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Managing crop differences in soil water extraction and legacy impacts within a farming system

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Bell, L., Kirkegaard, J., Whish, J., Swan, T., Dunn, M., Brooke, G., Anderson, B., Aisthorpe, D., Baird, J. and Erbacher, A. (2021) Managing crop differences in soil water extraction and legacy impacts within a farming system. GRDC Update .


Article Link: https://grdc.com.au/resources-and-publications/grd...


Take home message Shorter season, faster maturing crops can leave residual surface water from unutilised late season rain and/or residual deep water due to shallower roots and quicker maturity
Legumes such as lentils, fababeans, field pea, and chickpea often leave 20-40 mm extra residual soil water compared to canola and winter cereals
Higher residual water may not remain at sowing of next crop – fallow efficiency differences between crops and seasons can influence this – e.g. low cover after legumes
For summer crops, mungbean typically leaves 20mm more residual water than sorghum/maize while cotton leaves 20mm less (i.e. mungbean > sorghum/maize > cotton)
Early-sown, slower maturing crops (e.g. early sown winter crops) can dry the profile deeper (>2m) and utilise deep stored soil to support higher yield in dry springs. The legacy of drier soil may warrant changes to crop sequence and management to avoid yield penalties
Extra residual water at sowing can increase grain yield of subsequent crops when water is limited during the critical period for yield determination so the marginal WUE (i.e. extra yield per mm of extra soil water available) can be very high (>60kg/ha/mm)
As the value of the residual water is seasonally dependent, understanding how management (crop choice, sowing dates, N management) can be adjusted to capture value from such legacies across a sequence of crops is the goal of current farming systems research.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Keywords:sorghum, maize, cotton, mungbean, water-use-efficiency, soil, yield, systems
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Methods and systems of culture. Cropping systems
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Improvement, reclamation, fertilisation, irrigation etc., of lands (Melioration)
Plant culture > Field crops
Plant culture > Field crops > Sorghum
Live Archive:09 Jun 2021 02:08
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:46

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