Farmers prepare for 2017 at BCG Trials Review

Birchip Cropping Group’s annual Trials Review Day was a huge success giving farmers the opportunity to reflect on 2016 and begin planning for 2017.

More than 150 farmers and advisors attended the event held at the Birchip Leisure Centre on Friday.

The event opened with Horsham farmer Tim Rethus and Swan Hill farmer Nev Reilly sharing their perspective on how the season went, issues that arose and how challenges were handled throughout the season.

BCG events manager Ciara Cullen said the farmer-led season reflection was a popular inclusion in the Trials Review Day program.

“Farmers really enjoy learning from each other, which is why we continue to include farmer discussion in the program,” she said.

“Tim and Nev gave a really good summation of 2016, while agronomists Simon Severin and Simon Craig concluded the day with an abridged 2017 planning session.”

This was the first time an agronomist led discussion was included in the Trials Review Day program.

Mr Severin and Mr Craig discussed potential challenges and took questions and comments from farmers in the audience.

BCG staff presented a range of results from field research conducted last year including wheat, barley and oat variety comparisons and trials looking at barley nitrogen response, wheat nitrogen response, precision ag technology, wheat fertiliser response, gibberellic acid use in lentils, vetch and barley, canola shatter reduction and Boxer Gold® use in cereals.

Guest speakers included Jason Brand (Agriculture Victoria) who discussed results from pulse variety and disease trials, and Tim McClelland (Model Agronomics) who provided insight into Farm4Prophet and how it can assist in your farm business.

Seasonal climate expert Dale Grey (DEDJTR) was unable to make the event but still managed to provide a ‘virtual’ seasonal climate update.

“This year we had two presentations that broke the mold of traditional presentations,” Ms Cullen said.

“Dale Grey’s presentation was pre-recorded and broadcast, while BCG researchers Sebastian Ie and Cameron Taylor drew on their ‘acting’ skills to present the findings from a commercial-scale investigation into precision agriculture and variable rate technology.

“Adapting the way in which results are communicated is something that is constantly evolving, with BCG try many different formats in 2016. This included moving from hardcopy newsletter to electronic, and the implementation of a new website and app.”

With 2016 trials now complete, BCG staff have turned their attention to 2017.

With research sites being prepared across the Wimmera and Mallee BCG will again aim to design a research program that reflects the issues, challenges and opportunities raised by farmers that are relevant to their region.

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