Farm Table says:
What is the problem?
Seeding systems are an integral part of any modern farm and choosing the right system has implications in terms of financial outlay and production.
In the year 2000 the Hart Field-Site Group purchased their own land and saw the opportunity to set up a commercial scale, long-term trial focusing on the then current and newer seeding technology
What did the research involve?
The trial consists of three seeding systems (combination of seeder type, cultivation and stubble management) and two nutrition regimes replicated at the Hart field site.
- strategic – often worked up pre-seeding, sown with 100 mm (4 inch) wide points at 200 mm (8 inch) row spacing with finger harrows. For the past 16 seasons this trial has been sown by farmer Michael Jaeschke
- no-till – sown into standing stubble in one pass with a Flexicoil 5000 drill, 16mm knife points with 254 mm (9 inch) row spacing and press wheels. This treatment has been sown by a number of seeders and is the most common set up around Hart (farmer story pg 18)
- disc – sown into standing stripper front stubble with John Deere 1980 single discs with row spacings of 152 mm (6 inch), closer wheels and press wheels. This treatment has been sown by Tom and Ashly Robinson for the past four season (farmer story pg 20)
What were the key findings?
The overall outcome from the seeding systems trials has been a good one for farmers. No particular system or nutrition regime has given a consistently higher yield which means that the decision about which seeding system to use has to be for other reasons, such as weed and pest management, speed of sowing or stubble management. This result is reflected across the southern region, where a large variation now exists in stubble management and seeding strategies.
One of the main outcomes from this trial has been the lack of consistent performance in terms of grain yield from any one particular seeding system. In ten out of 16 seasons there has been no significant difference in grain yield among any of the seeding systems. For the other six seasons, the highest yields varied between seeding systems and were not consistent. In seasons where yield differences were observed, growing season rainfall was low and the no-till and disc alone or together outperformed the strategic treatment.