Stubble Management Guidelines available for the Riverine Plains region

27 November 2018

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Stubble Management Guidelines for the Riverine Plains region

Managing the stubble left over from cereal crops is a perennial problem for grain growers in the Riverine Plains region.

While stubble loads in 2018 are generally much lighter than usual due to the impact of the dry conditions and the salvaging of frost damaged crops, stubble management remains an important consideration heading in to next season.

“Farmers know that stubble retention has many benefits, including rainfall capture and storage over the summer fallow, protection from wind and water erosion and the improvement of soil structure” explained Riverine Plains Inc Research and Extension Officer, Dr Cassandra Schefe.

“But on the other hand, high stubble loads can also increase the frequency of blockages at sowing, affect establishment and increase disease carryover between crops” she said.

“For this reason, Riverine Plains Inc undertook a significant amount of research into the effectiveness of stubble management techniques as part of the GRDC investment Maintaining Profitable Farming Systems with Retained Stubble in the Riverine Plains project said Cassandra

The project, which ran from 2013-2018, delivered a number of key findings, including that no-till stubble retained systems generally yielded as well, or better, than stubble management systems which involved burning, cultivation or additional nitrogen at sowing with cultivation, except where stubble loads were extremely high at some location (as in 2016).

To support the outcomes of the project, Riverine Plains Inc has developed a series of stubble management guidelines specifically for grain growers.

The guidelines cover topics such as how to manage stubble at harvest, techniques for successfully sowing into stubble, the strategic management of crops grown in stubble-retained systems, as well as the impacts of stubble on soil carbon.

The guidelines also refer to results of the trials undertaken throughout the life of the project, which makes them especially relevant for farmers in the Riverine Plains region.

“In terms of stubble management, we often talk about the need for sowing preparation to start at harvest time, so now definitely is a good time to be accessing these Guidelines in preparation for 2019” added Cassandra.

The guidelines are available for download from A limited number of hardcopies are available by request from the Riverine Plains Inc office by phoning 03 5744 1713 or emailing

Riverine Plains Inc acknowledges the support of the GRDC and our project partner FAR Australia in delivering this project and the resulting stubble management guidelines.

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit


More Information or Interview:

Dr Cassandra Schefe, Riverine Plains Inc (03 5744 1713)