In Australia, the number of agricultural businesses undertaking some form of crop stubble and/or trash management practices was 28,000 (comprising 20% of total agricultural businesses) in 2011-12. Western Australia and South Australia had the highest percentage of agricultural businesses managing crop stubble or trash at 33% and 27% respectively.
Nationally, agricultural businesses reported 18.9 million hectares of land that had some form of crop stubble and/or trash management practice applied to it. Western Australia contributed around 35% of the area where crop stubble and/or trash management practices were conducted.
In area, the dominant types of crop stubble and/or trash management practices in Australia were retention of standing crop material (4.9 million hectares or 26% of all area where crop stubble and/or trash management practices were employed), retention of low cut stubble (4.8 million hectares or 25%) and removal by grazing (2.7 million hectares or 14% of all crop stubble and/or trash management area).
Cereals were the predominant crop type where stubble/trash management practices were conducted, comprising 81% of all agricultural businesses managing crop stubble or trash, over an area of 15.3 million hectares. Of this area Western Australian businesses reported 5.8 million hectares (or 38% of all agricultural land where stubble/trash management practices were conducted) and agricultural businesses in New South Wales reported 3.8 million hectares (25%), constituting the majority share of management for cereal crops.
60% of all agricultural businesses in the Wheatbelt West region conducted crop stubble/trash management practices, the largest proportion of agricultural businesses nationally and covering the greatest area at 5.5 million hectares. The Mediterranean West region had the second highest proportion at 38% of all agricultural businesses (see map below).
The greatest area of crop stubble/trash management reported for cereals was 4.8 million hectares in the Wheatbelt West region with retention of low cut stubble the main practice, undertaken on 1.2 million hectares in that region.
The Wheatbelt East region had the largest number of businesses reporting rice crop stubble/trash management with around 530 across 55,000 hectares, of which 24,000 hectares (44%) had the practice of cool-moderate burning applied.
For pulse crops having low cut stubble retained agricultural businesses in the Wheatbelt Central region reported an area of 157,000 hectares, contributing approximately 45% of the total area for this practice in relation to pulses.
At 165,000 hectares, agricultural businesses in the Wheatbelt North region had the greatest area related to other broadacre crops where stubble/trash was incorporated into the soil.
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