Improving crop establishment in a non-wetting sand with soil wetting agents

2018

Research organisatons
Funding source

Trial details

Researcher(s) Jack Desbiolles (University of SA), Lynne Macdonald (CSIRO), David Davenport (Rural Solutions SA), Mel Fraser (Rural Solutions SA), Nigel Wilhelm (SARDI), Brett Masters (Rural Solutions SA)
Year(s) 2018
Contributor SARDI Minnipa Agricultural Centre
Trial location(s) Site 2, Murlong, SA
Related trials
Improving crop establishment in a non-wetting sand with soil wetting agents locations
Aims

Previous work on Eyre Peninsula at Wharminda (Wilhelm, unpublished data) investigated the impact of two soil wetter chemistries applied within the seed row on crop establishment and grain yield. This work showed that both wetting agents increased cereal crop establishment in most trials over three years, but this rarely translated into grain yield benefits (1 trial in 6, with 1 wetting agent). This experience contrasts with extensive work in WA (e.g. Davies, 2018) suggesting soil moisture conditions at seeding have a major influence of crop response to soil wetters. Using soil wetters while dry seeding in repellent sands achieved average grain yield increases of 11% (10 trials), and 18% when dry seeding in repellent forest gravels (6 trials). These grain yield responses to soil wetters significantly reduced when seeding occurred after a reasonable rainfall, dropping to non-significant (7 trials) and to 5% average yield benefit (3 trials), respectively.

 

This 2018 trial was established at Murlong as part of the GRDC funded and CSIRO-led ‘Sandy Soils Project’ and is investigating water repellence mitigation options at seeding. The trial aims to identify the driving chemistries (surfactants vs humectants) and application techniques (furrow surface, vs seed zone) that are better able to lift crop responses under local sowing conditions. This article reports on the Year 1 data, with more work being planned for the 2019-20 seasons.

Key messages
  • The impact of 13 different soil wetter treatments ranged from none to more than a doubling of wheat establishment.
  • Grain yield benefits ranged from zero to 21% (or 0.22 t/ha).
  • While higher grain yield generally correlated with better crop establishment, some treatments with low crop establishment were able to generate substantial yield responses, suggesting specific chemistries may promote later season effects.
  • Combinations of some soil wetters interacted positively to maximize grain yield response.
Lead research organisation Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Host research organisation SARDI Minnipa Agricultural Centre
Trial funding source GRDC CSP00203
Related program Sandy soils in low and medium rainfall areas
Acknowledgments

Funding from the GRDC (CSP00203), technical assistance from Dean Thiele (UniSA) and Ian Richter (SARDI) with trial implementation and data sampling, the collaboration and support from the soil wetter suppliers listed in Table 1 are all gratefully acknowledged. Thank you also to Syngenta Australia, Nufarm/CropCare, Incitec Pivot Fertilisers and Wengfu Fertilisers for some in-kind support.

 


Other trial partners University of South Australia, the SA state government through Primary Industries and Regions SA, Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc. and AgGrow Agronomy.
Download the trial report to view additional trial information

Method

Crop type Wheat
Treatment type(s)
  • Soil amelioration: Type
  • Soil amelioration: Rate
  • Soil amelioration: Application
  • Soil amelioration: Timing
Trial type Experimental
Trial design Replicated

Murlong 2018

Sow rate or Target density Wheat CL Razor wheat sown at 63.2 kg/ha targeting 155 plants/m2 at 80% establishment, Targeted seeding depth: 30-35 ±5 mm
Sowing machinery

Seeding system: knife point double shoot combined with twin seeding discs with press wheels (row spacing = 0.28 m), sowing speed: 5 km/h, sowing date: 21-23 June 2018

Sow date 22 June 2018
Harvest date 3 December 2018
Plot size 25 m x 1.68 m
Plot replication 4
Plot blocking randomised complete block design
Plot randomisation randomised complete block design
Paddock history 2017: Barley 2016: Pasture 2015: Barley
Fertiliser
  • Fertiliser: 20 N+4.3 S as 2:1 Urea:SoA mix at 54 kg/ha deep banded at full furrow depth (100 mm), and 6 N+11P+2S+0.5Zn as Granulock Z at 50 kg/ha shallow banded 20 mm below seeding depth
  • Liquids: Fungicides applied at furrow depth: Uniform 400 ml/ha and Intake HiLoad Gold 250 ml/ha applied in 80 L/ha
  • Trace elements: Zn @ 2 L, Cu @ 1 L and Mn @ 3 L/ha applied as a foliar spray at late tillering
Herbicide

Weed control: Agrityne 750 @ 1.5 L/ha at late tillering

Soil amelioration
  • Soil wetter treatments: applied in 100 L/ha volume with foam suppressant at 0.05%
Seed treatment Rancona C + Imidacloprid 600.
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
Not specified
Soil conditions
Trial site Soil texture
Site 2, Murlong, SA Deep sand over clay sand
Derived trial site soil information
Australian Soil Classification Source
Trial site Soil order
Site 2, Murlong, SA Anthroposol
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

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Climate

Site 2, Murlong SA 2018


Observed climate information

Rainfall avg ann (mm) 332mm
Rainfall avg gsr (mm) 249mm
Rainfall trial total (mm) 220mm
Rainfall trial gsr (mm) 167mm

Derived climate information

Site 2, Murlong SA

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Some data on this site is sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology

SILO weather estimates sourced from https://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/silo/
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: 26-04-2019 09:33am AEST