Optimising the yield and economic potential of high input cropping systems in the High Rainfall Zone

The High Rainfall Zone in southeastern Australia has high yield potentials for wheat and canola, but growers are faced with challenges about resource allocation in a relatively new and rapidly evolving cropping system. This project will develop tools that predict the production and economic response as well as the risks associated with applying the level of inputs needed for wheat and canola crops to achieve their potential in this region.


Optimising the yield and economic potential of high input cropping systems in the HRZ Grain production in the high rainfall zone (HRZ) of southern Australia has increased nearly two fold for wheat over the past 20 years from 1. 7M t (average 1990 to 1995) to 3. 2M t (2007-2011) and nearly tenfold for canola over the same period (81,000 t to 792,000 t). Read more

Year of initiation:2014
Year of completion:2017


01 Oct 2017

Potassium responses in beans, canola and wheat
An experiment at Glenthompson, 2017

31 Oct 2016

Results of 2016 HRZ Nutrition Experiments
Summary of responses to end September

18 Aug 2016

Potassium and sulfur –how much is enough?
Presented at GRDC Grower Update Skipton

03 Mar 2016

Time for an N-Rich Strip
Reference strips to check on N response

12 Feb 2016

Suspected Magnesium deficiency seen in 2015
Central Victorian wheat crop

11 Feb 2016

Preparing for 2016 - reading the effects of the past seasons
GRDC Ground Cover #120

30 Jul 2015

Background to Omission Trials
Summary of HRZ omission trials treatments and seasonal conditions

11 Mar 2015

High rainfall zone nutrient omission trials 2015
Part of the GRDC project DAV00141 led by P Riffkin

03 Mar 2015

Manganese toxicity in canola
Seen in high rainfall zone after heavy summer rain.

25 Aug 2014

Nitrogen - how much is enough?
GRDC Grower Updates, Kimba, Cummins, Naracoorte

05 Feb 2014

Getting Nitrogen into the crop - efficiently and effectively
Presented at GRDC Ballarat Advisor Update Feb 06, 2014, and the SANTFA Annual Conference, February 21, 2014.

Interpretive Summary

Cropping systems have been moving from the low and medium rainfall areas of Australia into the higher rainfall zones, typically those with average annual rainfall of more than 550 mm. The achievable yield potentials in these regions are high (around 8 t/ha for wheat and 5 t/ha for canola), but crop management and cultivar availability is limiting the achievement of those potentials.

Canola and wheat grain yields in the high rainfall zone of southern Australia are currently less than half of the predicted potential. The main barrier to achieving these potential yields is the application of sufficient nutrients. There has been limited research on nutrient response of crops to soil nutrient status, conducted in this humid region.

In the southern cropping regions of Australia, grain yield potentials are high due to relatively high rainfall and long growing seasons. However, current management practices including variety selection, sowing times and nutrient management are all derived from areas of lower yield potential. This research is part of an integrated project to move paddock yields closer to their potentials by identifying the impacts of improved practices.

The first output from this Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC) funded research project was a summary document of the current status of cropping in the high rainfall zone (HRZ). The situation analysis of the soil nutrient status across the HRZ of southern Australia indicated a range of varying nutrient deficiencies in different regions.

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Updates & Reports


Crop nutrient decisions in the high rainfall zone


Managing crop inputs in a high yield potential environment - HRZ of southern Australia


Project Description

Potassium strips in wheat crop

Project Leader

Penny Riffkin, Victorian Department of Primary Industries

Project Cooperators

Rob Norton, IPNI
Felicity Turner, McKillop Farm Management Group
Amanda Pearce, SARDI
Debra Partington, Victorian DEPI
Garry O'Leary, Victorian DEPI
Brendan Christie, Victorian DEPI
Angela Clough, Victorian DEPI
Trent Potter, Yeruga Consultants
Jade Killoran, Southern Farming Systems
Kerry Stott, Victorian DEPI

IPNI Staff

R. M. Norton


Oceania \ Australia and New Zealand \ AUS \ Victoria \ Inverleigh

Oceania \ Australia and New Zealand \ AUS \ Victoria \ Glenthompson

Oceania \ Australia and New Zealand \ AUS \ South Australia \ Frances

Oceania \ Australia and New Zealand \ AUS \ South Australia \ Bool Lagoon


4r place, 4r rate, 4r source, 4r time, balanced nutrition, decision support, fertilizer economics, nutrient use efficiency

canola, wheat

Copper (Cu), Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Sulfur (S), Zinc (Zn)