Michael Moodie1, Todd McDonald1 Nigel Wilhelm2 and Ray Correll3
1Mallee Sustainable Farming, Mildura; 2SARDI, Waite Campus; 3Rho 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 the 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. At Loxton, the 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 2016, the sites were sown soon after the break of the season with the Loxton site sown on 27 May and the Waikerie site on 30 May.
- Grain yield across all crops were exceptional in 2016 despite a relatively late break and sowing date. Yields were aided by exceptional spring conditions where there was abundant moisture and cool finishing conditions.
- Field peas were the most productive crop grown across all soil types in 2016 and averaged an exceptional 2.9 t/ha. Vetch (2.2 t/ha), narrow leaf lupin (2.1 t/ha) and lentils (2.1 t/ha) also averaged over 2 t/ha across the four trial sites. Faba beans yielded just under 2 t/ha while both chickpea treatments yielded above 1.5 t/ha (Kabuli 1.5; Desi 1.8 (t/ha). Both canola and albus lupins averaged less than 1.5 t/ha.
- High value crops such as desi and kabuli chickpeas produced extremely high gross margins on approximately $2000/ha. Lentils also had an average gross margin of over $1000/ha across the four trial sites.
- Break crop productivity and profitability was very different between common Mallee soil types with the poorest break crop productivity and profitability on the deep sand at Loxton in 2016.
South Australian Grain Industry Trust (SAGIT) for providing funding for this project.
Matt Whitney (Dodgshun Medlin) for providing advice on trial management.
Todd McDonald (MSF) and Peter Telfer (SARDI) for their technical assistance on the trial.
Brenton Kroehn and the Lowbank Ag Bureau for assistance in selecting and setting up the Waikerie site and Bulla Burra staff for assistance at the Loxton site.