Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Growers sharing knowledge
17 GROWERS SHARING KNOWLEDGE GROUND COVER SOCIAL REWARDS Left: soil scientist Cliff Hignett explains to students undertaking the TAFE Certificate III Agriculture course and YPASG cooperating farmers how to assess and measure soil properties such as texture, structure and water-holding capacity at one of the latest research and best management practice workshops organised by YPASG and supported by Rabobank. Andrew Litster (left) and researcher Dr Jack Desbiolles (right) discuss seeding system set-up with TAFE students at a special workshop organised by the grower group with support from Rabobank. how different covering devices impact on seeding depth, and discussed the choice and set-up of seeding systems with local farmers. “Hearing from Jack Desbiolles and talking to the farmers about their seeding equipment has given me some good ideas to discuss with the rest of the family,” says TAFE student Ryan Cock from northern Yorke Peninsula. Another workshop that has been particularly popular was presented by Queensland-based spray application specialist Graham Betts. It included practical information on nozzle selection, boom spray set-up and measuring and monitoring spray conditions. In 2005 results from the spray application trials carried out by Ag Consulting Co and the YPASG were also presented. With an improved understanding of nozzle selection and set-up and of Delta-T, the relationship between temperature and humidity, student Matthew McDonald believes he can improve the effectiveness of the farm’s spray program. Youth meets experience While the statistics tell us the average age of farmers is increasing, one grower group is bucking the trend with nearly 50 per cent of the management committee under 35 years old. At last year's annual general meeting the MacKillop Group in the south-east of South Australia elected Lucindale farmer Lachie Seears as their chairman. At 26, Mr Seears is probably the youngest chairman of a grower group in SA. The MacKillop Group is affiliated to the Southern Farming Systems (SFS) project. With assistance from SFS a mentoring process has been established. Part of this process includes financial support for two members each year to attend the Rural Leadership Program at Marcus Oldham College, organised by SFS. Mr Seears found attending this program gave him the communication skills and the confidence to chair meetings and introduce speakers, and developed his skills to work as part of a team. He also found the program a great place to meet like-minded people. Mr Seears believes that it is vital for farming systems groups such as MacKillop to have young farmers actively involved, as they are the industry's future, but he also recognises the strength the group gains from being able to harness the experience and knowledge of his peers to the enthusiasm and drive of his contemporaries. GRDC Research Code MFM00002 More information: Ken Solly, 08 8762 0895, firstname.lastname@example.org Soils are a key resource on every farm and in the soils workshop Cliff Hignett, formerly of CSIRO Land and Water, explained how to assess and measure soil properties such as texture, structure and water-holding capacity. He looked at research from the YPASG on the impact of deep ripping and deep placement of nutrients, as well as issues such as stubble retention and the impact of tillage on soil structure and nutrient release. In the last workshop of 2005, the students discussed with agronomists the latest trial results on stripe rust, the topic the students nominated as their number-one disease control issue. This workshop also provided the students with the knowledge to identify plant growth stages, and to use this information when making decisions about nitrogen and fungicide applications. At this workshop they also had the chance to test-drive the auto-steer system being used in the inter- row seeding trials. A team from Rabobank ran the financial workshop that aimed to provide young farmers with an understanding of the information a bank requires when a farmer approaches a bank for a loan. An overview of farm loans, including issues such as producing cashflow statements, equipment finance and how to use financial analysis tools to evaluate a business’s financial position were all discussed and presented with hands-on exercises. Michael Richards, the YPASG coordinator, reports that all parties have been delighted by the students’ feedback. “The TAFE workshops are a great opportunity for young people to develop direct links with leading researchers and specialists and to benefit from the latest research in our area. “The workshops also provide YPASG and leading researchers with the opportunity to work with enthusiastic and talented young farmers, providing us with greater insight into future issues.” GRDC Research Code SYP00005 More information: Michael Richards, 0427 547 052, RichardsM@bigpond.com "The TAFE workshops are a great opportunity for young people to develop direct links with leading researchers."
GC Supplement - No-till
GC Supplement - Pastures