INITIAL observations from trials comparing deep ripping treatments will be included in the information presented at Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) open forums in the Esperance port zone.
South East Premium Wheat Growers Association (SEPWA) project officer Aidan Sinnott will discuss local GRDC Ripper Gauge trials at GRDC open forums at Dunn Rock on Monday, July 23 and Munglinup and Condingup on Tuesday, July 24.
These events, co-ordinated through the GRDC’s Regional Cropping Solutions Network (RCSN) are part of 15 forums that will be held in July and August across the grainbelt.
Growers will learn about GRDC investment and can talk to researchers leading local RCSN projects, as well GRDC Western Regional Panel members and RCSN representatives.
GRDC grower relations manager Jo Wheeler said the Esperance Ripper Gauge trials were among several being conducted over three years across all WA port zones, starting from 2018.
“The aim of this short-term, WA-focused investment is to increase grower knowledge about tools used for and implications of deep ripping to help alleviate non-wetting soils, compaction and waterlogging on various soil types and in different farming systems,” Ms Wheeler said.
“The West Midlands Group is co-ordinating the Ripper Gauge project in WA and is also conducting trials in the Kwinana and Geraldton port zones.
SEPWA is carrying out trials in the Esperance port zone and the Stirlings to Coast Farmers Group is doing research in the Albany port zone.
“Sites are on common soil types within each port zone and the work is investigating options to ameliorate multiple soil constraints such as compaction, subsurface acidity and surface non-wetting,” she said.
“Some of the treatments include deep working seeding points, deep ripping, inversion ploughing, rotary spading, delving and grower practice.”
Mr Sinnott said SEPWA had five demonstration sites in the Esperance port zone.
The Mount Madden and Coomalbidgup sites are built on previously established grower trial work and the Cascade and Neridup sites are built on previously established trials conducted with Council of Grain Grower Organisations funding.
SEPWA had also established a new trial site at Salmon Gums.
Mr Sinnott said the very dry and windy start to the 2018 cropping season in the Esperance region had resulted in poor germination and establishment of cereals and canola in most deep ripped trial plots when compared with the undisturbed control treatments.
“Conditions were detrimental to achieving a good germination rate on most of the ripped plots, due to evaporation caused by soil disturbance,” Mr Sinnott said.
“The Coomalbidgup trial site received more rain than the other locations and there was good crop germination at this site on all plots, including the ameliorated treatments.”
The GRDC Ripper Gauge project is being conducted in conjunction with the longer-term western region GRDC investment Subsoil constraints – understanding and management and is one of 23 new short-term western region development and extension investments that commenced in 2018.