Submitted to: Australian Farm Journal
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/6/2003
Publication Date: 12/1/2003
Citation: SIEMENS, M.C. CHOPPING PAYS OFF IN HEAVY STUBBLE - US RESULTS. AUSTRALIAN FARM JOURNAL 13(10):50-51. MELBOURNE, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA:AGRICULTURAL PUBLISHERS PTY LTD. 2003.
Technical Abstract: Crop residue on the soil surface makes uniform seedling establishment difficult in conservation tillage systems. To address this issue, various methods of mechanically manipulating crop residue during and post harvest were evaluated to determine their effect on no-till drill performance. The study was conducted in 2000 on a site that yielded 5.7 t/ha of winter wheat the previous year and had approximately 10 t/ha of residue. Residue management methods included leaving tall standing stubble, chopping the residue into pieces of varying lengths, using chaff and straw spreader and choppers, disking, and removing the residue by baling. Spring and winter wheat plots were laid out in a randomized complete block design with four replications and eight treatments in each block. All plots were seeded using a 3-m wide hoe-type no-till drill with 0.30 m row spacing. Drill performance was evaluated by recording stand establishment, plant growth and vigor and crop yield. Results of the study showed that concentrated chaff rows, tall standing stubble and disking reduced stand establishment by as much as 40 percent and yield by 20 percent. In plots where straw and chaff were spread uniformly and chopped into small (<15 cm) pieces, stand establishment, plant growth and crop yield were similar to plots where residue removed by baling. Residue management method can have a significant effect on no-till drill performance in annual crop winter and spring wheat, however adequate performance can be obtained if residue is carefully managed.