Understanding the implications of rotations in a low rainfall zone (Practice for Profit)

Project Commencement Date: May 2011

Project Completion Date: Ongoing

Funding: Currently funded by Wheatbelt NRM. Liebe Group lead project.


To examine the difference in profitability between low and high input cropping practices over an extended period of time and to determine the effect these practices are having on soil carbon.


The Practice for Profit trial is for the sixth season in a row, located on the Mills’ property east of Dalwallinu. Since 2011 we have compared the following two scenarios:

  • Low input treatments based on a farmer producing grain at the lowest possible cost, regardless of seasonal conditions.
  • High input treatments to simulate a paddock with high yield potential matched with increased inputs to maximise yields and profitability.

2011 was the setup phase of the trial, the seeding and fertiliser rates were not blanket dependant on the rotation with the wheat treatment receiving high and low inputs, (Appendix B).

In 2013 the set rotation was not able to be planted due to a timing mismatch between rain and trial contractors resulting in the soil being too dry for the small trial seeding machinery to negotiate. The whole site was thus fallowed in 2013.

It is important to note that high and low inputs of this trial are considered on a seasonal basis, and on the back of a chemical fallow in 2013 all nutrient levels were high. On the trial to date the low input treatments have received maintenance levels of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N). The levels of P, potassium (K) and sulphur (S) will be monitored for the 2016 season and maintenance levels will be adjusted accordingly.

Project articles

See publications section.

Previous funding

This project was supported by funding from the Australian Government from 2012-2015 through the Action on the Ground Initiative.

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