Seeding may be an opportune time for growers to reflect on refinements they could make to seeding systems to handle higher residue stubbles, or to evaluate how they could manage stubble differently at harvest.
A new Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) podcast series provides food for thought, featuring Western Australian growers and advisers sharing their experiences managing stubble.
The podcasts have been produced as part of the GRDC investment ‘Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble’ that is being led by the WA No-Tillage Farmers Association (WANTFA).
GRDC grower relations manager – west, Jo Wheeler, said stubble retention was practiced by growers for different reasons including moisture retention, protection from erosion and to return carbon and nutrients to the soil.
“This five-part podcast series features growers and advisers who explain how stubble retention fits into different systems, the advantages it brings and how they manage the issue of heavy stubble loads,” she said.
“The podcasts aim to provide WA growers with information they can use to increase their stubble retention and achieve a whole-of-system productivity increase.
“The stubble investment being led by WANTFA aims to extend research from the GRDC ‘Stubble Initiative’ that was conducted in Victoria, South Australia, southern and central New South Wales and Tasmania.”
WA podcasts produced under the new series include:
In this podcast, Frankland River grower Noel Keding talks about the advantages of using stripper fronts, including significantly greater harvest efficiency, but also the challenges such as extra shading from the straw impacting crop germination.
Mr Keding has experience using stripper fronts in both low and higher rainfall environments, so his experience may help other growers who are considering whether stripper fronts might be an option.
Changing rainfall patterns have prompted a rethink of strategies for grower Clint Della Bosca, of Southern Cross, for whom conserving moisture and protecting topsoil from wind erosion are top priorities.
In this podcast, Mr Della Bosca talks about the vital importance of stubble in his system and his soil amelioration program.
In this podcast, Mr Heggaton explains how moisture retention is just one of the considerations in his stubble system.
In this podcast, consultant Craig Topham, of Agrarian Management, talks about the lessons learned from that event and benefits of stubble retention in farming systems.