South Coast NRM is well into its second year of the Subsurface Drainage Return on Investment Trial, funded by the Grains Research Development Corporation. In the lead up to a second harvest, the Land and Water Team have looked back on yield results so far.  

The drained site, growing canola, yielded an average of 1.26 tonne per hectare in 2021, despite rainfall being in the 99th percentile during the growing season. This is an outstanding performance for the site. In 2020 prior to the installation of drains, the same area yielded less than one tonne per hectare in a lower rainfall year. 

“Having tried everything from raised beds to deep drainage to mitigate waterlogging, subsoil drainage is the first thing that really looks like it will allow us to grow solid crops every year on our high rainfall country. There is still a lot to learn, particularly the interaction between tile spacing and soil types, and whether we also need to use mole drainage in our heavier soils for maximum benefit. I think this South Coast NRM project could possibly be the next major milestone in unlocking the potential of the broad Esperance high rainfall sandplain” says grower Michael Fels.  

For more information about subsurface drainage in the southeast region, please contact Sophie Willsher on (p) 9076 2200 and (e)

Keep up to date at Subsurface Drainage Return on Investment — SOUTHERN SOILS