De-risking the seeding program: adoption of key management practices for the success of dry and early sown crops

Vic Drought Hub - Farmland 1
  • Riverine Plains
  • Climate Resilience

The project will provide a legacy through developed extension networks, resources, information and learning groups and see practice adoption across 2 million hectares of arable land.


Vic Hub Project partners: BCG, The University of Melbourne

Term: 2023-25


RP derisking early sowing in row with stubble Cap-The de-risking project is about dry sowing, this image shows stubble and soil attached LR
The de-risking project is about dry sowing; this image shows stubble and soil.

Update: January 2024

Jane McInnes, Senior Project Officer with Riverine Plains, said, “While we’ve had summer rain resulting in full profiles, there is still a few months before sowing, so dry sowing isn’t off the cards just yet. At the trial sites, the demonstrations will likely look at two of the following:

  1. Comparison: Nutrition and seeding rate in wheat-fertiliser placement (before sowing compared with deep banded).
  2. Comparison: Speed of dry sowing to optimise sowing depth and soil throw (fast vs slow).
  3. Comparison: Canola into a retained wheat stubble (more moisture) compared with canola into a burnt or cultivated wheat stubble (less moisture).
  4. Comparison: Weed control practices for dry sowing (pre-emergent herbicides options).
Jane McInnes Senior Project Officer RP sampling-cropped
Jane McInnes, Senior Project Officer with Riverine Plains, sampling on site.


About the project: Dry and early sowing of cereal crops is commonly employed across southern Australian cropping regions to combat erratic and late opening season rainfall, and to effectively manage the sowing program on increasingly larger farms.

There has been a large amount of research and development undertaken on dry and early sowing by key Research and Development organisations such as Grains Research Development Corporation, CSIRO and state agencies into seeding strategies, nutritional requirements, and machinery setup for dry sown crops.

However, many growers have not accessed the information or are seeking to develop a more strategic approach tailored to their specific district and property requirements. Additionally, there are opportunities to increase the success of early sowing by combining management approaches and strategies.

This project will see 15 prominent grower groups partner with four Drought Resilience & Innovation Hubs to deliver a program that accelerates the adoption of strategic dry and early sown crop management approaches. Each group will tailor activities to meet the knowledge, experience and needs of their member bases and local communities.

In the Riverine Plains region, the project will include the establishment of a demonstration site investigating best bet early sown crop management at Murchison in northern Victoria (with a second at Rand in southern NSW).

Agronomic parameters collected from both sites will also compare the “best bet” option with the current practice.


This project is led by Ag Excellence Alliance Inc. (Ag Ex) and involves consortium groups and organisations from across the grain-production regions in Victoria, SA, NSW and Western Australia.

Along with the Vic Hub partners, this includes Ag Excellence Alliance, Agriculture Innovation and Research Eyre Peninsula, Upper North Farming Systems, Northern Sustainable Soils, Murray Plains Farmers, Hart Field Site Group, Mallee Sustainable Farming, Farmlink, Riverine Plains, Southern Growers, Central West Farming Systems, Irrigation Farmers Network, Facey Group, Corrigin Farm Improvement Group, South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), SA Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, Southern NSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, South-West WA Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub.