Soil & Seed continues to deliver rice yields

By Robert Gill (Area Manager, south-west NSW). With thanks to Peter Kaylock.
  • +14% yield increase
  • + $600/Ha
  • + 1.5 T/Ha additional yield
Based on the strong results Soil & Seed achieved in trials conducted by Rice Research Australia, one western Murray Valley grower performed his own trial.
Peter Kaylock’s interest in using Soil & Seed (S&S) 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.

These trials, conducted independently by RRAPL during the 2015/16 season used S&S (3 L/Ha) boom sprayed onto rice bays pre plant.

Nitrogen was pre-drilled in order to gain optimum establishment.

This resulted in 14% more yield than the control and represented a return to the grower of +$600/Ha (1100% ROI on applied product).

Higher rates of S&S gave correspondingly higher returns.

Analysis of 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.

In late October 2016, Peter performed his own large scale trial of S&S, drill sowing Koshihikari premium rice into Moulamein clay loams on his family property ‘Narrawa.

Peter applied 4.0 L/Ha of Soil & Seed incorporated pre planting.
Peter’s trial bays produced 1.45 T/Ha more than the control bays, a result which he mapped on his header (see below).
Figure 1: Header map showing the yield response of Peter’s rice trial.
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).
This represented a gross return of over $600/Ha to Peter (after accounting for the S&S application) and an ROI of 1100% based on the total cost of $50/Ha.
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.

About Peter’s research into direct drilled rice

Peter Kaylock
Nuffield Scholar Peter Kaylock checking his 2016/17 rice trial where he used BioAg Soil & Seed on Koshihikari 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.