Wheat after rice - how many irrigations

Wheat grown immediately following a rice crop can be one of the most profitable crops in the rice farming system. However, growers often face the dilemma of how many irrigations the crop will require to achieve good yields and profits, and/or if water required for an additional irrigation would be better used elsewhere.

Quick take:

  • Two spring irrigations achieved the highest grain yield (8 t/ha) and gross margin ($1309/ha) in this experiment but it will vary between years depending on winter and spring rainfall.
  • A wheat crop grown after rice requires high levels of fertiliser—maximum grain yield and protein were achieved with 175 kg/ha DAP sown with the seed and 435 kg/ha urea topdressed in a split application at midtillering and early flowering.
  • Wheat following rice can be a very profitable crop provided the field layout (drainage) is good, the rice stubble is removed early and the crop is established before the weather gets cold and possibly wet.

Brian Dunn, Research Agronomist, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Yanco

IREC Farmers’ Newsletter – Large Area No. 190: Autumn 2014. Read the full newsletter here.