Strategies for waterlogged crops in the High Rainfall Zone of the Southern Region

  • GRDC
  • Complete June 2023
  • 6
  • Hamilton, Streatham, Vite Vite North, Cressy (TAS)
  • Past
Top Soils Omission trial plots

Research Question

Can Nutrition aid recovery of waterlogged crops? And what are the legacy effects for the next season? When waterlogging has destroyed the autumn sown crop, what are the options for spring sowing? What drainage options have growers adopted in the HRZ? What resources and research has been done?

Research Information & Objectives


Four trials were established in locations that had experienced some degree of waterlogging throughout the season.  The Hamilton trial was established at the SFS Victoria Point Road site, referred to as Hamilton in this report. The Hamilton, Vite Vite North and Hagley trials were small plot trials, utilising spare plots on SFS trial sites. The Streatham canola trial was located in a grower’s paddock.  

 The treatments varied over the locations, with the main products used including urea, sulphate of ammonia (SOA), UAN and trace elements. The nitrogen in SOA is in a more readily available form than urea, meaning it can provide the crop with an immediate nitrogen source. This is compared with urea that can take up to 7-10 days to be in its most available form for plant uptake. SOA was applied in combination with urea to determine if this immediate uptake was beneficial when recovering a waterlogged crop. The trace elements applied across to the trials in Victoria was a product called Maximise (Zn, Cu, Mo, and B). In Tasmania the product Awaken (N, K2O, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, and Zn) was applied. These were used to ensure crops were not nutrient limited. In the wheat they were applied at least two weeks following the initial nitrogen recovery application when the crop was actively growing again, to improve efficiency of plant uptake.  

To read the 2021 SFS Trials Results Book Report Here...

Spring Sowing Options

In 2021, as a seasonal response to waterlogging in the western districts of Victoria, a GRDC funded project began investigating areas around mitigating the effects of waterlogging in-season.  

 For some farmers, waterlogging can be so severe that the paddock is considered a failure. This can be a huge economic loss, considering how many inputs have already been applied and the number of hours invested. An option to mitigate these losses is through spring sowing. Sowing in spring can allow farmers to utilise the favourable spring conditions and shorter growing season to re-establish a crop and still harvest before autumn sowing. It is important however, that farmers choose varieties that are suited to this shorter growing season and often higher temperatures.  

Read Full Report Here...

Adopted Drainage Options Video Case Studies

Three case study video's area available to watch on Sub soil amelioration with subsurface drains,  raised beds and spoon drains & laser-level bucket systems.

Episode 1 starts the drainage journey with Todd Venning near Hamilton in South West Victoria. Todd and his family have embarked on a major investment into their soils by researching, trialing, designing, building a subsoil amelioration machine to ameliorate their soils and then complementing this with subsurface drainage system. Watch now

Episode 2 explores raised beds and spoon drains with Lachie Morrison near Inverleigh South West Victoria.  Lachie shares his journey from mapping, designing to implementation and the results.  His experiences and tips of if I had known this before I started, it would have taken the stress out of it moments are invaluable for anyone venturing down this path.  Watch now

Episode 3 finishes with contractor Andrew Caldow and farmer Ed Weatherly sharing the processes of drainage using laser levelling bucket.  Andrew discusses the process of mapping, designing to implementation of drainage and what he has learnt as a contractor.  Ed provides the farmer’s perspective his learnings and the farm production results. Watch now

Other resources from previous research:

Still collating, coming soon...


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