Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble – upper Eyre Peninsula

Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble – upper Eyre Peninsula

Project Manager
Naomi Scholz
Funding Source
GRDC Project Code
Start Date
01 July 2013
Finish Date
30 June 2018


The GRDC funded project ‘Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble – upper Eyre Peninsula’ aimed to produce locally relevant, sustainable management guidelines to control pests, weeds and diseases while retaining stubble to maintain or improve soil health, and reduce exposure to wind erosion. The major outcome to be achieved was increased knowledge and skills allowing farmers and advisers to improve farm profitability while retaining stubble in farming systems on upper Eyre Peninsula.

The project commenced in July 2013, with trials commencing in the 2014 season. Trials were conducted on three sites across upper EP (Minnipa, Lock and Mount Cooper). Activities at the sites focused on addressing local barriers to profitability in farming systems with retained stubble. These issues were identified in conjunction with farmers and included weeds (mainly barley, brome and annual rye grass), pests (snails and mice), establishment on non-wetting soils, herbicide efficacy in stubbles, establishment into cereal and medic residues, disease and the use of break crops in rotations.

Guidelines for maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble on upper Eyre Peninsula:

Guidelines to overcome the above barriers were developed with the use of local advisors, growers, collaboration with other farming systems groups and past research findings, and further validated and demonstrated through the R&D component of the project. Economic and risk analyses were also conducted on practices likely to impact on yield, to determine the those profitability of practices adapted to local situations.

The guidelines listed below are compiled in a booklet “Guidelines for maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble on upper Eyre Peninsula” (initially distributed as a hard copy document in conjunction with the Eyre Peninsula Farming Systems Summary 2017), and are also available here:

  1. Break crops in low rainfall farming systems
  2. Cereal stubble management at harvest
  3. Mice and stubble management
  4. Snails and stubble management
  5. Stubble management and cereal disease impacts
  6. Herbicide efficacy in cereal stubbles
  7. Sowing position and row spacing in cereal stubbles
  8. When to reduce stubble loads
  9. Sowing into medic stubbles
  10. Stubble management during the break phase
  11. Stubble management and weed control
  12. Economic and risk analysis of break crops compared to continuous wheat farming systems
  13. Economic analysis of reduced row spacing
  14. Economics of near-row or on-row sowing compared to inter-row sowing on non-wetting sands

Specific research outcomes of all trials are reported in the Eyre Peninsula Farming Systems Summaries 2014-2017.

EP Stubbles Extravaganza

Naomi Scholz, SARDI Livestock and Farming Systems, Minnipa Agricultural Centre hosted the Eyre Peninsula ‘Stubbles Extravaganza’ forum for researchers and advisors on 9 November 2017 in Port Lincoln on behalf of EPARF and LEADA.

Speakers: Naomi Scholz (GRDC Stubble Initiative), Rick Llewellyn (weeds) CSIRO, Greg Baker (snails) SARDI, Gupta Vadakattu (nitrogen) CSIRO, Jack Desbiolles (establishment) University of Adelaide, Andrew Ware (blackleg) SARDI, Amanda Cook/Jake Giles (herbicide efficacy) SARDI, Nigel Wilhelm (water repellence) SARDI, Marg Evans (disease) SARDI, Greg Mutze (mice) PIRSA Biosecurity.

39 researchers and advisors attended the interactive workshop, heard the latest research and recommendations on overcoming the barriers to stubble retention in relation to nutrition, weeds, pests (snails, mice), disease and stubble management, and participated in discussions – how does this apply on the ground? What would you recommend to clients? What are the unanswered questions? Jeanette Long (Ag Consulting Co.) conducted an evaluation session to close the event, with four questions:

  1. What facts stood out?
  2. What challenges need more research?
  3. What are the ‘on ground’ applications?
  4. How can we encourage practice change?

Naomi collated the responses into a summary document that has been provided to all participants. Closing comments were also sought from each participant, with many suggesting that a similar annual event would be desirable.

PDF versions of the presentations are now available.

Welcome SCHOLZ EP Stubbles Extravaganza

Snails BAKER EP Stubbles Extravaganza

Herbicide Efficacy GILES EP Stubbles Extravaganza

Herbicide Efficacy COOK EP Stubbles Extravaganza

Weed Mgmt Strategies LLEWELLYN EP Stubbles Extravaganza

Nitrogen Cycling GUPTA EP Stubbles Extravaganza

Mice MUTZE EP Stubbles Extravaganza

Disease EVANS EP Stubbles Extravaganza

WILHELM Stubble Extravaganza 2017 Water Repellency

WARE Blackleg In Stubble

Residue Handling Disc Tine Seeders DESBIOLLES


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