Summer Cropping Demonstrations in the Western Region

2018 - 2019

Research organisaton
Funding source

Trial details

Researcher(s) N/A
Contact email
Contact phone 0434 644 881
Year(s) 2018 - 2019
Contributor Southern DIRT
Trial location(s) Frankland River, Mt Barker, WA
Mt Barker, WA
North Williams, WA
Summer Cropping Demonstrations in the Western Region locations

This GRDC investment aims to look at the impact of summer cropping on waterlogged winter soils and the resultant impact on crop growth and yield in the next winter growing season. Stirlings to Coast Farmers member Steve Lynch has been growing summer crops for the sole purpose of drying his soil profile in the summer to reduce the risk of waterlogging in the winter-time. Without livestock to benefit from the summer feed, Steve still believes the reduced risk of water-logging is a tangible benefit to his winter crop yields as well as providing diversity into the cropping system. Simon Harding’s (Williams demonstration host) intentions with the summer crop was to reduce his waterlogged areas within his farming practice. The area chosen suffers severe winter waterlogging that impacts on winter crop production and profitability.

Key messages

2019 Demonstration Key Messages

  • The growing season rainfall in 2019 was below average at Perillup, and the summer cropping demonstration did not suffer from water-logging.
  • Grain growers in this region believe that the soil drying effects from growing summer crops has the greatest potential benefit to winter cropping yields.
  • In 2019, there was a 770kg/ha barley yield increase above the control from the plots where cowpea was grown in the summer.
  • There was a 470kg/ha decline in winter barley yield in the plot that was planted to canola between January 30 and May 9, 2019.
  • Nutritional requirements of summer crops need to be considered when selecting species. Cowpeas fixed useful nitrogen in the 90 growing days.
  • The growing season rainfall in 2019 was above average in Williams, and the summer cropping demonstration site was severely water-logged.
  • Buster Radish could also be a perfect non-machinery deep ripping tool with its great root system.

2018 Demonstration Key Messages

  • The summer cropping demonstration sites were sown at two different timings. The Ryansbrook trial, 35km south west of Kojonup, was sown 4th October 2018 into moisture and the Woodgenellup trial was dry sown on the 30th January 2019 prior to a predicted rainfall event.
  • According to our producer rainfall records, since 2003, every 4 out of 5 years they have had summer rainfall events in January and February. Unfortunately, in the 2018/19 summer there was minimal summer rainfall and the summer crops at the Ryansbrook site failed. The C4 grasses (millet and sorghum) persisted better with little to no moisture in the soil profile compared to the broadleaf crop types (canola and cowpea).
  • At the Woodgenellup site germination was patchy however, plants have developed reasonable biomass.
  • Winter season in-crop measurements will be taken at the Woogenellup site to determine the effect of the summer crop on water logging. Due to the failure of the summer crop at the Ryansbrook site, no further measurements will be taken at this
Mt Barker WA 2019 Canola

Crop Types

Seeding Rate

Seeding Depth

Ebony Cowpea



Pearler Millet



Hyola 970 CL



Sprint Sorghum



Lead research organisation Southern DIRT
Host research organisation Southern DIRT
Trial funding source GRDC 9176156
Related program N/A
Acknowledgments N/A
Other trial partners Stirlings to Coast Farmers
Download the trial report to view additional trial information

Trial last modified: 21-07-2021 11:55am AEST