Impact of subsoil constraints on wheat yield and gross margin on fine-textured soils of the southern Victorian Mallee

Rodriguez, D., Nuttall, J., Sadras, V. O., van Rees, H. and Armstrong, R. (2006) Impact of subsoil constraints on wheat yield and gross margin on fine-textured soils of the southern Victorian Mallee. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 57 3: 355-365. doi:10.1071/AR04133


Author Rodriguez, D.
Nuttall, J.
Sadras, V. O.
van Rees, H.
Armstrong, R.
Title Impact of subsoil constraints on wheat yield and gross margin on fine-textured soils of the southern Victorian Mallee
Journal name Australian Journal of Agricultural Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-9409
1836-5795
Publication date 2006-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1071/AR04133
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 57
Issue 3
Start page 355
End page 365
Total pages 11
Place of publication Collingwood, VIC, Australia
Publisher C S I R O Publishing
Language eng
Abstract The APSIM-Wheat module was used to investigate our present capacity to simulate wheat yields in a semi-arid region of eastern Australia (the Victorian Mallee), where hostile subsoils associated with salinity, sodicity, and boron toxicity are known to limit grain yield. In this study we tested whether the effects of subsoil constraints on wheat growth and production could be modelled with APSIM-Wheat by assuming that either: (a) root exploration within a particular soil layer was reduced by the presence of toxic concentrations of salts, or (b) soil water uptake from a particular soil layer was reduced by high concentration of salts through osmotic effects. After evaluating the improved predictive capacity of the model we applied it to study the interactions between subsoil constraints and seasonal conditions, and to estimate the economic effect that subsoil constraints have on wheat farming in the Victorian Mallee under different climatic scenarios. Although the soils had high levels of salinity, sodicity, and boron, the observed variability in root abundance at different soil layers was mainly related to soil salinity. We concluded that: (i) whether the effect of subsoil limitations on growth and yield of wheat in the Victorian Mallee is driven by toxic, osmotic, or both effects acting simultaneously still requires further research, (ii) at present, the performance of APSIM-Wheat in the region can be improved either by assuming increased values of lower limit for soil water extraction, or by modifying the pattern of root exploration in the soil profile, both as a function of soil salinity. The effect of subsoil constraints on wheat yield and gross margin can be expected to be higher during drier than wetter seasons. In this region the interaction between climate and soil properties makes rainfall information alone, of little use for risk management and farm planning when not integrated with cropping systems models.
Keyword Root Growth
Salinity
Sodicity
Boron Toxicity
El Nino
La Nina
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
 
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