Adopting profitable crop sequences in the South Australian Mallee


Research organisaton
Funding source

Trial details

Researcher(s) Michael Moodie, Todd McDonald (MSF), Nigel Wilhelm (SARDI) and Ray Correll (Rho Environmetrics)
Year(s) 2016
Contributor Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
Trial location(s) Site 4, Loxton, SA
Adopting profitable crop sequences in the South Australian Mallee locations
  • Trials were implemented to compare break crop productivity and profitability on major soil types in the northern South Australian Mallee. This information will help farmers in the region to select the most appropriate break crop for their farming system.
Key messages

• Grain yield across all crops were exceptional in 2016 despite a relatively late break and sowing date. Yields were aided by exceptional spring conditions where there was abundant moisture and cool finishing conditions.
• Field peas were the most productive crop grown across all soil types in 2016 and averaged an exceptional 2.9 t/ha. Vetch (2.2 t/ha), narrow leaf lupin (2.1 t/ha) and lentils (2.1 t/ha) also averaged over 2 t/ha across the four trial sites. Faba beans yielded just under 2 t/ha while both chickpea treatments yielded above 1.5 t/ha (Kabuli 1.5; Desi 1.8 (t/ha). Both canola and albus lupins averaged less than 1.5 t/ha.
• High value crops such as desi and kabuli chickpeas produced extremely high gross margins on approximately $2000/ha. Lentils also had an average gross margin of over $1000/ha across the four trial sites.
• Break crop productivity and profitability was very different between common Mallee soil types with the poorest break crop productivity and profitability on the deep sand at Loxton in 2016.

Lead research organisation Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
Host research organisation Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
Trial funding source SAGIT MSF115
Related program N/A

South Australian Grain Industry Trust (SAGIT) for providing funding for this project.
Matt Whitney (Dodgshun Medlin) for providing advice on trial management.
Todd McDonald (MSF) and Peter Telfer (SARDI) for their technical assistance on the trial.
Brenton Kroehn and the Lowbank Ag Bureau for assistance in selecting and setting up the Waikerie site and Bulla Burra staff for assistance at the Loxton site.

Other trial partners Not specified


Crop type Canola
Treatment type(s)
  • Crop: Type
Trial type Experimental
Trial design Replicated

Loxton 2016

Sow rate or Target density Depending on treatment between 35 - 120 plants per m2
Sow date 27 May 2016
Harvest date 5 December 2016
Plot size 15m x 1.8m
Plot replication 4

100 kg/ha of single super phosphate banded below the seed

All canola received an additional 100 kg/ha of urea applied immediately prior to sowing and incorporated by the sowing operation.


Pre-emergence herbicide packages and rates were specific for each treatment and soil type.

Grass weeds were controlled with an application of clethodim and haloxyfop on 21 July.



Native budworm was controlled at all sites on 19 September using alpha-cypermethrin.


two applications of chlorothalonil were applied as preventative treatments to the lentil, chickpea and faba bean treatments on the 19 September and the 7 of October.

Inoculant All legumes were inoculated just prior to seeding with their specific Rhizobian strain using a peat inoculant.
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 4, Loxton, SA Not specified
Derived trial site soil information
Australian Soil Classification Source
Trial site Soil order
Site 4, Loxton, SA 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



Site 4, Loxton SA 2016

Observed climate information

Rainfall avg ann (mm) 270.6mm
Rainfall avg gsr (mm) 172mm
Rainfall trial total (mm) 426.2mm
Rainfall trial gsr (mm) 321.5mm

Derived climate information

Site 4, Loxton 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.

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