Incorporating crop residues (stubble) after harvest and adding soil nutrients (fertiliser) is thought to increase soil carbon. However, this has not been quantified over a range of soil types, climates and farming systems. The impact of this practice on grain yield and soil carbon in broad acre cropping was tested in a large collaborative project undertaken by a consortium of farming systems and grower groups, extension personnel and researchers. The project: 1. gauged growers’ attitudes to the benefits of stubble management and carbon farming; 2. determined the need for, and provided training in soil carbon and biology; and 3. conducted a field experiment to measure the impact of stubble incorporation and nutrient addition on soil carbon and grain yield at 14 sites from the eastern wheat-belt central NSW to south-west Victoria. Most growers were sceptical of stubble incorporation as a technique for sequestering carbon but recognised the need to quantify benefits and costs. Integration of stubble incorporation must provide financial returns and flexibility in farming systems. Growers were keen to undertake broad training in soil biology rather than focusing on soil carbon alone. The field experiment had variable success and identified the needs of such an ambitious approach to research. These are: clear experimental protocols, careful site selection, excellent communication, sufficient resources, and the clear definition of the roles and responsibilities of partners. We identify both the benefits and problems of a collaborative consortium. The engaged partners are keen to further develop this model for future collaboration.
|Conference||17th Australian Agronomy Conference|
|Abbreviated title||Building Productive, Diverse and Sustainable Landscapes|
|Period||20/09/15 → 24/09/15|