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SANDY SOIL PROJECT (4th Year) – Increasing production on sandy soils: overcoming constraints to poor water use (CSP00203: 2016-2021)

Collaborating with University of South Australia, Mallee Sustainable Farming, PIRSA and CSIRO, funded by Ag Grow Agronomy, CSIRO and GRDC.

There is a large yield gap on sandy soils in the low rainfall cropping zone of south-eastern Australia. There are opportunities for the management of primary constraints to crop water use through the use of mitigation practices such as seeding strategies, nutrient placement and crop choice; and the use of amelioration approaches such as deep placement of amendments, claying practices, spading and inversion.

The Sandy Soil Project trials that will be monitored in 2020 include:

  1. Cultivation/Chicken Litter Trial:

Adoption of zero or no till systems has been rapid on sands in order to reduce erosion. There has been interest in careful cultivation and amelioration, with disturbing the silty sub layer at 12-15cm by ripping and cultivation resulting in an increase in crop performance. Previous trials have shown the value of cultivation, especially when it was coupled with manure or to a lesser extent lime.

The aim of this trial is to optimise the use of deep cultivation approaches in combination with chicken litter and lime to enhance crop performance on sandy soils in SNSW. In 2020 the trial is sown to wheat.

  1. Herbicide Trial:

Multiple applications of herbicides are common over the summer months to manage weeds . Herbicide residues have been measured to be 5 x higher in sand areas compared to better performing areas, with the main herbicides hanging around being glyphosate, AMPA residue , 24-D and Trifluralin.

The aim of this trial is to evaluate the size of impact of 3 herbicides (Glyphosate, Amine and Treflan) relative to best practice, and assess the mitigation potential of manure application on sands in SNSW. In 2020 the trial is sown to wheat.

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