Robust Ground Cover project update

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Given farming systems are improving why do we still have an issue with keeping adequate ground cover in the Eyre Peninsula, Mallee, and other low-rainfall regions?

  • A huge increase in legume production improves system productivity with N fixation, weed, and disease control benefits BUT...
  • Stubbles from pulses are fragile and decompose quickly.
  • Uneven and low production on sands means less long-term cover and increased risk of erosion.
  • Sometimes, despite our best intentions, overgrazing still occurs especially if the season shuts off suddenly.

The Future Drought Funded Robust Ground Cover project is investigating management innovations to protect soils with legumes in the system. This project will demonstrate, evaluate, and communicate farming innovations that are not widely adopted by low rainfall farmers but have been successful in other regions or are close to the market. While the focus of previous projects has been to ensure groundcover targets adequate to minimise soil erosion in dry seasons, this project will also ensure resilient groundcover is maintained to enable farmers to quickly regain production potential when the drought breaks.

On Eyre Peninsula, we are investigating the use of long coleoptile wheats (EPAG Research) and seed priming (SARDI). The trial reports are live on the AIR EP website from 2022 and can be found here.

The best way to keep up to date with this project throughout the season is to join our Facebook community "Managing Southern Region Soils".

We will be taking a deep dive into each innovation over the next few weeks, but if you are keen to skip ahead check out our latest read that covers what has been happening on the EP and Mallee Region in the last 12 months.

Read about what MSF are up to with this project here.

On EP this year we have trial sites at Wharminda (long coleoptile wheat) and Minnipa (seed priming). Stay tuned for updates.

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