Author: Chris McDonough, Insight Extension for Agriculture
Research Team: Fiona Gray, Eliza Rieger, Natural Resources SAMDB
Funded By: Natural Resources SAMDB (Project 1555C)
Project Title: Stony Soils Trial
Peer Review: Tanja Morgan (Tanja Morgan Project Services)
This trial has resulted in some clear recommendations for farming shallow stony soils in the SA Mallee. These include:
- Where possible and practical, aim to sow stony ground earlier in the seeding program. Where a late season break causes seeding to be delayed into June, not sowing these areas should be considered, as a profitable crop will only be achievable with very good winter and spring rainfall.
- Shorter season wheat varieties present less risk on stony ground than longer season varieties. It is preferable to sow these varieties with higher seeding rates (15-20% higher than normal seeding rates), which is also advantageous in the years with good spring rainfall. Double sowing rates appear too risky and will prove costly in seasons with a dry finish.
- Wheat seed should be treated with an insecticide seed treatment for Aphids, as shallow stony soil appears to be highly vulnerable for Russian Wheat Aphid infestation.
- There is a strong concern about bare cropping patches appearing within stony paddocks, which appear to be associated with an accumulation of soil salinity at the surface. This may need further investigation to assess whether this is a growing land degradation issue across the district.