Wondering what your best break crop option is? Expressions of interest sought from farmers

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AIR EP are participating in a proposed new project Building resilience – Break crop decisions across landscapes to be funded by the SA Drought Hub, to assist farmers in break crop selection and management.

We are looking for expressions of interest from farmers that have a paddock on either upper or lower EP that is planned to be a break crop in 2024, but you are not quite sure of the best option to go with, or you want to test out what your options are. We’d be looking for someone willing to have at least two break crop types in the same paddock (eg faba bean vs lentil, canola vs lentil), either with the paddock split in half or with at least 3 seeder widths of one crop type to be sown.

What we need from you: a site that’s easily accessible for monitoring, yield mapping capabilities, and for you to sow, manage and harvest the paddock in 2024.

What we can provide: classing and zoning the soil types across the paddock, soil testing at the start and end of the season (so we need what the different break crops are providing for the following season), crop emergence and in crop monitoring, NDVI (data farming) and biomass cuts, interpretation of yield maps, and stubble residue assessment. In January 2025, a report including results on soil types (yield maps, NDVI, Crop establishment), economic analysis and potential benefits for the following cropping year.

If you are interested in participating please contact Amy Wright, AIR EP, ralf@airep.com.au, 0467 004 555

More project information:

Managing break crops across the landscape can be a balancing act. With many break crop options having an attractive $/tn end point, the use of break crops in the cropping system has gained momentum in the last few years. Understanding landscape volatility such as soil type, water holding capacity and frost are important variables to consider when making break crop decisions and improving resilience to tough conditions such as drought.

While the use of break crops in the rotation offers many benefits such as weed management and N fixation, they also pose several risks. Costs of inputs, establishment issues, sensitivity to drought, prone to frost, limited end use options, and fragile residual stubble/ground cover.

The project will bring together Murray Plains Farmers, Upper North Farming Systems and AIR EP to bring this common theme across the 3 farming groups and 4 node regions together in to the one project. It is proposed to establish several paddock scale demonstration sites, tailoring each to the needs of the groups. The activities are designed to share information about break crop options and agronomics looking at crop establishment, soil testing, in crop monitoring, yield and economic analysis, ground cover/stubble residues and benefits for the following crop.

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