Tune into growers’ stubble management insights

Date: 13 May 2021

image of stripper front
Stripper fronts are one of the featured topics in a new podcast series about stubble management. Photo: Liz Wells ©GRDC.

Seeding may be an opportune time for growers to reflect on refinements they could make to seeding systems to handle higher residue stubbles, or to evaluate how they could manage stubble differently at harvest.

A new Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) podcast series provides food for thought, featuring Western Australian growers and advisers sharing their experiences managing stubble.

The podcasts have been produced as part of the GRDC investment ‘Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble’ that is being led by the WA No-Tillage Farmers Association (WANTFA).

GRDC grower relations manager – west, Jo Wheeler, said stubble retention was practiced by growers for different reasons including moisture retention, protection from erosion and to return carbon and nutrients to the soil.

image of seeder
Seeding is an opportune time to listen in to GRDC podcasts featuring growers sharing their experiences managing stubble. Photo: ©Evan Collis Photography.

“This five-part podcast series features growers and advisers who explain how stubble retention fits into different systems, the advantages it brings and how they manage the issue of heavy stubble loads,” she said.

“The podcasts aim to provide WA growers with information they can use to increase their stubble retention and achieve a whole-of-system productivity increase.

“The stubble investment being led by WANTFA aims to extend research from the GRDC ‘Stubble Initiative’ that was conducted in Victoria, South Australia, southern and central New South Wales and Tasmania.”

WA podcasts produced under the new series include:

Stripper fronts – time saving, fuel saving and moisture saving

In this podcast, Frankland River grower Noel Keding talks about the advantages of using stripper fronts, including significantly greater harvest efficiency, but also the challenges such as extra shading from the straw impacting crop germination.

Mr Keding has experience using stripper fronts in both low and higher rainfall environments, so his experience may help other growers who are considering whether stripper fronts might be an option.

Stubble management in a changing climate

Changing rainfall patterns have prompted a rethink of strategies for grower Clint Della Bosca, of Southern Cross, for whom conserving moisture and protecting topsoil from wind erosion are top priorities.

In this podcast, Mr Della Bosca talks about the vital importance of stubble in his system and his soil amelioration program.

Retaining stubble in a high rainfall environment

For grower James Heggaton, who farms near Kojonup, stubble is a crucial part of his farming system but also must be actively managed year-on-year.

In this podcast, Mr Heggaton explains how moisture retention is just one of the considerations in his stubble system.

Conserving stubble conserves moisture

In this podcast, Bill Crabtree, a well-known champion of conservation agriculture, talks about his experience farming in a low-rainfall area at Morawa, and the role of stubble retention in his farming system.

Fitting stubble into your system pays

The extraordinarily strong winds experienced by growers around Geraldton in May 2020 emphasised the importance of retaining stubble as a means of protecting the soil.

In this podcast, consultant Craig Topham, of Agrarian Management, talks about the lessons learned from that event and benefits of stubble retention in farming systems.

Contact details

For Interviews

Jo Wheeler, GRDC grower relations manager – west
0438 292 167


Natalie Lee, GRDC Communications Manager – West
0427 189 827

GRDC Project code: WAN2004-001SAX