Cambridge, TAS

The demo site has moved from Houston's Farm, Cambridge site to their Strelley farm near Richmond, in southern Tasmania.

Strelley farm has been cropped for 10 years for baby leaf production with intensive soil cultivation required. The reduction in soil condition and intensive rotation has seen a rise in Sclerotinia incidence, especially in lettuce transplants. 

A trial has been established to examine how cover crops can be integrated into baby leaf production systems and what effect this has on soil condition and soilborne disease incidence and subsequent yield and quality of lettuce. 

The trial was established in October 2017 with the following six treatments replicated four times: 

  1. Fallow – weeds to be sprayed out  
  2. Annual ryegrass (20 kg/ha drilled @ 1 cm)
  3. Oats var saia (80kg/ha broadcast and lightly cultivated in) 
  4. Tillage radish (6 kg/ha drilled @ 2 cm) 
  5. Japanese millet (30 kg/ha drilled @ 2-4 cm) 
  6. Oats/tillage radish mix (40 kg/ha broadcast & 3/kg/ha drilled @ 2cm)

The site was sown from 18 October 2017.

Following termination and incorporation of the cover crop, a lettuce crop will be transplanted in April 2018 and the incidence of soilborne diseases assessed. 

The trial is supported by Houston’s Farm and project VG15010 (A multi-faceted approach to soilborne disease management) is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the vegetable industry levy and funds from the Australian Government.