in low rainfall farming systems

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Research organisatons
Funding source

Trial details

Researcher(s) Amanda Cook (SARDI)
Chris Dyson (SARDI)
Year(s) 2016
Contributor Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research Foundation
Trial location(s) Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA
Related trials
Impact of retaining stubble in low rainfall farming systems 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).


The Minnipa Agricultural Centre (MAC) S7 stubble retention trial was established to determine if we could maintain or improve crop production through applying alternative weed, disease and pest control options in pasture wheat rotations in the presence of crop residues. The trial was established in 2013 with wheat and different stubble treatments imposed at harvest annually. It was sown either inter row or on row each season to determine the impacts of stubble management on crop production, weeds, disease and pests in low rainfall farming systems.

Key messages
  • Barley sown into standing stubble yielded higher (between 0.15-0.33 t/ha) than cultivated or removed stubble in 2016.
  • Standing stubble cut low (15-17 cm) resulted in the highest level of stubble being maintained into the following season.
  • Maintaining standing stubbles may be the best option for yield and stubble carry over, but adequate nitrogen must be maintained.
  • In 2014 and 2015 stubble management and seeding position did not impact strongly on weeds, disease or pests with relatively high stubble loads in a low rainfall farming system at Minnipa.
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 Sue Budarick, Tegan Watts and Katrina Brands for processing samples. 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 Barley
Treatment type(s)
  • Sowing
  • Stubble: Management
  • Stubble: Height
Trial type Experimental
Trial design Replicated

Minnipa Agricultural Centre 2016

Sow rate or Target density 60kg/ha
Sowing machinery

Plot seeder

Sow date 13 May 2016
Harvest date 3 November 2016
Plot size 18m x 2m
Plot replication 3

DAP @ 60 kg/ha

all plots were split with urea being added to one half at 40 kg/ha applied at seeding. This rate was estimated to match annual nitrogen tie up with the retained stubble loads using 5.8 kg N required per tonne of stubble to break it down (Kirby et al. 2004). Another 40 kg/ha of urea was also spread on 21 July to the urea treatments only, since there was some nitrogen deficiency present due to the seasonal conditions.


The trial was sprayed on 13 May 2016 with a knockdown of 1.5 L/ha of trifluralin, 1.5 L/ha of glyphosate and 80 ml/ha of carfentrazone-ethyl. The trial was sprayed with 750 ml/ha of imazamix and imazapyr on 20 June.





Soil amelioration


Download the trial report to view additional method/treatment information
Trial source data and summary not available
Check the trial report PDF for trial results.
Observed trial site soil information
Trial site soil testing
Site Depth Type pH EC P K N A OC CAT
Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA 0 - 20cm 7.90 1.76 28.00
Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA 0 - 60cm 105.00
Soil conditions
Trial site Soil texture
Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA Red sandy loam
Derived trial site soil information
Australian Soil Classification Source: ASRIS
Trial site Soil order
Minnipa Agricultural Centre, SA Calcarosol
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 Minnipa Agricultural Centre SA
2016 386.5mm
2015 362.5mm
2014 418.7mm
2013 359.7mm
2012 398.5mm
2011 425.7mm
2010 407.2mm
2009 421.5mm
2008 355.4mm
2007 357.4mm
2006 394.7mm
2005 368.2mm
2004 367.4mm
2003 380.2mm
2002 375.4mm
2001 420.1mm
2000 422.7mm
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



Minnipa Agricultural Centre SA 2016

Observed climate information

Rainfall avg ann (mm) 325mm
Rainfall avg gsr (mm) 242mm
Rainfall trial total (mm) 391mm
Rainfall trial gsr (mm) 268mm

Derived climate information

Minnipa Agricultural Centre 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: 04-06-2019 13:34pm AEST