Key constraints to irrigated wheat yields in the southern Murray-Darling basin.

Sam North1, Alex Schultz1 and Don Griffin1

1 NSW DPI, 449 Charlotte St, Deniliquin, NSW, 2710, website, Email


Grower surveys indicate there is a 2 t/ha yield gap between expected “average” and “best ever” yields of irrigated wheat in the irrigation areas of the southern Murray-Darling Basin. This project aimed to determine the major reasons for this discrepancy. Sixty four commercial wheat crops were monitored over a three year period (2014-2016) across a range of soil types and irrigation systems. The results of this monitoring showed that 64% of irrigated wheat crops in southern NSW and northern Victoria are not achieving close to their water-limited yield potential. Four key yield constraints were identified: waterlogging, drought stress, late sowing and wide row spacing. Better paddock drainage, more timely and better scheduled irrigations, sowing early in the window, and matching row spacing to the target yield, are the key messages for irrigators.



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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