Harvest management of stubble case study: James Butt, Condobolin NSW.
Overview: Property owner: James and Orlana Butt
Enterprises: Cropping and fat lambs.
Soil: Heavy red loam through to lighter sandy red loams.
James and Orlana farm 4500 ha of dry land country north of Condobolin and have concentrated mainly on cropping in the past, but are currently building lamb numbers to diversify. Currently the program is 80% cropping and 20% fat lambs.
After a pasture phase the first crop in the rotation is usually wheat, followed by wheat, barley and lupins in the final phase. This can vary due to the season and markets.
James uses an air seeder with auto steer, 12 inch spacing and knife points (to provide some tilth under the seed), so stubble load is rarely a problem during the subsequent cropping season.
If the stubble load is too heavy and looks to cause problems it is generally burnt or cultivated.
James prefers to sow across the stubble rows of the previous crop rather than inter-row sow.
Harvest stubble management
Because stubble loads in his area are generally not overly dense in most years James doesn’t worry too much about stubble height at harvest. His main concern is getting the grain off as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Their contractors have the capacity to provide paddock mapping but it isn’t a tool James uses at this stage. He is looking into what benefits it can provide into the future.
Weeds & disease
With memories of parthenium weed being brought into NSW from Queensland based headers James prefers to use local contractors that don’t travel into Queensland.
Relationship with harvest contractors:
James and Orlana employ the same contractors from Temora every year. They like the fact they don’t have to wait for contractors to finish crops in the north before doing their crop, both for timeliness of operation and bio security measures.
Biosecurity is paramount with the contractors they employ and the headers are often cleaned for two days before moving between properties.
Project Name: Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble in Central West NSW
Project Number: CWF00018