Dry sowing


Type: Factsheet
Knowledge level: Intermediate

Farm Table says:

Dry sowing is a means of getting crops sown on time in seasons with a delayed break. You must sow on time if you want to get the best yield, so if the time comes and it hasn’t rained, consider sowing dry!

This fact sheet was produced by NSW DPI in 1999 to assist with the management of seeding in dry times.

The biggest risk of failure when dry sowing pulse crops is the survival of rhizobia and subsequent nodulation.

Narrowleaf lupins sown into a paddock with a history of lupins are the safest pulse crop to try. The risk of nodulation failure is greatly reduced where a background population of rhizobia is present in the soil.

Broadleaf weed control is the other key factor to consider when dry sowing. Limited post-emergent broadleaf herbicides are available for chickpeas and faba beans so careful paddock choice and timely use of a pre-emergent herbicide is essential.

The key sections of this fact sheet include:

  • Why dry sow?
  • Paddock selection
  • Rhizobia survival
  • weed management
  • seeding machinery
  • Sowing—date, rate, depth and row spacing

The fact sheet includes a case study from Trundle district farmers, Peter and Catherine Ledger, “Argyle Downs.

Peter recommends

  • dry sow into stubble
  • use narrow points
  • pick paddock with a low weed burden
  • sow on the early side
  • use press wheels if possible.

From experience Peter suggests:

  • avoid fallow paddocks that have soil structure or drainage problem
  • retain standing stubble and only graze it lightly if neccessary
  • look at your management if dry sowing fails—it probably isn’’t the dry sowing!


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1999 - Australia - NSW DPI
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