Active stubble management to enhance residue breakdown and subsequent crop management, - focus farm trials


Research organisaton
Funding source

Trial details

Researcher(s) Nick Poole, Tracey Wylie and Michael Straight (FAR Australia)
Year(s) 2017
Contributor Riverine Plains
Trial location(s) Yarrawonga Stubble 2017, VIC
Related trials
Active stubble management to enhance residue breakdown and subsequent crop management, - focus farm trials locations

The project seeks to:

  • investigate, demonstrate and extend cultural practices that will assist growers to adopt no-till stubble retention (NTSR) in medium and higher-rainfall environments;
  • build on findings from the previous Riverine Plains Inc. Water Use Efficiency (WUE) project; and
  • extend the frontier of agronomic knowledge for crops grown in NTSR systems.
Key messages
  • With heavy stubble loads as a result of the 2016 harvest (11t/ha) burning significantly increased second wheat DM production throughout the season and gave a 0.7t/ha yield increase over the NTSR control treatments.
  • This is the first year there has been a significant yield advantage with burning. In previous years, with stubble loads of 4–8t/ha, the yield gains have been non-significant or negative (as was the case in 2015).
  • The yield response to burning over the four years averaged 6% (range -6% to +20%) compared with NTSR — long stubble.
  • With a higher yield potential in 2016, applying nitrogen at sowing significantly increased grain yield and protein when stubble was cultivated, but cultivation has shown no advantage at this research site unless more nitrogen was applied.
  • Over the four years the average yield increase from additional nitrogen has been 6% with adding 40kg N/ha to cultivated wheat straw and 3% from adding it to standing straw in NTSR, potentially indicating more nitrogen tie up with chopped wheat stubble when it was incorporated compared with standing stubble.
  • The small differential effects of stubble management in year one (time replicates 1 & 2) have not resulted in follow-on effects in commercial crops sown in the following two years at this focus farm.
  • Across this project, none of the tested fungicide treatments came close to replicating the level of YLS control achieved by burning stubble.
Lead research organisation Riverine Plains
Host research organisation Riverine Plains
Trial funding source GRDC RPI00009
Related program Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble

Thanks to the farmer co-operators at each of these sites:
• Corowa/Coreen: Tomlinson Ag
• Yarrawonga: Telewonga Pty Ltd
• Dookie: Ludeman Brothers
• Henty: Peter Campbell
This work was carried out as part of the Riverine Plains
Inc GRDC funded project Maintaining Profitable Farming
Systems with Retained Stubble in the Riverine Plains
Region (2013–18).

Other trial partners FAR Australia
Download the trial report to view additional trial information


Crop type Cereal: Wheat
Treatment type(s)
  • Crop: Rotation
  • Stubble: Management
Trial type Experimental
Trial design Blocked, randomised and replicated
Sow rate or Target density Not specified
Sowing machinery

Aus seeder DBS tine knife point

Sow date 7 May 2017
Harvest date 10 December 2017
Plot size 40m x 18m
Plot replication 4
Plot blocking Not specified
Plot randomisation Not specified
Paddock history Wheat
Fertiliser Not specified

host farmer paddock management


host farmer paddock management


host farmer paddock management

Pesticide Not specified
Soil amelioration Not specified
Seed treatment Not specified
Inoculant Not specified
Tillage Not specified
Other trial notes

GSR (Apr-Oct)

Download the trial report to view additional method/treatment information

Trial results Table 1

@T1: GS30 @T2: GS39 @T3: GS71 @T4: GS95
# Treatment 1
Harvest index (value) Hectolitre weight (kg/hL) Screenings (%) 1000 grain weight (g) Establishment plants (plants/m2) Head abundance (heads/m2) Cereal tillers (tillers/m2) Protein (%) Grain yield (t/ha) Nitrogen uptake (kg N/ha) Dry matter (t/ha) Nitrogen uptake (kg N/ha) Dry matter (t/ha) Nitrogen uptake (kg N/ha) Dry matter (t/ha) Dry matter (t/ha) Nitrogen uptake (kg N/ha)
1 NTSR-long stubble (control) 37.9 76.1 0.3 44.7 102 237 223 11.9 3.39 43 0.82 72 2.57 62 6.62 7.8 87
2 NTSR-long stubble + 40kg N/ha 40.5 76.3 0.2 44.8 108 249 232 11.6 3.52 43 0.82 79 3.01 69 6.72 7.69 94
3 NTSR-short stubble 36.3 76.4 0.2 45.3 115 271 293 11.5 3.38 46 0.96 70 2.88 72 6.86 8.04 89
4 Straw Removed 38.8 76.6 0.2 44.1 115 247 287 11.3 3.65 45 0.88 80 3.01 69 6.78 8.03 94
5 Cultivated (one pass) 39.7 76.3 0.2 45.3 113 250 227 11.3 3.14 40 0.88 76 2.94 69 6.59 7.16 89
6 Cultivated (one pass) + 40kg N/ha 43.2 76.5 0.2 45 108 250 266 11.4 3.56 47 0.89 79 2.76 73 6.65 7.43 89
7 Burnt 40.3 76.2 0.2 42.4 127 295 303 10.7 4.08 50 0.98 93 3.65 68 7.44 8.97 100
LSD 7.7 0.6 0.1 2.2 11 33 60 0.7 0.56 7@T4 0.62@T4 7@T4 0.62@T4 7@T4 0.62@T4 0.62@T4 7@T4

Grain yield t/ha


1000 grain weight g


Cereal tillers tillers/m2


Dry matter t/ha


Establishment plants plants/m2


Harvest index value


Head abundance heads/m2


Hectolitre weight kg/hL


Nitrogen uptake kg N/ha


Protein %


Screenings %

Observed trial site soil information
Trial site soil testing
Site Depth Type pH EC P K N A OC CAT
Yarrawonga Stubble 2017, VIC 0 - 60cm 63.00
Soil conditions
Trial site Soil texture
Yarrawonga Stubble 2017, VIC Loam over clay
Derived trial site soil information
Australian Soil Classification Source
Trial site Soil order
Yarrawonga Stubble 2017, VIC Sodosol
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



Yarrawonga Stubble 2017 VIC 2017

Observed climate information
Rainfall trial gsr (mm) 270mm
Derived climate information
BOM Data source YARRAWONGA [16140] 5km proximity to trial site location


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.