SPEAKER: Dr Murray Unkovich - School of Ag, Food and Wine
TITLE: Why and how do rainfed crops on sandy soils respond to deep tillage?
Coarse textured (sandy) soils, which by definition have a very ow clay content, represent approximately 30% of cropping soils in low rainfall SE Australia. Opportunities for increasing crop production on these soils are probably substantial because yields appear to be well below water-limited potential. In a number of field studies we have been exploring crop responses to soil physical conditions. Crop responses to deep ripping on coarse textured soils are variable and may result from a number of possible mechanisms. While much attention has historically been focussed on increased total crop water use, examples of increased water and nutrient uptake being the primary reasons for responses to deep ripping in Australia are quite limited and this may be only one of several important mechanisms which operate. Amongst other possible effects, crop shoot (tillering or branching) responses to root conditions (high soil strength) may play an important role in reducing crop water use efficiency in low-rainfall south-east Australia, independent of the capture of water resources by roots. It is hoped the seminar will provide an opportunity to discuss possible ways to explore crop tillering independent of crop growth.
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