Grower Solutions research

Posted in PulseCheck–Coastal on Mar 14, 2019

Grower Solutions Group research – Coastal and Hinterlands

The GRDC Grower Solutions Groups – Coastal and Hinterland conduct a range of activities aimed at overcoming constraints and making the most of opportunities for grain and pulse production in these higher rainfall zones. Three case studies have been published so far:

  1. Developing a robust irrigated mungbean cropping system – Burdekin Case Study
  2. Managing heavy clay soils to improve grain cropping in a high rainfall environment using hilling and raised beds – North Coast NSW Case Study
  3. Mill-mud coated legumes – the new delicacy or misplaced effort? – Coastal Burnett Case Study

Burdekin mungbean irrigation

Developing A Robust Irrigated Mungbean Cropping System Case Study

Mungbean has a good fit into sugar cane rotations in the Burdekin's irrigated farming systems. This project looked at row configurations that supported the highest yield.

  • In a single experiment planting three rows of mungbean on a furrow irrigated sugar cane bed configuration (1.52m wide, 38cm row width on top of bed) increased grain yield by 20% in the machine harvested plots compared with the established spacing of two rows per bed (76cm row width on top of bed).
  • Greater canopy light interception during pod growth with three rows per bed explained the yield increase.
  • Three rows per bed can only be adopted in soils that will infiltrate water to the centre of the bed. Difficult on silt texture soils.

In suitable soils, the 3-rows per bed configuration is the clear winner.

The risk of insecticide resistance needs to be managed carefully by avoiding multiple applications of the same mode of action throughout the year.

More information:

North Coast NSW heavy clays

Managing heavy clay soils to improve grain cropping in a high rainfall environment HILLING or RAISED BEDS Case Study

The NSW North Coast can experience very heavy rainfall events during summer, often when grain crops are ready to be harvested. Fred Faulkner and Paul Fleming have made changes to their farming practices to manage their heavy clay soils.


Fred Faulkner:

  • used existing machinery to create permanent single row hills renovated after harvest
  • reduces tillage and limits traffic in the crop growing zone
  • adds organic matter via poultry manure; and
  • retains stubble and utilises green manure crops

Raised Beds

Paul Fleming:

  • laser levelled and implemented a well designed drainage plan to remove excess water
  • created permanent raised beds (two or four rows on top of the beds) that accommodate a range of crops and machinery
  • uses GPS guidance for controlled traffic
  • maintains groundcover on the beds to keep soil covered
  • hilling and raised beds
More information:

Coastal Burnett mill mud for legumes

After three years of trials of applying mill-mud in peanut cropping systems, results indicate that no significant difference in yield or grade was obtained.

While there may be significant sugarcane yield improvements through the addition of mill-mud to the soil in the fallow, there was no evidence to suggest that peanut crops would benefit from mill-mud being applied pre-plant.

No productivity or profitability gains were achieved through millmud application prior to peanut sowing as either broadcast, banded or slotted at depth, over the three years of trials.

There was no evidence from these experiments to justify the cost of mill-mud application. All three experiments showed that the costs of mill-mud application would have a negative effect on the peanut crop gross margin comparative to the control.

A sugarcane rotation has now been planted at Trial site 3 (as part of an SRA-funded project) to assess the impact these soil ameliorations may have on the subsequent cane crops, and essentially close the loop of the farming system in the Coastal Burnett region.

More information


GRDC Project Code: DAQ00204

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