Spading brings benefits

by admin on August 24th, 2018

filed under 南京夜网

SOIL STRENGTH: Kimba cropper Trevor Cliff in a wheat paddock that was spaded this year to incorporate clay and organic matter into the soil.
Nanjing Night Net

WHEN harvesting a newly-purchased property in 2011, Kimba cropper Trevor Cliff said his yield monitor did a strange thing.

“Theprevious owners had spaded a small patch of the paddock several years earlier, so every time the harvester went across that ground, the yield monitor would go berserk (increase dramatically),” he said.

Despite previously hearing aboutthe benefits of spading, Mr Cliff was hesitant because of theexpensive clay spreading they had recently undertaken.

“But the results were too good to ignore,” he said.

A spader is a digging machine that mixes soil thoroughly up to 40 centimetres, enabling the incorporation ofclay, stubble, green manure, fertiliser and/or trace elements.

Early last year Mr Cliffsaid they decided to invest in their ownFarmax spader, with theirclay spread paddocks the first target.

“The aim was toincorporate that clay band deeper into the soil,” he said.

They followed the spader immediately with the seeder last season, withthe risk ofsoil erosion in mind.

“The process still technically works up the ground and we wanted to avoid drift, so we made sure there was enoughmoisture toallow the crops to establish and stabilise the soil,” Mr Cliff said.

They spaded about140 hectares in the first year, mainly sandy soils, which were sown toKordwheat.

At harvest, the spaded paddock yielded an extra0.5 tonnes/hato 0.8t/ha, which encouraged Mr Cliff to proceed.

They have sincespaded more than300ha, with mainly clay and organic matter, but also some trace elementsincluding copper and zinc.

But spading isa process thatwillrequirefurther fine-tuning.

“We are still trying to find out whether different soils prefer different spading depths, whether lighter soils prefer shallow spading, because of it being prone to erosion, so we still have a lot to learn,” Mr Cliff said.

“We have been lucky the past few winters in that crops have emerged quite quickly, reducing the chances of drift, but that may not happen every year.”

Mr Cliff said the ultimate goal was tospade and seed at the same time.“It isexpensive to set-up so we will look more into it in the next two to three years,” he said.

Thepreviouslyspaded wheat paddocks were sown to lupins this year,tocompare withnon-spaded lupin paddocks.Mr Cliff and wifeKerri, with son Randall and long-timefarm assistantTrevor Clifford,crop 4200ha of owned and leased landnear Kimba.The no-till operationincludeswheat, barley, lupins, peas, canola and oats for export.

New varieties were being trialled on-farm this year, including Sceptre wheat, which is grown alongside longer-growingCutlass, ClearfieldKord and high-yielding Mace.

The season is going well, with 50 millimetres to90mm of rain beforeseedingand140-150mm so far for the growing season.​

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