Stubble load increases frost severity, duration and damage in frost-prone landscapes in south-western Australia

Ben Biddulph1 Rebecca Smith2, Chloe Turner3 Karyn Reeves4 and Sarah Jackson1

1Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

2 Living Farm.

3 Facey Group

4SAGI West /Curtin University

Corresponding author:


Frost damage across Western Australia’s cropping regions causes annual losses estimated to be between $100 and $300 million each year. This paper reports on results from field experiments in 2014-2016 investigating whether increasing stubble load influences the severity, duration and damage from spring frost events in wheat crops in WA. In most experiments, increasing stubble load increased the severity and duration of spring frost events. Increased stubble load also increased frost damage and resulted in lower grain yield under moderate and severe frost damage conditions.  Reducing stubble load is one tool growers can use as part of a comprehensive frost management plan.


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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