Cover crops and strip tillage is helping Bathurst pumpkin grower to save water
A Bathurst pumpkin grower, working with the Soil Wealth team is breaking new ground by using cover crops and strip tillage to make his irrigation water go further.
The current drought means growers need more crop per drop!
Michael Camenzuli is combining strip tillage with a winter-grown ryecorn cover crop and an oats + vetch combination.
The cover crops received very little irrigation, grown mostly on winter soil moisture. They were then rolled, strip tilled and pumpkin seed planted in the tilled area, leaving maximum ground cover.
Within each cover crop a strip was conventionally tilled using several passes of a rotary hoe (standard practice) as a comparison.
Michael expects the ryecorn to help with water infiltration, reduce evaporation and be a big benefit through the coming summer months. Bathurst is on severe water restrictions and saving water is paramount.
Wildeye® moisture monitors are being used to measure the effects of the cover crops on soil moisture.
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation using the vegetable research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government.