Seeder-based approaches to mitigate the effects of sandy-soil constraints

Desbiolles J1, McBeath T2, Barr J1, Fraser M3, Macdonald L2, Wilhelm N4, Llewellyn R2

1 University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes, SA, 5095,, 
2 CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Urrbrae, SA, 5064,
3 Primary Industries Resources South Australia, Struan, SA, 5271,
4 South Australian Research and Development Institute, Urrbrae South Australia, Australia


Solutions to mitigate the impacts of soil constraints, such as annual interventions at seeding, offer lower cost alternatives to full profile amelioration options. The concept of a fertility strip over a permanent seed row zone has been investigated since 2017 at a low fertility sandy site, using a range of mineral (clay, fertiliser) and organic (composted manure, biochar) inputs into the furrow at sowing. 0.5 t/ha grain yield responses to edge-row sowing with a further 0.4-0.6 t/ha in yield responses to 200 mm deep-furrow till have been achieved. An evaluation of 13 different soil wetter treatments at a severely water-repellent site showed the potential to more than double wheat establishment and generate up to 21% (or 0.22 t/ha) grain yield response, as a result. The data also suggest specific soil wetter chemistries may promote later season effects associated with specific yield gains. Discrete Element Method computer simulations of soil/tool interactions are also being investigated to guide the modifications of furrow openers and seed banding attachments to better control furrow backfill in water-repellent soil environments and secure seed placement into underlying moisture.


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University

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