WA Stubble Retention booklet

Published: 15 Aug 2023

Conservation agriculture is a system of sustainable land management aimed at protecting soil from erosion and degradation, improving soil quality and biodiversity and preserving natural resources, while simultaneously maximising crop yields (Climate-ADAPT, 2020). Its four main principles are:

1. Minimising soil disturbance from cultural or mechanical operations;

2. Maintaining permanent or semi-permanent soil cover with crop residues;

3. Implementing diverse crop rotations; and

4. Reducing compaction by practicing controlled-traffic farming.

One of the core practices of conservation agriculture, stubble retention, confers multiple benefits to growers, including increased soil moisture retention, reduced wind erosion and run-off, lower evaporation and higher infiltration rates. However, stubble retained systems can also present challenges. High stubble loads can increase the risk of blockages occurring at sowing, reduce the efficacy of pre-emergent weed control, and affect crop emergence and establishment. Stubble retention can also lead to disease and weed issues if not managed properly.

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Region: West

GRDC Project Code: WAN2004-001SAX,