A Soil Wealth ICP melon demonstration site is being hosted by Dawson Melon Co. in Red Cliffs near Mildura, Victoria.

Soil Wealth ICP team members Umberto Calvo and Dr Kelvin Montagu (AHR) will work with grower Brad Dawson to trial wheat straw as an alternative to plastic mulch in rockmelons.

Good quality wheat straw will be spread on the growing beds at different rates (tonnes/hectare). Some of the beds will be treated with metham sodium and some will not, as the grower is trying to phase out this broad-spectrum soil fumigant.

The objective of the trial is to verify the weed suppression potential of different combinations of straw mulch density and metham sodium application.

This trial fits well with the current push from the industry to reduce the use of broad-spectrum chemicals and plastic mulch, to become more environmentally sustainable.