Minimise build-up of stubble in furrows
Preventing or minimising the build-up of stubble in furrows is an additional management challenge when cropping raised beds. Stubble in the furrows of raised beds will impede water flow. Ponded water in furrows creates waterlogged conditions in adjacent beds, causing them to subside and lose their improved infiltration and aeration properties. In large storms, furrow blockages may cause water to cover the beds and erode beds and channels.
Effective management of stubbles in raised beds is largely achieved by employing the same practices that are effective for cropping normal seedbeds.
Specifically, stubble is best managed in raised beds by:
- Harvesting the crop high and subsequently harvesting stubble for straw, leaving erect stubble about 5cm high.
- Harvesting crops low, leaving erect stubble about 15cm high and using a highly efficient straw storm on the harvester to spread small pieces of straw and chaff evenly.
- Trailing a chaff bin behind the harvester to avoid leaving a trail.
- Leaving a harvester trail that is subsequently baled or burnt.
- Grazing stubbles after harvesting them low.
If, despite employing one or a combination of these management options, stubble build-up occurs in the furrows of raised beds, clearing them with a furrower, either as a separate operation or at seeding, will be required. The latter can be achieved by mounting furrowers on the front of a seeder bar.