Return on brown manure crop equal to continuous cropping
Data collected from 2009 to 2011 suggests a crop production system comprising a rotation of brown manure field peas, canola and wheat, can be as profitable as continuous cropping.
Rob Patterson, of Rural Management Strategies, Cootamundra, NSW, shared these findings at last week’s Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Adviser Update held at Narrandera, NSW.
“A crop sequence of brown manure field peas followed by canola and two wheat crops can be as profitable at current commodity prices as continuous cropping, or mixed farming involving cropping and Merino sheep,” Mr Patterson said.
“A crop production system involving brown manure field peas has less production and financial risk compared to continuous cropping, due to lower input and operating costs.”
Mr Patterson said this system was likely to be more sustainable than continuous cropping and similar to mixed farming, due to less reliance on herbicides for weed control and artificial nitrogen for crop nutrition, plus the maintenance of higher levels of ground cover.
David Shannon, GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair, said Mr Patterson’s discussion was reinforced by a second speaker at the Update, Mark Peoples, of the CSIRO, who spoke on crop sequencing.
“It’s confirming the same message that having a break crop as brown manure, or as an oilseed or legume, actually provides benefit,” Mr Shannon said.
Also speaking at the Update was international guest Jim Orson from the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, UK.
Mr Orson explained the current state of affairs in the UK and EU and in doing, gave an insight into the possible, future outlook for Australia concerning chemical use and patterns of use in the Australian situation.
“Jim’s discussion gave us good background information on what the future might hold for us, how long we’ll be able to use some off our existing chemicals and what the re-registration process might be for some of the older chemistries after they’ve gone through a review process,” Mr Shannon said.
The Update provided farm industry professionals, including agronomists and consultants, with the tools to assist growers in establishing greater flexibility within their farming systems.
The event also explored problematic weeds, local herbicide resistance data, trace elements, and varying crop row spacing, surface temperature inversions, fertiliser decision-making and new weapons against cereal diseases such as rhizoctonia.
Robert Patterson, Rural Management Strategies, Cootamundra; and Update organiser Matt McCarthy, ORM, Bendigo (Vic).
David Shannon, GRDC Southern Regional Panel chairman; Peter Schwarz, GRDC Southern Regional Panel deputy chair; Craig Reynolds, Shepparton (Vic) district grower; Dr Chris Blanchard, GRDC Southern Regional Panel member, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga.
GRDC Southern Regional Panel members Richard Konzag, of SA, and Neil Fettell, University of New England.
GRDC Project Code: ORM00001
Media interviews: David Shannon
GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair
For further information or images contact: Sheena Coffey
03 9289 9555
0466 573 340
GRDC Project Code