by Robert Gill (Area Manager south-west NSW), with thanks to Peter Kaylock.
Crop: Drill sown Koshihikari premium rice
Location: Western Murray Valley, New South Wales
In the 2015/16 season, Rice Research Australia (RRAPL) conducted independent trials on rice using BioAg's Soil & Seed (3 L/Ha) boom sprayed onto rice bays pre plant. Nitrogen was pre-drilled in order to gain optimum establishment.
The result was a 14% yield increase above the control, a grower return of +$600/Ha (1100% ROI on applied product).
Higher rates of Soil & Seed gave correspondingly higher returns.
Subsequent analysis of the data by Robert and the BioAg team confirmed that 4 L/Ha was the preferred rate for an optimum outcome when pre sowing drill sown rice.
Based on these strong results one western Murray Valley grower performed his own trial.
Peter Kaylock’s interest in using Soil & Seed on his drill sown rice started from a meeting with BioAg’s Riverina Agronomy Manager Robert Gill and their discussion of the Rice Research Australia (RRAPL) results.
Peter performed his own large scale trial of Soil & Seed, drill sowing Koshihikari premium rice into Moulamein clay loams on his family property ‘Narrawa, applying 4.0 L/Ha of Soil & Seed incorporated pre planting.
The Soil & Seed treated trial bays produced 1.45 T/Ha more than the control bays (see header map image).
This represented a gross return of over $600/Ha to Peter (after accounting for the Soil & Seed application) and an ROI of 1100% based on the total cost of $50/Ha.
Figure 1: Header map showing the yield response from Soil & Seed.
Control bays = 1, 2 and 50% of 3. Soil & Seed bays = 50% of bay 3 and 4-5. All bays received the same nutrient and irrigation program.
NB: Bay 6 suffered poor establishment through excessive barley stubble.
(Map courtesy of Crop-Rite, Swan Hill).
Peter says crop emergence and strong vigour are key performance indicators when growing a premium rice cultivar such as Koshihikari in the WMV, and his drill-sown rice operation (120+ Ha) now warrants ongoing use of Soil & Seed.
Peter says sowing his drill-sown rice into winter crop residues allows rice seedlings to emerge using less water, flushing only once or twice if necessary.
Topdressing with up to 300 Kg/Ha of urea and putting permanent water on later allows a long mid-season drain, increasing biological and nutrient enhancement.
Peter understands the Soil & Seed treatment increases his soil capacity to both retain nutrients such as N, P and Zn in the profile.
This improves their access to the current crop, as well as subsequent winter crops and ongoing rice.
According to Peter, a key factor in growing premium ‘Koschi’ is to manage crop N mid-season. He does this with 300 Kg/Ha of urea applied pre-permanent water to control early vigour.
Peter says using Soil & Seed enhances emergence and adds to the value of applied N by increasing its effectiveness.
Less water, same yield. Peter's research into direct drilled rice
The Kaylock family began experimenting with direct drilling of rice during the millennium drought. They soon realised the possible water savings of the system without loss of yield.
D.D. Kaylock & Co. has been growing rice at Moulamein for over 60 years, and they have always been willing to research new technologies.
As a result of low irrigation water allocations during the extended drought, the Kaylock’s started experimenting with direct drilled rice techniques in 2006.
On their soil types, Peter identified water savings of at least 2 ML/ha using direct drilling.
The continual irrigating and drying of the seedbed, as part of the process, simplified chemical usage and identified substantial input savings.
The drying process between irrigations eliminated broadleaf weeds such as dirty Dora and starfruit, and insect problems, particularly bloodworm and snails.
The use of the Kaylock’s existing machinery to carry out chemical and fertiliser applications resulted in significant savings compared to hiring an aeroplane to carry out the same procedures.
Peter Kaylock is a 2013 Nuffield Scholar, who was supported by Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and the Rice R&D Committee.
On his Nuffield Scholarship, Peter travelled to many rice growing countries looking at the direct drilling of rice crops, cover cropping, precision agriculture and innovative machinery.
About Soil & Seed
Soil & Seed is a broad spectrum microbial inoculant that is typically soil applied pre or at sowing to assist with crop and pasture emergence, growth and soil and plant health.
Independent tests show the ingredients of Soil & Seed can positively affect:
- Fertiliser use efficiency
- Nutrient accessability
- Nutrient solubilisation
- Nutrient cycling
- Disease resistance
- Drought resistance
- Residue breakdown
Soil & Seed contains and encourages a diverse population of beneficial micro-organisms, including bacteria, fungi, yeast and protozoa.
These organisms perform a wide variety of tasks that are important for both soil health and profitable farming systems.
In the soil environment, the total number of organisms, the activity and the diversity will vary between soil types, crop types and production systems, so it is very important to introduce and invigorate a diverse population of microorganisms.
Soil & Seed also contains a complexed food source for microbiology that includes carbohydrates, proteins (amino acids), humic compounds, vitamins, minerals.