In these videos, Wimmera farmer, Chris Drum, talks about his stubble management strategy and shares his knowledge gained from more than 20 years of refining his stubble management system.
Topics covered in Episode 1 include: Control traffic setup, Soil moisture benefits, Soil compaction, Crop residue management, Sowing management, Benefits of dry sowing, Setting up the GPS, Row spacing and Crop rotation.
During the last 25 years, No-till cropping – which includes reduced soil cultivation and retention of crop stubble – has continued to evolve. This has been driven by the need to protect soil from erosion and maximise water use efficiency in an era of increasing climate variability.
In Victoria, the level of adoption of conservation cropping practices has increased from approximately 25% of paddocks to approximately 75%, as more farmers recognise the benefits to productivity and sustainability. Soil properties such as filtration in our crop-growing regions have improved as a result of this change.
Retaining stubble can provide multiple benefits, including improving soil health, reducing the impacts of erosion, increasing soil water and nutrient holding capacity, increased retention of nutrients and increasing or retaining soil organic carbon.
Stubble management is one of many complex issues and risks that farmers must contend with and there is no single, ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for managing stubbles. Effective stubble management begins at harvest with even spread of residue and appropriate stubble cutting height. Decisions about stubble management need to be reviewed annually and need to be considered with other components of farm management, such as:
- Control traffic set up
- Soil compaction
- Livestock management
- Crop residue management
- Sowing management and Row spacing
- Crop rotation
- Pest management – mice & snails
- Summer weed management – green bridge
The Stubble Management Optimiser was developed for wheat crops and allows growers to calculate the overall financial and nutritional cost of managing stubble both at harvest and during post-harvest treatments such as baling.
This work has been funded by the Victoria Government’s Smarter, Safer Farms initiative through its skills program which provides targeted training to build capability in financial literacy, risk management, farm planning and adaption to climate change.