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APA 9. Water Flow Management - Koehler Case Study
15 Apr 2009
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8. Water Flow Management – Koehler Case Study

Dennis and Noel Koehler are situated on the northern edge of the Brigalow Jimbour Floodplain. They farm chocolate-loamy Brigalow Belah Soils and includes some sloping and melon-hole country.

The Koehlers have been practicing minimum tillage for the last six or seven years, which involves two passes, "one chisel plough pass and a cultivation". They have attempted zero tillage in certain paddocks but have had limited success due to the hardsetting soils and fleabane problem.

In 2007 they purchased two free to air GPS systems, but in November 2008 they upgraded one of those systems to the RTK 2cm accurate GPS system. This will allow them to attempt zero tillage again and specifically, it will allow them to implement Control Trafficking in selected paddocks. Prior to this acquisition they felt that it wasn’t worth doing because they couldn’t achieve the desired accuracy. They won’t implement Control Trafficking on the sloping and melon hole country for fear of potential erosion damage. They prefer to cross work these paddock to minimise their erosion risk.

The move to 2cm accuracy is centred round water management. They try to hang onto their stubble for as long as possible, until after the summer storm season. Unless they double crop in which case they sew directly into the stubble.

They don’t expect to see significant change in the soil structure by going to control trafficking as they believe they have their management quote “pretty right” with the soils they have. But Noel Koehler is quoted, ‘the combination of the [2cm accurate] equipment enables our min and zero till practices to be carried out more efficiently and effectively and with greater precision, thus lowering our costs and resulting in greater productivity and peace of mind’.

Thanks must go to all partners for their participation in the project.

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