Published: 3 Mar 2011
Stubble is defined as the above-ground plant residue left in the field after harvest, including stem, leaf and glume of cereals. In conservation farming systems retained stubble can be mulched, slashed or left standing.
For the majority of growers, stubble burning is not the preferred management tool when dealing with heavy stubble loads but is still often used as a last resort. A 2008 survey of 1172 growers found 47 per cent of southern New South Wales growers and 55 per cent of central Western Australia growers burnt between seven and 10 per cent of stubble, compared to growers in southern Queensland who burnt less than one per cent of stubble area.
In future, legislation could prevent growers from burning stubble, a practice that has been banned in the European Union for over 15 years.
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