Michael Moodie 1, Todd McDonald 1 Nigel Wilhelm 2 and Ray Correll 3
1 Mallee Sustainable Farming, Mildura; 2 SARDI, Waite Campus; 3 Rho Environmetrics Pty Ltd, Adelaide
Why was the trial was done?
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.
How was the trial was done?
Trials were established at Waikerie and Loxton with two trials implemented at each site on contrasting soil types. At the Waikerie site, one trial was located on a sandy loam and the other on a shallow heavier soil with limestone while at Loxton trials were located on either a red loam or a deep sand. The break crops represented in the trial were field pea, vetch, chickpea, lentil, lupin and canola. In 2015, the Loxton site was sown on 28 April and the Waikerie site on 1 May.
• Break crops faced a range of tough environmental conditions in the Mallee in 2015 including multiple frost and heat shock events.
• Timely rainfall in April and hence early sowing resulted in excellent biomass production with most crop options producing on average more than 2 t DM/ha and several break crop options producing greater than 2.5 t DM/ha.
• The highest grain yields tended to be crops with the quickest maturity such as lentils (0.73 t/ha), vetch (0.64 t/ha) and field peas (0.63 t/ha).
• High value crops such as lentils and vetch were highly profitable due to both excellent prices and reasonable grain yields.
• Break crop productivity and profitability was very different between common Mallee soil types.