Maximising crop potential in a drying environment

Published: 1 Feb 2019

Changing weather patterns in the Western Australian wheatbelt, and in particular in the Geraldton and Kwinana East port zones where the seeding window often experiences warmer and drier conditions than in the past, mean that growers are frequently attempting to sow and establish crops in less-than-favourable conditions. However, these changing weather conditions have also seen more frequent summer rainfall events, often providing a reasonable level of subsoil moisture. This subsoil moisture provides more confidence in earlier seeding and many growers seed deeper to reach this moisture. Deep sowing to chase moisture can be critical in some seasons to getting crops established early.

Geraldton and Kwinana East port zone growers and RCSN members identified that they wanted to know more about improving crop establishment in drying profiles on different soil
types, using deeper sowing to achieve this. Maximising Crop Potential in a Drying Environment: An Initiative of the Regional Cropping Solutions Network has been developed to provide growers with access to consolidated information on research and grower experiences. The growers featured in the booklet have outlined what has and has not worked for them, and have provided information on a range of tactics they have employed. This will help to provide confidence to other growers in making decisions to deal with a drying environment.

We would like to acknowledge the support of these growers in sharing this knowledge, as farmer-to-farmer sharing is invaluable and is often the best way to adoption of new practices for other growers. We hope that this booklet can provide growers in the western region with the knowledge to assess the risks and rewards to using tactics such as deeper sowing and other options to manage our more variable climate.

THANK YOU! Thank you to each of the 18 growers who shared what they do and why they do it, for the broader benefit of grain growers in the northern and eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia.

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Region: West

ISBN: 978-1-921779-63-3 (print)

ISBN: 978-1-921779-64-0 (Online)

GRDC Project Code: 9176147