The impact of ripping prior to planting Leucaena

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The impact of ripping prior to planting Leucaena

The impact of ripping prior to planting Leucaena

Stuart Buck

Senior Agronomist (Pastures)

QLD Primary Industries and Fisheries, Biloela.


Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries

Leucaena production:

• Highly productive, perennial fodder plant

• Known technology

• Increases Gross Margin (over grass only) up to $150/ha for 30yrs

• Establishment cost is an important barrier to adoption

The main driver of return on investment

• Debate by producers (and industry?) of the ‘best’ method to

establish Leucaena, including impacts of ripping prior to planting

Leucaena.

© The State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, 2009


Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries

To Rip or not to Rip…?

• Potential benefits:

– Reduces sub-soil impediments to root development

– Improves the efficiency of water capture

– Improves nutrient availability

– Quicker establishment, higher biomass production

• Potential disadvantages:

– Direct operation cost: in the order of $50- $100/ha?

– Extra cultivation to break down clods after ripping

– Could bring up ‘hostile’ sub-soil material

• Ultimately need to successfully establish Leucaena with the

minimum of costs

– reduce the risk of establishment failure

– reduce the time to obtain a return on investment

– maximise long term production

© The State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, 2009


Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries

Biloela Trial

• Biloela CQBEEF group have identified

– the need to increase productivity and the potential for Leucaena

– questions about optimum establishment options

• Aim of this trial:

– To demonstrate the impact of establishing Leucaena with or

without pre-ripping

• How:

– On-farm demonstration

– Measure soil and plant impacts, economics

© The State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, 2009


Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries

Trial details:

• Native bluegrass country - creek flats (bluegum) and ridges (ironbark).

Non-cracking loam soils.

• 3m strips (6m centres) were prepared with Yeomans, then off-set

• Soil sampled prior to ripping (end of Oct 2008)

• Ripping undertaken with D5 with 2 rippers 1m apart, 70cm deep

• Soil sampling prior to planting (end of Jan 2009)

• Planted twin rows 1m apart with disc opener, Cunningham at 3kg/ha

• Herbicide applied post plant, pre emerge

• 183mm rain fell between ripping and planting

© The State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, 2009


Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries

Trial Layout

Grass REP 1 Grass strip REP 2 Grass strip REP 3 Grass

PADDOCK Ø Ø Steel post

1

Dark soil

X X location

of grass

only samples

P1 R1 R+ P1 R2 R- P1 R3 R+

RIP NO RIP

RIP

X

X

HANGER

EAST

Ø Ø Ø

WEST

X

X

P1 R1 R- P1 R2 R+ P1 R3 R-

NO RIP NO

RIP

RIP

X

X

Ø©

The State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, 2009


Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries

Initial soil sampling 31 October 2008

for soil water and nutrients pre ripping.

Photo of soil sampling operation

© The State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, 2009


Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries

Photo of young leucaena at establishment

Planted 28 January. Photo taken 3 rd March.

Ripped plot

© The State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, 2009


26 th May 2009

Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries

Photo of leucaena on 26 th May

Rip

No Rip

Rip

© The State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, 2009


Soil moisture Pre ripping - Paddock 1. Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries

Soil water

Depth (cm)

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

VMC %

0 5 10 15 20 25

impacts PRE RIP –

31 Oct 08

Rainfall 1 Nov –

31 Jan = 182mm

Depth (cm)

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

No Rip Rip Grass only

Soil moisture Post ripping - Paddock 1.

VMC %

0 5 10 15 20 25

POST RIP –

31 Jan 09

No rip Rip Grass only

© The State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, 2009


Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries

Impacts on Leucaena

31 st May 2009

Rip No Rip LSD (10%)

Drymatter (kg/ha) 418a 240b 154

Plant population (pl/m) 13.5a 10.2b 2

Plant population (pl/ha) 44,861a 33,889b 6765

© The State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, 2009


Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries

Impact of Ripping on Leucaena

450

16

Drymatter (kg/ha)

400

350

300

250

200

150

100

Drymatter (kg/ha)

Plant population (pl/m)

14

12

10

8

6

4

Plant Population

(plants/m of row)

50

2

0

Rip

No Rip

0

Treatment

© The State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, 2009


Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries

Conclusions and future work

Conclusions:

• Drymatter and plant population was increased due to ripping

• Soil moisture increase was the primary cause

• Ripping didn’t alter soil nutrient availability

Interpretation boundaries:

• Work conducted on non-cracking soils

• Only one yield assessment

• Only first year of production – no grazing

Future work:

• Plant impacts will be measured for next 3 yrs

• Identified 2 new sites on a different property - typical Brigalow clay soils with

buffel grass

• Include comparison of strip Vs full grass removal

© The State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, 2009


Queensland Primary Industries and Fisheries

No Spinnaker –

plenty of grass and

other weeds

3 rd March 2009.

© The State of Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, 2009

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