Cropping practices in the Victorian Mallee. 1. Effect of direct drilling and stubble retention on the water economy and yield of wheat Academic Article uri icon


  • Two experiments were conducted at the Mallee Research Station, Walpeup, between 1985 and 1989 to evaluate the impact of conservation farming practices on wheat yields. The first experiment compared wheat crops established by direct drilling into a chemical fallow with those conventionally sown into a cultivated fallow. Over the 5 years, yields ranged from 1.31 to 3.24 t/ha, and there was no reduction in crop yield associated with chemical fallowing and direct drilling compared with the cultivated fallow. There was also no significant effect of the chemical fallow on the amount of water conserved in the soil at sowing, at depth 0-100 cm; the range was 206-274 mm water. The second experiment from 1987 to 1989 examined the effect of maintaining 4 rates of stubble (0, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0 t/ha) on the surface of a conventionally cultivated long fallow. Stubble maintained at 2 t/ha increased the amount of water stored in the soil at sowing, at depth 0-140 cm, by 16 mm in 1 year of 3. This increase in soil water availability was not reflected in increased crop yield. These findings indicate that erosion control and potentially lower production costs associated with direct drilling and stubble retention can be achieved without loss of wheat yield in the Victorian Mallee.

publication date

  • 1993