Brown Manures, Cover Crops and Long Fallows

GRDC - Author: Chris Minehan (RMS Farm Business Consultants)

Type: Research Paper
Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

The authors of this paper note in the conclusion: “There are benefits of replacing a grain cash crop with a non-grain crop accrue, both at the paddock level and at the broader farm business level, especially when a system is adopted across a portion of farm area each year. Benefits may compound by following a brown manure or non-grain crop option with another break crop, such as canola. This ‘double-break’ is extremely effective at managing grass weeds and cereal root diseases. Positioning canola after a brown manure or long fallow also decreases risk for canola by providing additional nitrogen and PAW, ensuring canola is more likely to be established at the correct time.”. Please access the full paper via the link below if this research interests you.

Brown Manures, Cover Crops and Long Fallows – How Decreasing Crop Intensity Can Reduce Costs and Risk, While Increasing Profit – Case Study

The take home messages from this GRDC funded research are below. Please access the full paper via the link below for methodology, references, acknowledgements and discussion.

  • Reducing crop intensity can reduce variable costs and risk, while increasing profit
  • Use a long-term, systems approach when considering a brown manure, cover crop or long fallow. Many of the benefits from this appear two to three years later
  • ‘Problem’ paddocks with weed or soil fertility issues are the best place to start, as these are often unprofitable when cropped, so opportunity cost is minimal.

 

Figure 1. Yield map of paddocks highlighting difference in yield between brown manure fields and rest of the property.

2020 - Australia - GRDC - Author: Chris Minehan (RMS Farm Business Consultants)
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