Growers get some worthwhile tips on stubble management listening to podcast

A series of podcast shows how growers and their advisors have battled with managing stubble while seeding and also at after harvest

Stripper fronts are one of the subjects covered in a podcast series about stubble management – photo Liz Wells GRDC

It’s an ideal time for many growers to reflect on improvements they could make to seeding systems to handle higher residue stubbles, and to evaluate how they could make it simpler to manage stubble at harvest.

The podcasts have been produced as part of the GRDC investment ‘Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble’ that is being led by the WA No-Tillage Farmers Association (WANTFA).

GRDC grower relations manager – west, Jo Wheeler, said stubble retention was practiced by growers for different reasons including moisture retention, protection from erosion and to return carbon and nutrients to the soil.

“This five-part podcast series features growers and advisers who explain how stubble retention fits into different systems, the advantages it brings and how they manage the issue of heavy stubble loads,” she said.

“The podcasts aim to provide WA growers with information they can use to increase their stubble retention and achieve a whole-of-system productivity increase.

“The stubble investment being led by WANTFA aims to extend research from the GRDC ‘Stubble Initiative’ that was conducted in Victoria, South Australia, southern and central New South Wales and Tasmania.”

WA podcasts produced under the new series include:

Stripper fronts – time saving, fuel saving and moisture saving

In this podcast, Frankland River grower Noel Keding talks about the advantages of using stripper fronts, including significantly greater harvest efficiency, but also the challenges such as extra shading from the straw impacting crop germination.

Mr Keding has experience using stripper fronts in both low and higher rainfall environments, so his experience may help other growers who are considering whether stripper fronts might be an option.

Growers are more than willing to share their experiences managing stubble in the podcasts – photo Evan Collis

Stubble management in a changing climate

Changing rainfall patterns have prompted a rethink of strategies for grower Clint Della Bosca, of Southern Cross, for whom conserving moisture and protecting topsoil from wind erosion are top priorities.

In this podcast, Mr Della Bosca talks about the vital importance of stubble in his system and his soil amelioration program.

Retaining stubble in a high rainfall environment

For grower James Heggaton, who farms near Kojonup, stubble is a crucial part of his farming system but also must be actively managed year-on-year.

In this podcast, Mr Heggaton explains how moisture retention is just one of the considerations in his stubble system.

Conserving stubble conserves moisture

In this podcast, Bill Crabtree, a well-known champion of conservation agriculture, talks about his experience farming in a low-rainfall area at Morawa, and the role of stubble retention in his farming system.

Fitting stubble into your system pays

The extraordinarily strong winds experienced by growers around Geraldton in May 2020 emphasised the importance of retaining stubble as a means of protecting the soil.

In this podcast, consultant Craig Topham, of Agrarian Management, talks about the lessons learned from that event and benefits of stubble retention in farming systems.

To subscribe to the GRDC Podcast series, search ‘GRDC podcasts’ on your podcast app. Or you can listen to individual podcasts (or follow the links to listen on SoundCloud or Apple Podcast) via the GRDC website.