Celebrating the positive start!

The feeling of the farming community is positive with one of the best starts to the season we have seen for a long time.

With good late autumn rains received throughout much of the region, farmers have been able to sow the majority of their crops in a very timely window. The welcome rains, albeit not so much in the west Wimmera, have granted us with the opportunity to achieve a good knock down of weeds prior to seeding.

Those with livestock are seeing an abundance of feed in their pasture paddocks. And while we know there is still a long way to go, it is good for us to celebrate when we can!

The season is progressing quickly. In the past week (late May), I have seen farmers spreading urea and others rolling their legume crops as well as applying post emergent sprays!

An experienced farmer once said to me that cropping was the busiest time of year and this cropping season certainly has proved that to be true. I feel the pace may continue due to Covid-19, international events as well as the increasing expense of inputs, procurement and logistics.

I continue to find a great support in BCG’s regular technical bulletins offering the latest information and guidance, and act as an important checklist to work through each fortnight.

BCG’s ever-growing trials program and the library of trials results, are all available to help farmers make decisions. I am regularly flicking back through my BCG manuals to see the results of various trials that have been conducted.

Fertiliser

With the astronomical price of fertiliser and our commitment to sustainability, BCG is always searching for new, realistic, achievable and affordable ways to supply nutrition to crops. There has been much discussion around manufacturing ‘Green N’ as a by-product of hydrogen energy generation, the use of processed organic food waste as well as innovations in slow-release coatings on fertiliser. BCG will continue to investigate, generate and invest in new ideas and concepts for farmers as a key research objective.  Watch this space!

Nitrogen trials

We are also committed to helping farmers make fertiliser decisions through our N Bank work. BCG has received additional GRDC funding for this project which is designed to validate a range of ‘N banking targets’ (and respective N budget scenarios) and compare to traditional ‘N crop demand driven strategies’. Results will establish potential profits and risks associated with both scenarios. Learnings from this investment are likely to simplify nitrogen management in cereals and canola, assisting in closing the yield gap for non-leguminous crops.

Safflower

Always looking for our growers to be prosperous through innovation, BCG is continuing research into growing super high oleic safflower. Trials are concentrating on developing agronomic packages around time of sowing, nutrition strategies and herbicide use that result in profitable WUE for a range of target production environments. BCG has been funded by GRDC to undertake some research as well as continue to work with GOResources to complete additional trials.

Victorian Drought and Innovation Hub

As the lead for the North-West Broadacre Node of the Victorian Drought and Innovation Hub, BCG is playing an important role in supporting farmers, communities and landscapes to prepare for and be resilient through drought.

Consultations with farmers and communities to date have led to the introduction of projects such as a digital application crop monitoring tool to assist on-farm decision making and a reinvigoration of Over the Fence, a successful past initiative. This initiative will share stories and imagery of the strength of our farmers and rural communities.

Young Farmers Network

Climate Courage is the launch event for our Young Farmer Network. The free event will be held on Friday the 5th of August at the Birchip Leisure Centre. Renowned guest speaker Dr Anika Molesworth, an agroecology scientist, farmer and author, will share her experiences and messages of climate courage. To register and for more information regarding the North-West Broadacre Node and Vic Drought Hub, please visit: bcg.org.au

Be sure to reach out to BCG on (03) 5492 2787 or [email protected] if you have any questions regarding our work or have a research idea.

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