Trials Review Day draws large crowd


BCG’s Trials Review Day draws large crowd

Drawcard topics such as cereal diseases, pulse variety and disease management, crop nutrition, vetch and barley agronomy as well as farming without glyphosate, attracted over 170 farmers to BCG’s annual Members’ Only Trials Review Day in Birchip last week. With participants in the room and online, the event was buzzing with questions and robust discussion.

Crop nutrition

Farmers were keen to discuss nitrogen management strategies for 2023 and see how the long-term N banking strategy of 125kg of N/ha/year had stacked up in a season like 2022 with high rainfall and urea prices. Presenting the Curyo Demonstration Site research, Dr James Hunt explained: “Over five years of the experiment N decisions based on 50% Yield Prophet or 125kg/ha N bank strategy apply more N, 63-74kg N/ha, and were $128-179/ha per year more profitable than the district average N rate of 21 – 30kg N/ha.

“High urea prices in 2022 were offset by higher grain prices, and the most profitable treatments and N application rates remain the same over the last five years.” This work was supported by the Mallee Catchment Management Authority through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

The presentation, backed by Dr Rob Norton’s crop nutrition discussion, confirmed in attendees’ minds the importance of prioritising soil tests to inform nutrition input decisions.

Traynor’s Lagoon Farmer Andrew Jesse said BCG’s Members’ Only Trials Review Day is an event he marks in his calendar each year: “It’s my favourite event, I’m not just saying that I really enjoy. It reinforces those things that sometimes you can get complacent about, nutrient depletion from previous year’s crops, fungicide pressure, the carry-over from last year. In previous years we have not being regimented in our fungicide strategy. This year we plan to be proactive and have a strategy in place early.”

Nick Poole honoured

A highlight of the day was industry crop canopy management expert Nick Poole, who spoke on the cereal disease panel, being formally recognised at the event for such work. The director of Field Applied Research (FAR) Australia was presented with the prestigious Harm van Rees Award “for his expertise and commitment to extending best practice in canopy and fungicide management to farmers across the Wimmera and Mallee region,” BCG CEO Fiona Best said in presenting the award.

The award’s namesake, Harm van Rees, who attended the event, praised Nick’s work: “BCG is what it is because of the tremendous support of our local farmers, sponsors, funding agencies, staff and of course research supporters of which Nick has been a major contributor. Nick has been a part of BCG’s journey for a long, long time.”

“Nick has an intrinsic ability to clearly explain, demonstrate and cajole us to think about how crops grow and what the crop needs to optimise its yield potential. Nick is known for his quiet, measured speech, ensuring his audience hangs on every word!”

In accepting the award, Nick said: “I’ve always enjoyed working with farming systems groups – it’s such a fantastic way to get the message across to a large number of people.

“BCG is such a welcoming organisation of which I feel proud to have worked with and continue to work with. Thank you to all involved.”


Safety was also a focus on the day with the launch of the Safer Farms Families Futures (S3F) network. BCG Senior Manager or Extension and Communication Kelly Angel invited attendees to be a part of a Victorian industry, first grower-to-grower learning network. S3F will tackle the critical health and safety issues experienced by individuals on farms across the region. (Express your interest at:

Service awards

BCG Board Chair John Ferrier took the opportunity to thank Corack farmer and researcher Dr Cherie Reilly for her 7 years of service to the BCG Board. BCG staff Genevieve Clarke and Claire Pickles were also acknowledged at the event for their five years and fifteen years of service to the organisation, respectively. Vin Delahunty has also been recognised for his five years with BCG.


BCG CEO Fiona Best said the success of the event was due to a collaborative approach: “BCG works with a broad range of highly credible people ensuring the information presented is validated and has tangible benefits for farmers.

“BCG’s reach is wide, attracting agricultural specialists, funding bodies and partners, community groups, businesses and farmers to work with us to achieve our mission to improve the prosperity of Australian broadacre farmers.  BCG acknowledges the importance of each one of these relationships.”

BCG’s Trials Review Day is a members’ only event. To become a member visit: For more information on BCG and our work visit or call (03) 5492 2787.

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