0
Intercropping in break crops in the Upper North – In-crop decision making and the impacts on profitability and soil function
Home / Projects / Intercropping in break crops in the Upper North – In-crop decision making and the impacts on profitability and soil function
Intercropping in break crops in the Upper North – In-crop decision making and the impacts on profitability and soil function
Lead organisation: Upper North Farming Systems Group
Hub members and partners involved: SARDI, Pinion Advisory, Elders
Project Category: Hub Projects
Project summary: 

Increasing complexity of the break crop from vetch pasture to a dual species vetch and canola inter-crop will increase profitability of rotations and reduce risk by providing multiple end-use options to adapt and respond to climatic variations.

Project objectives

  1. Demonstrating the use of a canola/vetch intercrop combination as the break crop in a wheat/break rotation in the Upper North of SA and reviewing the different in-crop management decisions and their impact on profitability of the rotation and soil condition (including biological, chemical and physical parameters).
  2. Demonstrating the use of early sown break crops to maximise in-season resource use and improve seasonal crop yield stability in the Upper North of SA. Review the profitability of the system and options to further increase the frequency of early sowing opportunities.

Project description: 

2023 trial sites were established in:

  • Booleroo Centre (sown 14/062023), establishing 10 treatments utilising vetch and canola as the break crop in a wheat production rotation.  
  • Warnertown (sown on 31/05/2023), consisting of a very early sowing trial and a depth-of-sowing trial. Lentil and faba bean will were sown, with three varieties of differing phenology included for each species.

Further information:

Fact sheet: Demonstrating vetch mix options to reduce soil erosion whilst maintaining good nitrogen fixation (developed by Upper North Farming Systems and Elders).

Project Images

View of the vetch-canola intercropping trial, showing a vetch-canola intercropped plot (front left) and sole vetch plot (front right).

  • Canola growth stage – flowering
  • Vetch growth stage – late vegetative, early flower development
  • Canola variety – HyTTec Trophy
  • Vetch variety – Volga

 

Sebsequent wheat crop sown onto stubble from vetch-canola intercropping trial from the previous season.

  • Crop growth stage – full boot to anthesis.
  • Variety – Scepter

 

Mixed row intercrop treatment, as part of vetch-canola intercropping trial – showing sowing configuration for a mixed plot

  • Canola variety – HyTTec Trophy
  • Vetch variety – Volga
  • Canola growth stage – 4-6 leaf
  • Vetch growth stage – vegetative (11 node, 4 branches)

 

Alternative row intercrop treatment, as part of vetch-canola intercropping trial – showing sowing configuration for a mixed plot

  • Canola variety – HyTTec Trophy
  • Vetch variety – Volga
  • Canola growth stage – 4-6 leaf
  • Vetch growth stage – vegetative (11 node, 4 branches)

 

Alternative row intercrop treatment, as part of vetch-canola intercropping trial – showing sowing configuration for a mixed plot

  • Canola variety – HyTTec Trophy
  • Vetch variety – Volga
  • Canola growth stage – 4-6 leaf
  • Vetch growth stage – vegetative (11 node, 4 branches)