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


Research organisaton
Funding source

Trial details


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
  • A growing season rainfall (GSR) of 281mm resulted in average canola yields of 3.76t/ha.
  • Reducing stubble length in NTSR, burning and removing wheat straw treatments significantly
  • increased canola DM production at the greenbud stage (GS3.3) compared with NTSR — long stubble, despite there being no differences in plant establishment due to stubble management. 
  • The significant reduction in DM in NTSR — long stubble was associated with a delay in the onset of flowering, which was statistically significant.
  • The delay in crop development associated with longer stubble length was also observed in wheat at this site during 2015.
  • Though there was a trend for the burnt and straw removed treatments to increase DM production compared with NTSR — long stubble, there was no difference in yield among any of the treatments at harvest.
  • Across the four years of the trial 2014–17, NTSR — long stubble has reduced early DM production in all four years, however it has only significantly reduced final grain yield during 2014 (0.7t/ha decrease).
  • The significant wheat yield reduction in 2014, due to long stubble, resulted in a significant increase in canola yields during 2015.
  • The influence of stubble management treatments set up in 2015 (time replicate 2) did not affect the yield of the two subsequent commercial crops; canola in 2016, wheat in 2017.
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
Treatment type(s)
  • Crop: Rotation
  • Stubble: Management
Trial type Experimental
Trial design Blocked, randomised and replicated

Dookie stubble 2017 2017

Sowing machinery

Simplicity seeder/knife point

Sow date 20 April 2017
Harvest date 20 November 2017
Plot size 40m x 18m
Plot replication Not specified
Paddock history Wheat
Herbicide <p>host farmer paddock management</p>
Insecticide <p>host farmer paddock management</p>
Fungicide <p>host farmer paddock management</p>
Download the trial report to view additional method/treatment information

Trial results Table 1

@T1: GS3.3 @T2: GS4.5 @T3: GS5.5 @T4: GS6.7
# Treatment 1
Flowering (%) Crop vigour (1-9) Canola yield (t/ha) Stems/m2 (stems/m2) Establishment plants (plants/m2) 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) Dry matter (t/ha)
1 NTSR-long stubble 2 8.5 3.7 119 56 76 1.4 111 4.09 5.36 68 8.1
1 NTSR-short stubble 13 8.5 3.75 110 49 84 1.7 101 4.31 5.7 77 8.11
1 Cultivated (one pass) 13 9 3.85 101 49 69 1.64 102 4.33 5.44 93 8.2
1 Straw Removed 15 8.3 3.74 115 52 73 1.78 108 4.59 5.89 91 9.08
1 Burnt 17 8.5 3.74 112 53 75 1.72 136 4.65 5.8 77 8.55

Canola yield t/ha


Crop vigour 1-9


Dry matter t/ha


Establishment plants plants/m2


Flowering %


Nitrogen uptake kg N/ha


Stems/m2 stems/m2

Observed trial site soil information
Trial site soil testing
Site Depth Type pH EC P K N A OC CAT
Dookie stubble 2017, VIC 0 - 60cm 58.00
Soil conditions
Trial site Soil texture
Dookie stubble 2017, VIC Red loam over medium clay
Derived trial site soil information
Australian Soil Classification Source
Trial site Soil order
Dookie 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



Dookie stubble 2017 VIC 2017

Observed climate information

Rainfall trial gsr (mm) 281mm

Derived climate information

Dookie stubble 2017 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.