Deeper roots workshops: capturing water for profit

Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 04 Feb 2015

Soil compaction workshops are being held in Geraldton and Bencubbin this month for growers interested in implementing a controlled traffic farming (CTF) system.

The events, supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), will be hosted by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) on:

  • Monday, February 9, from 9am to 2pm, at DAFWA’s Geraldton office - located at 20 Gregory St, Geraldton
  • Wednesday, February 11, from 8.30am to 1pm, at the Bencubbin Resource Centre – located at Monger St, Bencubbin

Previous research funded by the GRDC has found the introduction of CTF systems has potential to boost grain yields by about 10 per cent on compacted soils.

WA researchers, agronomists and growers are also seeing crop yield responses of 0.5-1 tonne per hectare where CTF is being used in conjunction with deep ripping on compacted sands in parts of the central grainbelt.

DAFWA grains industry development officer Bindi Isbister said compacted soils held back crop growth by restricting roots and increasing the risk of waterlogging in the soil profile.

“It can be very disappointing for growers to dig a hole in their paddock after harvest and find moisture,” she said.

“In our rainfall limited environment, it makes sense to use all of the moisture that falls to grow a profitable crop and this requires plants to have deep roots.”

The increasing size and weight of farm machinery being used across WA is impacting on soil compaction issues, affecting the soil profile to a depth of 50cm and deeper.

Mrs Isbister said the only practical way to avoid this deep compaction was to practice CTF and it was not necessary for growers who were starting out to implement a 100 per cent fully-matched system.

“A compromised system using existing machinery is a good initial point,” she said.

“At DAFWA, we recommend growers fix the top of the soil profile (address non-wetting), line things up (using CTF) and then fix the bottom (using deep ripping and/or lime).”

A range of CTF experts will address the Geraldton and Bencubbin Deeper Roots Workshops, including: Andrew Newall from NewAg Consulting in Horsham, who has extensive experience with clients developing a CTF system; DAFWA researchers; and a team of local consultants.

It is recommended growers attending the workshops bring measurements for machinery operating widths and tracks to develop an individual CTF investment plan for their business.

To register for the workshops, contact Bindi Isbister on:  08 99568530; or via email: bindi.isbister@agric.wa.gov.au

ENDS

Contact Details

For Interviews

Bindi Isbister
08 9956 8532 
bindi.isbister@agric.wa.gov.au

Contact

Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827
nataliel@coxinall.com.au

GRDC Project Code DAW00243

Region West