Healthy Soil Healthy People

Treasure in Trash

30 November 2016

Managing high stubble loads for next season

Many crops across SA and Vic are set for a good harvest after favourable conditions for much of the growing season. However, with big yields also come big stubble loads. 

Decisions on residue management at harvest can avoid problems at seeding in 2017. In addition to harvester cutting heights and straw and chaff spread to match next year’s seeding and weed control practices; managing the biological breakdown of stubble is another option to improve crop establishment and return valuable nutrients from stubble to the soil for the next crops benefit.

Breakdown of stubble can be enhanced through incorporation, mulching, grazing and biological residue management involving the application of specific biologicals (fungi) and their food sources to stubble post-harvest.

Utilising specific fungi species speeds up the breakdown process.  Fungi act by breaking down the cellulose component so stubble becomes brittle, enabling easy handing with seeding machinery.

The Nutrient Advantage

Fungi are more efficient at breaking down stubble and cellulose than soil bacteria (most agricultural soils are bacterial dominant over fungi).

This efficiency is because fungi require less nitrogen to breakdown the carbon (in stubble), and it means more nutrients and carbon are returned to the soil rather than lost to the atmosphere.

Up to three times more nutrient and carbon is returned to the soil when fungi decompose stubble.


  • Biological residue management (Digest Program) is applied as a liquid spray to stubble with a boom spray.
  • It can be applied immediately following harvest, a light rain or heavy dew event.
  • For optimal results apply to rolled or incorporated stubble to maximise contact between soil and stubble.
  • The liquid combines fungal species selected from Australian soils for their cellulose digesting functions,  hardiness and drought resistance. Combined with the biological component are stimulants and nutrients the fungal species require.



Click Here for Residue Management Program details.

Note: Fungal hyphae are not usually visible in the paddock.