Cropping Systems

Cropping Systems

The application of DBL soil management to all cropping systems requires little change to established practices. The only significant change is the annual, or, if double cropping, seasonal practice of using the DBL prior to seeding each crop. Aggressive cultivation, such as pupae busting for cotton, etc., will no longer be required. At worst, DBL is an additional operation but is a low-energy, relatively high-speed operation (e.g. the speed of seeding – 6 – 8 kph). Also, this operation could possibly be done in tandem with seeding.

Cropping Systems

The extra cost, if any, of the seasonal or annual pre-seeding DBL operation will be easily and profitably compensated by a combination of some, or all, of the following benefits:

  • Increased infiltration and plant available water
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased drought resilience (higher yields in dry seasons)
  • Reduction in the number and intensity of soil management operations
  • Lowered weed burden and probably fewer sprayings
  • Lowered soil-borne disease burden and lessened need for soil pesticides
  • Increased organic carbon and extra income from soil carbon credits
  • Irrigation water savings and lower labour costs
  • More efficient application of anhydrous ammonia or soil pesticides
  • Avoidance of the need for and cost of deep ripping
  • Avoidance of the need for and cost of applying gypsum
  • Avoidance of waterlogging production losses
  • Avoidance of need to demolish and reform beds when rotating crops
  • Lengthened cropping phases because of a lessened need for crop rotation
  • Improved trafficability because of the need for precisely controlled traffic operations
  • Increased proportion of fields productively used through the use of wide beds (≤ 2 m wide for furrow irrigation and ≤ 3 m beds for rainfed cropping)

DBL soil management is compatible with very nearly all forms of cropping, with the possible exception of root/tuber crops, such as potatoes, and the improved root-zone soil conditions it creates and maintains ensure its adoption will never fail to deliver greater productivity, profitability and sustainability. 

Information Sheets containing explanations and substantiation of all the claimed operational, productivity and environmental benefits that flow from the practice of deep blade soil loosening can be accessed by clicking on the green bars below and then clicking on the red download buttons.

Cotton growers are required to thoroughly cultivate soils between crops to bust pupae tunnels, cut stalks and prepare a fine seedbed.  These agronomic necessities have degraded soil structure and made soils consolidate quickly and set hard when dry.

These difficulties are exacerbated by the fact that cotton farmers have only ever been offered larger, heavier machines that aggressively churn the soil, roots and soil biology.  They have never had access to machinery that can perform the required cultivations without inverting or displacing soil, and which conserve intact the roots and their associated soil biology of the previous crop.

This Information Sheet describes the minor adjustments to established practices when introducing DBL and lists the operational and productivity benefits that will flow.  Additional benefits that may flow are easier transition to rotational crops when using wide beds, perhaps longer cotton phases, improved sustainability and environmental stewardship (and the political kudos that accompanies this).


This Information Sheet describes the minor adjustments to sugarcane growing practices when introducing DBL soil management and lists the operational and productivity benefits that will follow. DBL will do away with the current inter-row cultivation and will also loosen the root zone of ratoon crops. The outcomes of significant impact from DBL practice will highly probably be improved productivity of first and ratoon crops, longer cane growing phases, the control of the disease Pachymetra, fewer operations to establish rotation crops and improved sustainability and environmental stewardship.