Ever crop for low rainfall areas


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Ever crop for low rainfall areas

  1. 1. EverCrop Aims To develop improved farming systems for the crop-livestock zone i li t k incorporating perennials f ti i l for increased profit and NRM benefits Address constraints to adoption of perennials Develop tools to assist in evaluating and developing the role of perennials in crop crop- livestock systems: EverCrop Decide 2
  2. 2. The EverCrop Project EC Decide Robertson, Lawes, Moore et al WA: Medium NSW: U o S Uniform rainfall zone Rainfall Zone Ferris, Ward, D Dear, Li, Hayes, P olling et al eoples et al SA-Vic: Low-rainfall zone Whitbread, Llewellyn, Davoren, H arris et al 3
  3. 3. Agronomy go o y Farmer Local research Adaptation Adoptability Groups evaluation Modelling research On-farm adaptive R&D Better understood and more adoptable FS changes 4
  4. 4. Mixed farmers with low-yield, high-risk cropping soils seeking viable perennial option… Alan Buckley, Waikerie “No-till and stubble retention has meant that I can manage my sand and get good reliable yields from it” “I’m now concentrating cropping inputs on my reliable cropping zones and grazing the marginal zones I’m looking for possibilities for the land I don’t want to crop that will provide forage value and cover?” cover? Has tried saltbush – wants a better option for lamb enterprise 5
  5. 5. Forage shrub plantings: where and how much in the SA Mallee Saltbush plantings Roger Lawes Nat Raisbeck- Brown Rick Llewellyn 90cm aerial imagery (Oct 2008) + Terrain analysis Groundtruthed Dec 2009 (66 sites): + 5% – 5% error Murray Mallee LAP Region 6
  6. 6. Forage shrub plantings: Murray Mallee 124 farm blocks with forage shrubs (almost entirely saltbush) 41% of farm blocks with saltbush had only 1 patch 11% had 3 patches On farm blocks with some saltbush: Median 13ha per farm block (ave 2.7% of farm block) Totals to 3070 ha forage shrub (3413 ha of saltbush subsidised by MM LAP over past decade) 75% planted on ‘dune’ 7
  7. 7. EverCrop Low Rainfall Mallee Waikerie MSF Site Forage shrub production b soil t F h b d ti by il type +Perennial Enrich site (Davoren, SAMDBNRM) Grass options MMLAP Pasture cropping options Werrimull Vic Site: new shrubs Vs annual options by soil type (Harris) Research into existing forage shrub stands Spatial S ti l approach – potential land class areas h t ti l l d l Mallee MIDAS 8
  8. 8. Analysis of the p y potential value of perennials in Mallee mixed-farming systems p g y Spatial and soil-specific potential Whole-farm analyses Determinants of perennial profitability and -Effective land management units and production potential use potential (Whitbread, Jones, Llewellyn et al) Mallee MIDAS Options for Cropping Options for Marginal Land Land Fodder shrub Simulating fodder Reducing Production production shrub performance establishment potential of pasture potential by soil over soils and costs of perennial options and climate seasons p pasture legumes g - Pasture growth curve -Toposequence - Lucerne establishment modelling experiment (Whitbread) trials (Vic DPI) (Whitbread, Harris) -Existing stand analysis -Species mixtures (Emms; Species SARDI) -Waikerie Enrich site EverCrop (Davoren) Activities - Millewa Landcare fodder Perennial grass shrub trial options New low rainfall (Whitbread New fodder shrub species Partner legumes (CRC) Mallee WUE Project BCG) Saline Grazing project (GRDC) development- Enrich (CRC) Systems projects Activities (CRC)
  9. 9. “In the Mallee, can perennial, annual or mixed forage options incorporated into the farming system, particularly in the marginal parts of the landscape, improve overall resilience and p p , p profitability?” y 10
  10. 10. Atriplex semibaccata (Creeping Saltbush)
  11. 11. What are the options/productivity/tradeoffs for incorporating perennials into low lo rainfall cropping systems s stems Poor performing areas that remain in the cropping program •Managed as the rest of the paddock with lower inputs (Precision Agriculture) •Planted as an annual system but managed/utilised separately from the paddock (e g In season system, (e.g. grazing and potentially growing grain in good seasons) •Planted to low growing perennials (grazed or ungrazed) Areas where land use changes •Alley systems (fodder-shrub cropping) on wide rows with opportunity pastures/cereals •New multi-spp forage shrub systems •New pasture based systems (including no-kill, pasture cropping)
  12. 12. Determining the performance of saltbush and other potential new shrub systems s stems for the land t pes of the lo rainfall Mallee region types low Modelling the growth of fodder shrubs Empirical – relationships between rainfall, soil type, landscape position and growth rate/water use (Hobbs et al. 2009 Florasearch – contain examples of such data), but developing the predictive capacity for performance across landtype and interaction/competition with other spp/crops not possible. Mechanistic – develops an understanding of the process of plant growth, therefore the factors (water, nutrients, radiation, temperature) that determine growth rate/water use under optimal conditions (develops the relationships) and then modifies them for the real world stresses (water/nutrient/light/temp) Our approach is to use existing APSIM model capability and develop a generic fodder shrub model for modelling saltbush and other spp - apply to more diverse questions/scenarios • location in the landscape x growth rate • analyse the potential for wide row alley systems, competition between spp. • comparisons with the fodder options • potential for C sequestration, water use • derive the simpler empirical models of growth rate x rainfall x soil type
  13. 13. Example o modelling to a field sca e quest o a p e of ode g e d scale question Block Edge Competition Protected Open Paddock Zone Zone Wind Speed 0 5 10 15 20 Distance (tree heights) • Tradeoffs between a tree plantation bordering cropping land • Benefits of trees on wind speed, reduced drainage, • In a semi arid environment competition for water semi-arid environment,
  14. 14. Determining the performance of saltbush and other potential new shrub systems s stems for the land t pes of the lo rainfall Mallee region types low Experiment 1: Saltbush model development of growth rate from planting to 1 year old using destructive techniques….model regrowth q g Aim: Collect parameter datasets for building the APSIM-saltbush model by measuring a saltbush growth rate experiment and measuring non-destructively height, width, (stem diameter) and edible drymatter (Adelaide technique) and destructively stem/leaf mass, root mass, LAI. Method: An irrigated trial containing de cock and eyres g g g y green was established June 2009. It is has been measured 4 Nov, 22 Dec, 18Feb.
  15. 15. Determining the performance of saltbush and other potential new shrub systems s stems for the land t pes of the lo rainfall Mallee region types low Experiment 2: Aim: Measure the performance (g p (growth rate, water use) of saltbush and Rhagodia p , ) g preisii across a dune-swale landscape Method: An landscape trial containing Saltbush (de cock) and Rhagodia preisii was established May-June 2009 on 4 m rows. It is has been measured 4 Nov, 22 Dec, 18Feb. (DM-Adelaide y , , ( technique, height, width). Other established saltbush plantations on various landtypes are also being measured for biomass annually
  16. 16. The potential of summer-growing grasses to fill feed gaps in t e Victorian Mallee eed the cto a a ee Work initiated by BCG under “Perennial Profit in the Mallee Wimmera” Perennial Wimmera NLP & Mallee CMA /Evercrop • Species Audit by Pengelly et al. 2006 • Sowing date:10 November 2006 • 6 grasses and 1 legume Panicum maximum cvv. Gatton and Petrie cvv Panicum coloratum cvv. Bambatsi and ATF714 Digitaria milanjiana cv. Strickland Bothriochloa bladhii ssp. Glabra (Swann) Desmanthus virgatus cv. Marc CSIRO.
  17. 17. Plant numbers a t u be s 2 Table 4. Establishment (pl/m ) counts made in March 2008, April 2009 and Feb 2010 for all varieties (M i ti (Mean of sowing rates). f i t ) 2008 establishment (plants/m2) Gatton Petrie Bambatsi ATF-714 Strickland Marc LSD 2008 23.5 23 5 14.0 14 0 15.0 15 0 8.1 81 19.1 19 1 12.5 12 5 8.6 86 2009 4.7 4.1 6.5 10.6 2.5 1.9 2.7 2010 5.9 4 5.8 10.9 2.3 1.8 - CSIRO.
  18. 18. April 2009 p 009 CSIRO.
  19. 19. Dry matter production- measured y atte p oduct o easu ed Figure 1. Biomass measured at June 2007, March 2008, 2009, Jan 2010 CSIRO.
  20. 20. 80 Dry matter production- simulated y atte p oduct o s u ated day 60 Daily growth rate (kg DM/ha/d Mean 40 25 percentile r median 75 percentile 20 0 Figure J J A S O N D J F M A M 1a
  21. 21. Co c us o s t op ca s Conclusions-tropicals • The potential for filling critical “autumn” feedgaps was the motivation behind this work. • Simulation has shown that September to December is the period of most rapid growth and provided that pasture quality can be and, maintained, there is potential for this feed to carry over for use later in summer • Wh Where annual medics or other legumes can b grown i thi l di th l be in this pasture system there may be benefits arising from improved nitrogen cycling, feed quality and ground cover CSIRO.
  22. 22. Future Work (new phase…) Species evaluation-larger scale, grazed • Testing the most promising subtropical spp. (Panicum coloratum cvv. Bambatsi and ATF714) under larger and grazed commercial p plantings g • Sown or self regenerating pastures -some summer growing grasses native to the Mallee (Austrodanthonia spp. Speargrass Stipa spp, Windmill grass Chloris truncata and purple p p pp, g p p plume grass, Dichelachne spp.) • Other Spp identified by Enrich (e.g. Cullen, A. semibaccata) Testing and demonstrating new systems • Field testing of novel systems such as pasture-cropping • Fodder shrub mixes and/or inter-row options for wide plantings • Feed year planning and animal enterprises of new systems Data for future analysis • Basic growth rate/seed regeneration data for medics, lucerne g g ,
  23. 23. Time