Norm Reid

Evaluating methods of preparing existing 1.9m controlled traffic beds for planting, using double disc opener.

Region: Wet Tropics | Pinnacle Hill

Year: 2015

Norm, Linda and Peter Reid farm 210 ha at Pinnacle Hill, which is part of the Cattle and Trebonne Creek subcatchments, south of Ingham.

Norm Reid

Evaluating methods of preparing existing 1.9m controlled traffic beds for planting, using double disc opener.

Norm, Linda and Peter Reid farm 210 ha at Pinnacle Hill, which is part of the Cattle and Trebonne Creek subcatchments, south of Ingham.

The farm was originally a cattle property and changed to cane in 1995. The soils on Norm’s farm vary from nutrient-rich heavy clay, to nearly pure sand with very low nutrient value. Norm is very interested in soil health and soil biology as he feels that improving both of these soil traits will improve his poorer soils’ fertility, moisture holding capacity and yield.

In 1999 Norm moved out to 1.85m row spacings, but in 2001 decided to change again to his current 1.9m dual row controlled traffic system that he plants with a GPS controlled minimum tillage double disc opener planter.

Norm likes to have a legume crop during his fallow to help break the monoculture of cane and to provide nitrogen to the following plant cane crop. Norm has also received funding to improve his farming practices through the federal government’s Reef Programme (formerly Reef Rescue) program.

For nutrient management, Norm has a regular soil sampling strategy and uses 6 Easy Steps (latest industry recommendation) to determine his application rate and uses a 3-row stool splitter to apply.

Issues being addressed

With his new system, Norm has seen positive changes but would still like to be able to improve his economic performance through reduced input costs and possible yield gains. With the whole farm now converted to the 1.9m controlled traffic, dual row bed system, the Reid’s are keen to identify the most efficient way to re-plant as the farm passes into the second crop cycle of permanent beds.

Solutions being tested

Norm, Linda and Peter Reid have opted to trial various tillage methods on their farm to determine the most efficient means of working up for planting, as part of Project Catalyst.

The tillage trial was undertaken with replicated strips of the following variations:

1. Disc bedformer with ripper, and rotary hoeing
2. Disc bedformer with ripper, no rotary hoeing
3. Wavy disc cultivator, no rippper, no rotary hoeing

Where cultivation method 1 is currently used by Norm methods 2 & 3 are alternate tillage options being investigated.

During the fallow, Norm utilises a legume crop to help break the monoculture of cane and to provide nitrogen to the following plant cane crop.

Reid Trial Results – Graph

 Reid Trial Results - Graph