Managing stubble at harvest

New GRDC podcast on pulses featuring Cassie Schefe

GRDC have recently released a podcast on why soil-borne nutrient gives a better response in wheat than introduced fertiliser, with Riverine Plains Inc Research Coordinator, Dr Cassandra Schefe.

During this short 10 minute podcast, Cassandra gives a great rundown on the positive effect pulses can have on soil nitrogen, organic matter, soil carbon and on following crop yields. The podcast also covers the effect of acid soils on pulses and the role that liming and strategic tillage can play in improving the capability of our local production systems.

To listen, go to

Stubble Management Guidelines available for the Riverine Plains region

27 November 2018

Word Count: 427

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)


Paddock Walks – Coreen, Henty, Dookie & Yarrawonga, Aug 1&2


Grain farmers looking to improve the profitability and sustainability of their stubble retained systems are invited to the August series of paddock walks being run by local farming systems group, Riverine Plains Inc.

The paddock walks will take place on August 1 and 2 at on-farm trial sites located near Yarrawonga, Dookie, Coreen and Henty. These trial sites have been established by Riverine Plains Inc as part of a 5 year GRDC project comparing the effect of a number of stubble management strategies on crop growth and development.

Riverine Plains Inc is in the final season of this project and a picture is starting to emerge in terms of how crops respond to the different stubble treatments. The August paddock walks provide a chance for farmers to see how plants in the various stubble treatments have emerged and how well they are responding to various inputs. The walks also provide an opportunity to discuss previous year’s results.

Dr Cassandra Schefe will be facilitating the walks, along with Michael Straight from FAR Australia who will discuss the early season data from the trial plots, and discuss overall trends in early crop development from across the 2014 – 2017 seasons.

Results from the in-canopy temperature sensors installed at the Yarrawonga, Dookie and Coreen sites in 2017, will also be presented.

There will also be a visit to a related demonstration site at Rennie which is looking at practical and economic ways of lowering stubble heights.

The dates for the upcoming on-farm discussion groups are:

  • COREEN – TUESDAY AUGUST 1 9:30am – 12noon. Commencing at Tomlinson Ag’s property, Emu Park Rd, Coreen (gate is on the western side of the channel, between Minns and Straherne roads), before moving on to Adam Davis’ property at Rennie to view the Fast-Track Ag Demonstration Site.
  • HENTY – TUESDAY AUGUST 1 2:00pm – 4.00pm at Peter Campbell’s property. Meet at the sheds, 452 Henty-Pleasant Hills Road, Henty (“Avondale” on the mailbox).
  • YARRAWONGA – WEDNESDAY AUGUST 2 10:00am – 12noon at Telewonga Pty Ltd, 292 Reillys Rd, Yarrawonga.
  • DOOKIE – WEDNESDAY AUGUST 2 1:30pm – 3.30pm at the Ludeman Brothers property, Dookie-Devenish Road (gate is between Dookie-Nalinga Road and Proctors Road), Dookie.

The walks are being held as part of the project Maintaining Profitable Farming Systems with Retained Stubble in the Riverine Plains, funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). The Rennie demonstration site has been established though The Sustainable Agriculture Victoria: Fast-Tracking Innovation initiative, which has been made possible with the support of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) together with the William Buckland Foundation.

The events are free and all are welcome. For more information please contact Cassie at , (03) 5744 1713 / 0419 238 798, download the August Stubble Walks Flyer.


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