[ASC-media] HISTORY SHEDS REVEALING LIGHT ON CROP SEQUENCING: Crop Doctor
brendon at iinet.net.au
Wed Mar 25 10:41:40 CET 2009
crop Doctor -- 25/3/09
HISTORY SHEDS REVEALING LIGHT ON CROP SEQUENCING
Forty years of crop sequencing trials have recently been collated by the
Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA), giving Western Australian
grain growers real insights into the rotational benefits of break crops.
Representing more than 160 crop sequence experiments, the results were
presented by DAFWAs Mark Seymour at the Grains Research and Development
Corporation (GRDC) supported 2009 WA Agribusiness Crop Updates.
Mr Seymour said the database not only revealed the benefits of break crops,
but also shed light on the impact of changes to crop management over the
The data clearly demonstrates that continuous wheat was rarely as productive
or economically viable as rotations that included either a pasture or break
crop, regardless of how much nitrogen fertiliser was applied.
It also points to the difficulty of achieving yields higher than 2.5t/ha
when wheat is sown after wheat. Overall, wheat sown after lupin out yielded
wheat sown after wheat.
Since 1990 both the yield of wheat on wheat and the likelihood of a response
to lupin in the following year have increased at all levels of applied
This corresponds with an era of more effective herbicide use and rotations
that have shifted to more continuous cropping. Trials in this era were more
likely to be sown with no-till machinery.
Narrow leafed lupin has been the most widely examined break crop species.
According to Mr Seymour, a lupin crop frequently provides a break from
Take-all, which severely limits wheat yields, or from high levels of annual
ryegrass or brome grass. Other crops, such as field peas or canola, can also
provide that essential break.
A detailed report summarising some of this extensive database is being
prepared as part of the GRDCs project Increasing the Profitability of
Cropping Systems in Western Australia using Lupins, Oats, Oilseeds and
The Crop Doctor is GRDC Managing Director, Peter Reading, Tel 02 6166 4500
Further Information: Mark Seymour, Tel 08 9083 1111
Brendon Cant & Associates
Public Relations & Marketing
4 Gugeri St
Claremont WA 6010
Tel 08 9384 1122
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