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Summer Crops

Summer Crops

Katanning, Western Australia

  • Author: SWCC
  • Date Posted: Aug 27, 2014
  • Category:
  • Address: Katanning, WA

Project Details

Project Delivery: Katanning Landcare

Contact: Danielle Short (SWCC-Narrogin). Ph 9881 0202. Email:

Website: SWCC Sustainable Agriculture

Start Date:  June 2014                     End Date: Dec 2017

Site ID:  SF3

Size Are Ha: 25


Project Aim

The projects aim is to demonstrate the viability of summer crops (such as black sunflowers, sorghum and millet)  grown in the Katanning region and if they can provide:

– Increased ground-cover through summer following harvest and reduced soil erosion
– Improved soil health
– Reduced soil acidification
– Increased financial viability through a harvestable (profitable) summer crop
– Provide available summer gap feed should crop fail to produce vigorously enough to harvest for profit
– Methods for adjusting practices to allow farmers to be more resilient to effects of climate change (such as increased summer rainfall patterns)


The trial will include 4 trial plots of approximately 5ha each, with a control of similar size for a total of 25ha in this trial. This project will set up five treatments consisting of a control plot of grazed stubble, millet, sorghum, black sunflowers and a blended mix. The trial aims to illustrate how viable these summer crops are and to show how much they impact weed control especially ‘resistant’ weeds, fill the summer feed gap for livestock, maintain groundcover, and assist management of the water-table and salinity management.

By using measurements of standard soil testing, microbial ARISA sampling, and soil bulk density, all done biannually, will allow comparison of soil structure, microbe activity and health. Soil moisture probe done monthly over the summer growing period will monitor moisture availability to the crops.
Monthly visual and photo assessments along with GPS points at six locations will be conducted monthly over the growing period of December to May. A Food on Offer and a Plant protein test and NDFADF taken 6 weeks after planting, 6 weeks after that to ascertain crop health and grazing benefits.


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