Investigating the benefits of a taller stubble retention system in Western Australian farming systems is the focus of a new three-year investment by the Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC).
The Liebe Group will lead a state-wide project, in collaboration with the Facey Group, Stirlings to Coast Farmers and Corrigin Farm Improvement Group (CFIG) that will establish four demonstration sites this harvest. Each of the sites will compare the ‘strip and disc’ system (tall stubble retention) with current standard practice.
The project is also supported by an experienced team of researchers, advisors, and economists from DPIRD, CSIRO and Farmanco, who will assist the on-ground project team with data analytics, agronomic assistance and understanding the risk/reward provide of adopting the new system.
Benefits of the higher stubble residue system that have been seen interstate and internationally are focussed around improving water use efficiency, reducing wind erosion, and increasing yields. However, there are also a suite of challenges that adoption of the system can present including weed control, disease carryover, herbicide efficacy, cultivation challenges and changes to frost risk.
Latham farmer, Brian McAlpine, is hosting one of the sites and has identified his interest in understanding how a higher stubble height may increase water retention over summer and support improved germination of his break crops in the rotation.
This project will support WA growers to have the knowledge and understanding of how differing stubble architectures contribute value to their farming system, understand the differing costs involved, and acknowledge the risk/reward profile required for adopting the systems into their farming businesses.
For more information on this project please contact the Liebe Group on 9661 1907.