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Spring sowing in the Wheatbelt for animal and crop production

Spring sowing in the Wheatbelt for animal and crop production

  • Author: Wheatbelt NRM
  • Date Posted: Mar 8, 2017
  • Category:

Project Details

Project Delivery: Wheatbelt NRM, AgInnovate, Private Land holders

Contact: Fiona Brayshaw

Ph: 9670 3100


 Website: Wheatbelt NRM Website

Start Date: 2016                     End Date: 2017

Site ID: SA01314SA1

Area (Ha): 42 ha at Pingelly site & 5 ha at Cunderdin site

Project Aim


Grain and Graze have shown in trials in the Eastern States and on the South Coast of WA, that sowing winter type crop varieties in spring can better utilize summer rain to provide summer/autumn grazing for livestock, and harvestable grain in the following spring. Winter types have a vernalisation requirement, that is, they need to get cold before they flower, and therefore suit spring sowing as they will not flower until after the following winter. It has also been shown that there are advantages of incorporating summer forage crops in the mixed farming system.

Most paddocks grazed in the WA Wheatbelt in summer and autumn are crop stubbles or dry pasture paddocks. Sowing summer crops, e.g. sorghum and millet are practices that have been utilized in WA especially after summer rainfall events. The feed produced by summer crops has been used successfully to improve the nutritional status of grazing livestock. Millet and sorghum have been grown on a small scale in the Wheatbelt, but have also tended to be grown closer to the coast where the rainfall is higher and the summer temperatures are cooler.

This project will test the establishment and growth of winter grain and summer legume crop varieties further inland (on two sites Pingelly & Cunderdin) where the growing season is shorter and summer temperatures are hotter. If the trial is successful, it may allow our traditionally winter farming system to take advantage of summer rainfall.

Varieties to be trialed:

Global Sunn is a new summer growing forage legume that fixes nitrogen, which may improve the yields of the following crops.

Super Dan 2 is a sudan grass hybrid, especially suited to grazing by sheep.

Winter type crops Hyola 970 canola and Manning wheat have both been grown using autumn sowing in WA, but not in spring in the WA wheatbelt, where they will have to survive in a hot dry climate.

Key Questions to be answered in this research:

  1. That winter type grain crops can be seeded in the Wheatbelt in spring and survive over summer to grow successfully in the following season.
  2. That there are viable grazing opportunities and harvestable grain for these winter types in a hotter drier environment than previously tested.
  3. That leguminous summer crops sown in spring provide benefits apart from grazing to the following autumn sown crop, when compared to a more traditional grass type forage crop.


Project Outputs

Project outputs will be added once the trial has been completed.

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