Riverine Plains Blog

Windrowing vs direct-heading canola: key points to consider this season

Key Points
  • Monitor canola for seed colour change (both on the main stem and branches) to determine the optimum windrowing time
  • Contractor availability, trafficability & heavy, lodged crops may compromise windrowing
  • Direct heading may provide an alternative to windrowing in some situations.

Riverine Plains’ farmers would usually be busy gearing up for windrowing at this time of year, however the cool and wet conditions have delayed canola maturity and caused a host of other issues.

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Farm impacted by the wet weather? Take some time with the big decisions

  • Crops, pastures, livestock and infrastructure have been affected by wet conditions to varying degrees across the Riverine Plains
  • The outlook may have now changed for farmers, leading to an increase in the number/difficulty of decisions being made,
  • For complex decisions, take the time to make an informed and considered choice.

The wet conditions over the past few months, combined with some huge rainfall totals and strong winds over the past week, will be causing stress across our membership.

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Brown/green manuring pulses - is it an option for your crop this spring?

Brown manuring your pulse crop - is it an option this year?

Key Messages
  • Pulse crops are under pressure due to current wet conditions and disease
  • Brown or green manuring pulse crops may be an option this spring 
  • Brown/green manuring can increase soil nitrogen, provide weed control options, help conserve moisture & improve soil structure and improve subsequent crop gross margins.

Perhaps trafficability has created difficulties with fungicide application and disease management has become problematic in your pulse crop. Or maybe specific weed issues have recently come into focus?

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The Pros and Cons of Stubble Retention

Key Messages
  • Stubble retention has many benefits for soil health, can improve soil moisture and help maintain soil organic carbon levels
  • Different methods of sowing and equipment result in different thresholds for change in terms of maximum stubble load that can be retained
  • If full stubble retention is not feasible due to machinery, weeds or disease constraints, there are other options such as shallow incorporation, slashing straw or cutting short at harvest which can reduce the frequency of burning
Benefits of Stubble Retention

Retaining stubble can reduce the impacts of soil erosion. At least 70 per cent ground cover minimises water erosion risk and 50 per cent ground cover minimises wind erosion risk. Stubble height should be at least one-third of the width of crop rows. In general, the shelter provided by a barrier is approximately three times its height; 10 cm tall stubble will protect the adjacent 30 cm of topsoil. (Source: Managing stubble | General agronomy | Crop production | Grains, pulses and cereals | Crops and horticulture | Agriculture Victoria )

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