Adoption of No Till Farming in the South Australian Mallee

Author Growing Solutions
Branding Ag Excellence
Credits SA No-Till Farmers Association
Video Transcript

Yeah, well in 2010 and 11 we did two land title surveys in the Mallee that were targeted specifically at broad acre farmers and livestock holders that are aimed at getting a better feel for range of on-farm management practices and attitudes. Yeah over two years, 470 farmers were surveyed and we figured that we’ve probably covered 60 possibly 70 percent of available people in the Mallee.

No-till Surveys Designed to Support Farmer Engagement

The surveys were designed to support the engaging farmers and improved in our own project being run by the NRM board at the moment up until 2013 we got a whole range of data in the end from the two surveys around intelligent seeding systems is probably one of the more critical parts of the survey was knowing the extent of different practices.

The survey tells us that we have a fairly strong no till community, which from memory was roughly round about 26 percent and we have a small zero till community of about eight percent. By far the greatest is minimum till. Minimum tillers are  people generally that work out ground at least once and that can included prickled chaining so lighter treatment like that,when we saw the, not too recent past the elevation and glyphosate prices and people starting working up again rather than spraying so people have given me the best stance so they could, that they figured what was most representative of their systems and reality farmers actually use quite a mixture of practices in terms if we split ground preparation away from actual seeding system.

Minimum Till More Prevalent than No Till

It gets quite complex, so people viewing the survey need to understand it’s a the most prevalent system that people use. Generally your minimum tillers are your biggest followed by your no till followed by, your till and then zero tillers. In the surveys we’ve done we’ve trying to identify what the barriers to change are and a lot of them are based around cost involved in changing equipment.

The next biggest one is uncertainty with having spent the money whether they can make a particular seeding system work for them successfully in their ground. We have to appreciate that these people have a lot of ground variability on this sites that can be anything from shallow rocky ground to deep heavy swail country.

Herbicide Resistance a Concern

The greatest barriers to change appear the big cost, uncertainty with success of using the system without having any extra tuition support. Herbicide resistance is one that is concerning some people with moving towards reduced tillage, there is obviously resistance issues in the Mallee and the things like brome grass, so yeah, it’s an interesting one.

Jeremy Nelson (DEWNR) speaks to us about adoption levels of No Till farming in the South Australian Mallee.

2 Comments on "Adoption of No Till Farming in the South Australian Mallee"

  1. Yoann Marin says:


    I am a fourth year student at ISARA-Lyon, an engineering school in the sector of Agriculture in France. At the end of this fourth year, being a farmer’s son, I would like to do several internships in farm to discover the differents methods of production through the world. During one year, I am going to work in farm in differents countries ( Sweden, USA, New Zealand, Australia and Canada).
    So, for the moment, I am looking for an internship in farm which practice the no-till for several years. I have chosen the USA and Australia because you have really in advance with respect the France regarding this method of production. It is why, I would like know, if you know farmers who will be interested to take a intern during two months​ to discover this method of production.

    Best regards

    Yoann MARIN
    Elève-ingénieur à isaralyon

    • Mandy Pearce says:

      Dear Yoann,
      As we don’t deal directly with farmers, but with farming groups, I have passed your request on to a group whose focus is no-till farming, the SA No-Till Farmers Association (SANTFA).
      Best of luck with your studies.
      Mandy Pearce – Administration Manager, Ag Excellence

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