Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc. trials

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Trial Contributor
Funding sources
Year Trial site
Adopting profitable crop sequences in the South Australian Mallee
  • 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.
Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
SAGIT
2016 Loxton SA
Research organisaton
Break crops can provide over 1 t/ha of extra wheat over the three subsequent seasons

Although cereal-intensive cropping has been demonstrated to be productive in the Mallee, there are situations where grass weeds, disease and high fertiliser costs may necessitate a break crop option. This trial was designed to evaluate the effect of a range of break crops and pasture over a range of mallee soils over 3 years of subsequent wheat. In replicated field trials at the Karoonda (Lowaldie) site, break crops including legume, rye, brassica and pasture were grown in 2009 and 2010 and followed by consecutive wheat crops until 2013. Wheat yield following these breaks were compared with a continuous wheat treatment. All treatments were applied at four positions in the landscape: hill (deep sand), mid-top, mid-slope and swale (heavy flat).

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC
2009 Karoonda SA
Research organisaton
Brome grass seed retention declines over harvest

To quantify how much brome grass seed was retained on plants at different times of harvest.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC Mallee CMA
2014 Ouyen VIC
Research organisaton
Comparing break crop performance in the SA Mallee

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 this region to select the most appropriate break crop for their farming system.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
SAGIT
2015 Loxton SA
Research organisaton
Comparing break crop performance in the SA Mallee

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 this region to select the most appropriate break crop for their farming system.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
2015 Waikerie SA
Research organisaton
Crop sequences address agronomic contraints in a long term continuous cereal paddock

To quantify the agronomic benefits that break crops can provide in Mallee cropping rotations so that farmers can be confident of the long term benefits of more diverse crop sequences.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC
2014 Wargan VIC
Research organisaton
Demonstrating the benefits of break crops in northern Mallee no-till cropping systems

To compare the impact and profitability of the inclusion of broadleaved break crops in paddock rotations in the Northern Victorian Mallee.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
Mallee CMA NLP
2014 Meringur VIC
Research organisaton
Demonstrating the benefits of break crops in northern Mallee no-till cropping systems

Agronomic constraints threaten the sustainability of intensive cereal no-till cropping systems. Local research has shown these constraints can be managed by diversifying rotations with break crops, however as this research was conducted at only one site, farmers wanted to know whether the same results would be observed on a commercial scale at a whole of paddock level. In 2014, the Mallee Catchment Management Authority (Mallee CMA) funded a project to compare the impact and profitability of the inclusion of broadleaved break crops in paddock rotations in the Northern Victorian Mallee.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
2015 Karawinna VIC
Research organisaton
Demonstrating the benefits of break crops in northern Mallee no-till cropping systems

Agronomic constraints threaten the sustainability of intensive cereal no-till cropping systems. Local research has shown these constraints can be managed by diversifying rotations with break crops, however as this research was conducted at only one site, farmers wanted to know whether the same results would be observed on a commercial scale at a whole of paddock level. In 2014, the Mallee Catchment Management Authority (Mallee CMA) funded a project to compare the impact and profitability of the inclusion of broadleaved break crops in paddock rotations in the Northern Victorian Mallee.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
2015 Merrinee VIC
Research organisaton
Demonstrating the benefits of break crops in northern Mallee no-till cropping systems

Agronomic constraints threaten the sustainability of intensive cereal no-till cropping systems. Local research has shown these constraints can be managed by diversifying rotations with break crops, however as this research was conducted at only one site, farmers wanted to know whether the same results would be observed on a commercial scale at a whole of paddock level. In 2014, the Mallee Catchment Management Authority (Mallee CMA) funded a project to compare the impact and profitability of the inclusion of broadleaved break crops in paddock rotations in the Northern Victorian Mallee.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
2015 Wargan VIC
Research organisaton
Demonstrating the benefits of break crops in northern Mallee no-till cropping systems

Agronomic constraints threaten the sustainability of intensive cereal no-till cropping systems. Local research has shown these constraints can be managed by diversifying rotations with break crops, however as this research was conducted at only one site, farmers wanted to know whether the same results would be observed on a commercial scale at a whole of paddock level. In 2014, the Mallee Catchment Management Authority (Mallee CMA) funded a project to compare the impact and profitability of the inclusion of broadleaved break crops in paddock rotations in the Northern Victorian Mallee.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
2015 Carwarp VIC
Research organisaton
Effect of fertiliser sown with wheat seed on Mallee soils

There are major opportunities to improve crop performance on Mallee sands, opportunities to invest in the transformation of poor sands and opportunities to improve yield through more targeted agronomy of sandy soils. In 2015 wheat plant establishment was significantly better on non-wetting sand (crest and dune) plots that received no fertiliser with the seed compared with those that received 50 kg DAP/ha. Similar effects were measured in trials established by Jack Desbiolles at Moorlands in 2015 (McBeath et al. 2016).

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC
2016 Karoonda SA
Research organisaton
Field peas stand out in northern Mallee pulse crop comparison trials

To provide farmers with more information on the productivity of legume break crops and varieties in the northern Mallee region.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
2013 Ouyen VIC
Research organisaton
Field peas stand out in northern Mallee pulse crop comparison trials

To provide farmers with more information on the productivity of legume break crops and varieties in the northern Mallee region.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
2013 Wargan VIC
Research organisaton
Livestock grazing behaviour in large Mallee paddocks

The integration of cropping and grazing remains a major management challenge in the Mallee. Technology such as portable fencing systems and virtual fencing potentially offer a solution to improve grazing management in large Mallee paddocks with high soil variability. However, to effectively design and deploy these innovative grazing techniques, the grazing behaviour of livestock in these paddocks needs to be understood and quantified.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC Mallee CMA NLP
2015 Nandaly VIC
Research organisaton
Mallee crop sequences influence soil nitrogen, Rhizoctonia and brome grass

The GRDC Low Rainfall Crop Sequencing project is identifying the effects that different break crops and rotations have on Mallee farming systems. Farmers have increasingly adopted continuous cereal cropping strategies as non-cereal crops are perceived as riskier than cereals due to greater yield and price fluctuations. Therefore, it is important to quantify the agronomic benefits that break crops can provide in Mallee cropping rotations so that farmers can be confident of the long term benefits of more diverse crop sequences.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC
2013 Wargan VIC
Research organisaton
Management of soilborne Rhizoctonia disease risk in cropping systems

A series of multi-year field trials were conducted at sites in SA, Victoria and NSW to determine key soil, environment and management factors influencing the pathogen dynamics and disease impact in cereal crops.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC
2008 Waikerie SA
Research organisaton
Managing nutrition in sandy soils to close the yield gap

Sandy soil types of the Northern Mallee often underperform despite good weed management and increased inputs of nitrogen and sulphur. There is still a yield gap that can be addressed, with anecdotal evidence of unused water commonly remaining in the soil at depths of approximately 60cm at harvest. In 2014 we set in place a diagnostic procedure to attempt to identify the production limitations on a poor-performing dune at the MSF site near Loxton. Characterisation of the plant available water capacity allowed us to calculate water use efficiency which suggested that the 2014 plots were operating well below industry benchmarks. Penetration resistance was measured to be greater than the threshold predicted to impede root exploration at 20-45 cm depth, suggesting that compaction might be limiting yield. Replicated harvest test strips on and off of wheel tracks measured at three locations in 2014 showed a significant effect of the wheel track compaction at one location only. The site is alkaline sand and pre-sowing soil tests in 2014 indicated relatively low soil test values for sulphur (S) and zinc (Zn). In-season tissue tests indicated marginal status for nitrogen (N), Zn and copper (Cu) and test strips with additional N showed a positive response. The likely primary limitations to production identified were compaction and nutrition.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
CSIRO GRDC
2015 Loxton SA
Research organisaton
Managing nutrition on sandy soils – yield gains from Zn and N

Sandy soil types of the Northern Mallee often underperform despite good weed management and increased inputs of nitrogen and sulfur. There is still a yield gap that can be addressed, with anecdotal evidence of unused water commonly remaining in the soil at depths of approximately 60cm at harvest.
After several years of demonstrating the value to wheat production of increased nitrogen inputs on sands at Karoonda, it was time to explore nutrition packages at a broader set of Mallee sites.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC
2016 Loxton SA
Research organisaton
Managing nutrition on sandy soils - fertiliser source

Sandy soil types of the Northern Mallee often underperform despite good weed management and increased inputs of nitrogen and sulfur. There is still a yield gap that can be addressed, with anecdotal evidence of unused water commonly remaining in the soil at depths of approximately 60cm at harvest.
After several years of demonstrating the value to wheat production of increased nitrogen inputs on sands at Karoonda, it was time to explore nutrition packages at a broader set of Mallee sites.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
CSIRO GRDC
2016 Ouyen VIC
Research organisaton
Managing nutrition on sandy soils - nitrogen timing x rate

Sandy soil types of the Northern Mallee often underperform despite good weed management and increased inputs of nitrogen and sulfur. There is still a yield gap that can be addressed, with anecdotal evidence of unused water commonly remaining in the soil at depths of approximately 60cm at harvest.
After several years of demonstrating the value to wheat production of increased nitrogen inputs on sands at Karoonda, it was time to explore nutrition packages at a broader set of Mallee sites.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
CSIRO GRDC
2016 Ouyen VIC
Research organisaton
Nitrogen cycling in cereal stubble retained systems

To strengthen our knowledge on seasonal changes in the (1) biological value of stubble (2) mineralisation: immobilisation balance (ratio) and (3) the direct supply of N from stubble to crops as influenced by stubble management.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
CSIRO GRDC
2015 Karoonda SA
Research organisaton
Nitrous oxide emissions in grain production systems: what is being lost and what is the cost?

To measure N20 emitted by vetch, field peas and wheat stubble over summer and to determine whether top-dressed inhibitor-treated and slow release urea products influence N2O emissions.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
2014 Condobolin NSW
Research organisaton
Productive and profitable pulse crops in the northern Victorian Mallee

Two separate trials were implemented in 2014 with one trial aim to compare the productivity of pulse crops with the intention of grain yield and the other trial to compare the productivity of pulse crops with the intention of using as a brown manure

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC
2014 Wargan VIC
Research organisaton
Pulse options for northern SA Mallee

To build on previous crop sequencing projects, using farmer equipment and paddock lengthtrial strips to help assess both the profitability and practicality of various pulse options: to help farmers see these crops growing for themselves, discuss the various issues involved and then better decide what may best suit their farming systems

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
2014 Wunkar SA
Research organisaton
Rhizoctonia bare patch disease inoculum build-up in different cereal crops and varieties

To determine the variation in the build-up of Rhizoctonia solani AG8 inoculum between cereal crops wheat, barley, triticale and cereal rye and varieties in a cropping system.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC
2016 Karoonda SA
Research organisaton
Risk management strategies for growing canola in the low rainfall zone

For canola to be a sustainable, long-term break crop option for low rainfall farmers, low risk management systems need to be investigated. This project was undertaken to identify strategies that minimise the risk of canola production in the low rainfall zone. This will improve the long term profitability of canola in low rainfall farming systems.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
CSIRO
2015 Ouyen VIC
Research organisaton
Soil-specific nitrogen strategies

To identify opportunities to reduce risk and increase profitability by evaluating the soils and conditions where continuous cereal systems perform best and where inputs can be most cost-effectively targeted

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC
2014 Karoonda SA
Research organisaton
Soil-specific strategies continue to pay at Karoonda

To identify opportunities to reduce risk and increase profitability by evaluating the soils and conditions where continuous cereal systems perform best and where inputs can be most cost-effectively targeted. Trials were established at Karoonda (Lowaldie) to test soil-specific strategies and tactics for reducing risk and increasing profitability in cereal-based rotations over the 2010-2013 growing seasons. Potential management practices including nil fertiliser, district practice, increased sowing N, increased N applied in-season and pasture breaks in 2009 and 2010 were applied on 150m long plots running across a range of soil types covering a dune-swale system. Simulation modeling was also used together with field results to identify the best long-term strategies for soil zones.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC
2013 Karoonda SA
Research organisaton
Sowing strategies to improve productivity on sandy mallee soils

To determine whether the potential benefits of sowing on last year’s crop row to harvest any extra water and nutrition can outweigh risks of increased disease pressure and lead to better crop performance on Mallee soil types

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
CSIRO GRDC
2014 Karoonda SA
Research organisaton
Sowing strategies to improve productivity on sandy mallee soils

Trials in the Mallee have highlighted the benefits of strong early crop establishment and nutrition, particularly on sands. Non-wetting (or water repellent) sands have presented additional challenges. Global Positional System (GPS) guided seeding is increasingly common and presents the opportunity for strategic placement of seed in relation to last season’s crop rows. Trials have been established at Karoonda and Loxton to examine when and where on-row (or near-on-row) seeding may have benefits over inter-row seeding in stubble-retained systems.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
CSIRO GRDC
2015 Karoonda SA
Research organisaton
Sowing strategies to improve productivity on sandy mallee soils

Trials in the Mallee have highlighted the benefits of strong early crop establishment and nutrition, particularly on sands. Non-wetting (or water repellent) sands have presented additional challenges. Global Positional System (GPS) guided seeding is increasingly common and presents the opportunity for strategic placement of seed in relation to last season’s crop rows. Trials have been established at Karoonda and Loxton to examine when and where on-row (or near-on-row) seeding may have benefits over inter-row seeding in stubble-retained systems.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
CSIRO GRDC
2015 Loxton SA
Research organisaton
Stubble management to improve crop yield

Over recent seasons adoption of stubble retention has plateaued in the Mallee and some growers are reducing the area of stubble retained until the next growing season. An experiment was undertaken to identify potential improvements in stubble management so this trend could be reversed. The experiment examined how different amounts and types of stubble impact on subsequent water availability and crop yield.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC Mallee CMA
2014 Ouyen VIC
Research organisaton
Testing crop row placement and pre-emergence herbicide options for brome grass on Mallee sand

Brome grass is the costliest weed to grain production in the Mallee region despite herbicide resistance being relatively low. This paper brings together research trials from 2015 and 2016 addressing the potential for greater efficacy of pre-emergence herbicides on brome and the potential for better crop competition on non-wetting sands. For growers looking to often seed earlier and reduce reliance on Group B herbicides, pre-emergence herbicides can be an important part of brome management strategies but trifluralin often has limited efficacy. Previous trials at the MSF Karoonda site looking at a range of pre-emergence herbicides have shown the potential for greater than 75% brome control, but also the potential for variability under different early-season conditions. Improving crop competition can greatly improve herbicide efficacy. Other trials on non-wetting sandy soil at the Karoonda site have shown the potential for better crop establishment and large reductions in brome seed set suppression through seeding the crop on or near last year’s crop row (e.g. McBeath et al 2015). In 2016 the interactions between pre-emergence herbicide options and crop row placement were investigated.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC
2016 Karoonda SA
Research organisaton
Testing pre-emergence herbicide options for brome grass on Mallee sand

To test pre-emergence herbicide options for brome grass on Mallee sand.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC
2015 Karoonda SA
Research organisaton
Two year break phases can boost wheat yields and profits

The GRDC Low Rainfall Crop Sequencing project is identifying the effects that different break crops and rotations have on Mallee farming systems. Farmers have increasingly adopted continuous cereal cropping strategies as non-cereal crops are perceived as riskier than cereals due to greater yield and price fluctuations. However, break phases can enhance productivity and profitability of subsequent crops and it important the frequency and magnitude of these rotational benefits are measured so that so that farmers can be confident of the long term benefits of more diverse crop sequences.

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC
2013 Wargan VIC
Research organisaton
Two year breaks profitably reduce agronomic constraints in the northern Victorian Mallee

The aim of this project was to test if including one or two-year break phases in low rainfall crop sequences could successfully address agronomic constraints to increase the productivity of subsequent cereal crops and improve the profitability of the long term crop sequence when compared to maintaining continuous cereal

Mallee Sustainable Farming Inc.
GRDC
2014 Wargan VIC
Research organisaton