Project Delivery: Busselton Marybrook Potato Grower Group
Contact: Peter Clifton (SWCC – Bunbury). Ph: 9724 2469. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: SWCC Sustainable Agriculture
Start Date: June 2014 End Date: Dec 2017
Site ID: SF15
Size Are Ha: 17
To identify a rotation system that improves soil health recovery, yield and skin finish and reduces inputs. Different cover crops will be trialed and compare to the current clover/ryegrass rotation .
‘Visual quality is a big issue for us and results in a lot of wasted product. We think it’s linked to soil health. A few guys have started to increase organic matter and have had good results. I’ve also found that if you crop a bit of virgin ground that’s never had potatoes before, you usually get a good crop and a good clean product. So it appears that soil health is imperative.’ – Vaughan Carter, participating farmer
The trial will take place on two farms, one with clay loam soils and the other with a sandy loam. In the first year there will be a single treatment (oats cover crop) and a control (current practice: clover and ryegrass) per farm, but a second treatment will be introduced in year 2 (probably a brassica). In Spring the treatment will be mulched and the control sprayed out in preparation for a potato crop in January/February.
The following variables will be monitored:
- Soil nutrients (major and minor), pH, EC, Soil OM,
- Soil structure indices including clod dispersibility.
- Crop nutrient status (petiole samples) at key growth stages: initiation and tuber bulking.
- Crop yield and quality of product.
- Cover crop and pasture (current practice) nutrient content
- WA Grower article page 30, published December 2015, based on Field Walk Two, 27 August 2015.
- Caliente Case study: Some group members have started to trial caliente as a biofumigant cover crop. SWCC went to a Soil Wealth field day in Manjimup on 17 September 2015 to see how David East Grows caliente. Here is a 2-page report on David’s operation.
- Field Walk Three – 2 November 2016: Read trial update based on previous work updated with information from Field Walk Three here.
This project is supported by Potato Research WA.
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