Improving the profitability & sustainability of Esperance port zone grain growers

Summer cropping demonstrations in the Esperance Port Zone

Project Timelines:  March 2018 - February 2020

There have been many trials already done in the past in the Esperance Port Zone investigating summer cropping. However, with the increase in soil amelioration work in the region, growers are further interested in exploring options for using summer crops as a break crop (weed control) and to increase profitability in the higher rainfall areas. The high decile years can result in the biggest financial losses to cropping enterprises that have low lying areas exhibiting shallow duplex soil types along the coastal sandplain for around 150km to the east and west of the Esperance town site. Areas further inland also suffer from waterlogging where they are low-lying and form ponds in paddocks.
Therefore, the SEPWA trials committee is just as interested in the benefits of weed control by using summer crops. A summer crop may reduce the issue of waterlogging in mildly wet years, but generally the consensus among most growers on the committee was that it only impacted around 20cm of the soil profile and was often more trouble than it was worth.
However, growers who also have livestock may find more financial benefit and this will also be documented as part of the project. This project will focus on 2 sites in the EPZ. A number of growers, including Steads at Cascade and Longmires at Beaumont have sown summer crops in 2017 and these will be used as case studies and preferred locations in the project in 2018 and 2019.
DPIRD's David Hall, Tom Edwards and Mark Seymour will provide technical input in the project and they sit on the SEPWA trials committee, along with agronomists Luke Marquis (SEAR) and Greg Warren (Farm and General) who have also said they will provide technical expertise where needed.
Measurements will be done for: Soil tests in March (to find any other barriers); penetrometer tests to find compaction issues; Greenseeker NDVI over sites will be done to determine crop growth and density differences; harvest yield results (this can be done using either the SEPWA weigh trailer or using header data) and then an economic analysis will be carried out by SEPWA projects officers in conjunction with Farmanco’s Ben Curtis.
The project will be managed by a team of project officers at SEPWA - including Niki Curtis, Nigel Metz, Bill Sharp, Aidan Sinnott, Michelle Handley and a graduate could also be employed to work alongside SEAR (Luke Marquis) who will be involved with the design and implementation of the trials as they have already installed the 2017 trials on the properties.

For more information, please contact Aidan Sinnott at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Michelle Handley at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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