In the winter of 2015 Vince Conlan of Farm 274 in Yenda grew a dryland crop of barley, but the season ended with not enough soil moisture and the grain pinched, so he had to bail the crop. Had the soil probe been installed in that season, then he most certainly would have predicted that the crop could not finish so would have bailed earlier than he did. Thus, 2016 started with a dry soil profile. The probe was installed in April ’16. It then rained and later, flooded. Vince sowed 3rd week of May ’16 with 65kg/Ha Yarran oats and 70 kg/Ha DAP. From late August to early October over 200 mm rain fell and by the 1st week of Oct ’16 the paddocks were flooded and probe showed that the Plant Available Water reached 160 mm. However, the crop did not suffer too bad so during the drier period from Oct-Nov ’16 the oats took off although there was some lodging. In Jan ’17 there was another large rain event and some of the fallen oats germinated and subsequently the oats used up the entire available water.
Vince’s soil is a deep Mirrol Clay with a Plant Available Water Capacity of 160 mm. He agreed to test the new Terrasonde probe in 2016 and has gained useful insight into his farming. In particular, he did not crop his farm in ’17 due to the deep drying recorded, but is planning to sow based upon the 135 mm of Plant Available Water available at sowing in 2018.