- Conventional tillage is the dominant form of soil preparation for cropping (50% of crop area in 1996/97).
- The use of conventional tillage is greatest in the Mallee, where this technique is part of the farming culture. Cultivation is the only effective control of the Rhizoctonia fungus, which is more prone to occur in the sandy soils of the Mallee. The use of conventional tillage is also high in regions with low cropping intensity such as the southern part of Victoria.
- The use of direct drilling is greatest in the Wimmera, North Central, Goulburn Broken and Glenelg-Hopkins regions. Rainfall and soil type are reflected in the decision to use direct drilling within these regions.
- Fallow is concentrated in the north west of the state: the Mallee and northern Wimmera regions. This is consistent with the higher use of cultivation and stubble incorporation reported in these areas.
- Stubble retention is highest in the Mallee region. This is due to the high risk of wind erosion in poor seasons and the difficulties of eliminating cultivation from the cropping system. The lower rainfall and subsequent lower burden of stubble in Mallee make stubble management comparatively easier than in other regions.
- Stubble burning is most common in the southern part of the state, in Glenelg-Hopkins and Corangamite regions. This reflects the higher stubble burden due to high rainfall in these regions and the lower commitment to investment in conservation cropping technologies.
- Stubble burning is widely used in cropping districts in the southern Wimmera, the southern cropping zone of the North Central region and in the North East and Goulburn Broken regions. The higher rainfall and subsequent higher stubble burden makes stubble retention more difficult to manage.
Land Use near Birchip (Photo: David Smith)