Therese McBeath1, Bill Davoren1, Willie Shoobridge1, Michael Moodie2, Andrew Ware3
1CSIRO Agriculture and Food, 2Mallee Sustainable Farming, 3South Australian Research and Development Institute
- Time of nitrogen application was not as important as the quantity available to the plant.
- Nitrogen is an important driver of canola yields across dune-swale soil types and must be managed in the low rainfall zone for the crop to be profitable.
Research and farmer experience have demonstrated the benefits of including canola in the crop rotation, as an effective tool to manage soil borne diseases (particularly Rhizoctonia) and control grass weeds. Cereal crops following canola in the low rainfall zone have consistently yielded up to 0.4 t/ha more than maintaining continuous cereal, through reduced root disease and weed burdens. However, many growers in the low rainfall zone have been frustrated by the highly variable profitability of canola as a stand-alone crop. Dry springs, high input costs and episodic pest incursions have impacted the profitability of canola over the past five years. If canola is to be a sustainable, long-term break crop option in low rainfall areas, growers require low risk management systems.
Trials conducted from 2013-2015 have indicated that time of sowing has had a far greater impact on canola productivity than establishment number, sowing depth and variety choice.