A systems approach to break crop selection in low rainfall environments

Sarah Day1, Helena Oakey2, Penny Roberts1

1 South Australian Research and Development Institute, 70 Farrell Flat Road, Clare, SA, 5453, Email: sarah.day@sa.gov.au

2 University of Adelaide, Waite Building, Waite Road, Urrbrae, SA, 5673


Current farming systems in the low rainfall zone of southern Australia are dominated by cereal production. Although the benefits of break crops to the farming system are well known to growers, there is a lack of information available about choosing the break crop best suited to low rainfall farming systems. To address this knowledge gap, trials have been established to assess the performance of different varieties of a range of break crop species at key locations in the southern low rainfall zone. Performance of break crop species varied across environments, but there were strong correlations identified between some environments in a multi-environment trial analysis. Nuseed Diamond canola, PBA Samira faba bean, Volga vetch and PBA Bateman lupin consistently performed well compared to other varieties of their respective crop species. GenesisTM090 chickpea, PBA Striker chickpea, PBA Bolt lentil, PBA Hallmark XT lentil, PBA Butler field pea, PBA Twilight field pea, and PBA Wharton field pea were the top performing varieties for their respective crop species, depending on the environment. Each break crop species has its own unique fit, and available agronomic and paddock information needs to be considered when selecting a break crop option for individual farming systems.



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 david_marland@hotmail.com Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University

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