Crop-topping or desiccation effects on weed control and seed quality


Research organisatons
Southern Pulse Agronomy Department of Primary Industries VIC

Trial details

Researcher(s) Jason Brand (DPIVic), Larn McMurray and Michael Lines (SARDI), Eric Armstrong and Luke Gaynor (DPI NSW)
Year(s) 2008
Contributor Southern Pulse Agronomy
Trial location(s) Site 5, Horsham, VIC
Crop-topping or desiccation effects on weed control and seed quality locations

To determine the correct maturity timing required in field peas, chickpeas, lentils and faba beans for successful crop topping practice.

Key messages
  • Dry and hot spring conditions reduced grain yields and led to early senescence of pulse
    varieties in 2008 particularly in late flowering and/or maturing types. Many of the grain
    yield reductions expected at the mid and late crop topping timings were ‘masked’ due to
    premature senescence in many varieties brought on by these dry spring conditions.
  • The early crop topping treatment reduced grain yields of field peas, lentils and chickpeas
    compared with the nil treatment, however there were field pea and lentil lines identified
    which did not incur a yield loss at this timing, indicating suitability to this agronomic
  • Some lines in all crops were found to incur yield loss and grain weight reductions at the
    appropriate timing for crop topping indicating poor suitability to this agronomic practice.
    jb66 Page 75 30/04/2009
  • Not all early flowering and maturing lines were able to be safely crop topped in the 2008
    experiments nor did all late lines always incur a yield loss. Further evaluation is required to
    confirm findings in a year where varieties are not prematurely senesced by drought
  • Detailed grain quality measurements (seed size distribution, colour, hydration percentage)
    are currently occurring on some treatments and varieties to assess the effects of crop topping and desiccation on seed quality.
Lead research organisation Department of Primary Industries VIC
Host research organisation N/A
Related program Southern Pulse Agronomy

Key contributors:
The authors wish to thank the contributions of the following people to this project:

  • Russel Argall, Jason Ellifson and Justine Ellis, DPI – Horsham
  • Jenny Davidson, SARDI
  • Peter Matthews and Eric Armstrong, II NSW

The authors wish to acknowledge the support and assistance of the following people:

  • Michael Materne, Kristy Hobson and Tony Leonforte, PBA, DPI – Horsham.
  • Jeff Paull, PBA, Uni of Adelaide.
  • Ian Menz, II NSW

The assistance and help of John Nairn, Peter Maynard, Mark Bennie and Rowan Steele, SARDI
Clare, with trial management is gratefully acknowledged.

Other trial partners SARDI, The University of Adelaide, DPI NSW


Crop types Chickpeas
Field peas
Trial type
Trial design

Horsham 2008 Chickpeas

Sow date Not specified
Harvest date Not specified
Plot size Not specified
Plot replication Not specified

Horsham 2008 Field peas

Sow date Not specified
Harvest date Not specified
Plot size Not specified
Plot replication Not specified

Horsham 2008 Lentils

Sow date Not specified
Harvest date Not specified
Plot size Not specified
Plot replication Not specified
Trial source data and summary not available
Check the trial report PDF for trial results.
Observed trial site soil information
Trial site soil testing
Not specified
Soil conditions
Trial site Soil texture
Site 5, Horsham, VIC Not specified
Derived trial site soil information
Australian Soil Classification Source
Trial site Soil order
Site 5, Horsham, VIC Vertosol
National soil grid Source
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



Derived climate information

No observed climate data available for this trial.
Derived climate data is determined from trial site location and national weather sources.

Site 5, Horsham VIC


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.

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Trial last modified: 28-08-2019 14:33pm AEST