Changing straw disposal practices


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 January 2001 - 01 January 2001
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
Project leader:
R.D. Prew and B.D. Smith ADAS/AFRC Straw Disposal Operations Group AFRC Institute of Arable Crops Research, Harpenden, Herts AL5 2JQ



About this project


An ASAD/AFRC Group, formed in 1984, has coordinated a joint research programme on alternative straw disposal methods. Results obtained to date fram this collaborative research are sumrnarised in this review.

The work has centred around field experiments on a range of soil types under different climatic conditions. It has concentrated on the mechanical feasibility, and the agronomic consequences, of incorporating straw into soil. With some limitations existing machinery appeared capable of achieving acceptable incorporation. Ploughinq was generally the most successful method, although on heavy textured soils there have been problems of subsequently obtaining satisfactory seedbeds. Shallow non-plough systems were least suited to light textured soils but gave good results on heavier land provided that annual grass weeds did not become a major problem, in which case strategies for their control, like occasional ploughing, must be considered. Unacceptable increases in the incidence of pests and diseases have not yet occurred where straw has been incorporated reqularly. Continued assessment on a number of sites will be required to follow long-term effects of straw incorporation on soil fauna and flora and also on the cycling of orqanic matter and nitrogen derived from it.

This review, completed in December 1988 has 61 pages in the full article.