Fiona Hart leaves Riverine Plains with Life Membership


After 18 years of dedicated service, Riverine Plains have farewelled Chief Operating Officer, Fiona Hart, who is moving on from the organisation to pursue a new career opportunity.

In honour and recognition of the significant role Fiona has played within the organisation, and the community more broadly, Fiona has been awarded a Riverine Plains Life Membership – the first ever presented by the group.

Riverine Plains Chairman, Ian Trevethan, explained that Fiona Hart’s name has become inexorably linked with Riverine Plains and her departure marks the end of an era.

“I’d like to acknowledge and thank Fiona for the huge contribution she’s made to the organisation over such an extended length of time. Over the past 18 years, Fiona’s high personal morals and values have become embedded in the culture of Riverine Plains and are a big reason that the group enjoys the respect that it does” said Ian.

Riverine Plains was established in 1999 to improve the flow of agricultural research and other information across the southern NSW and north-east Victorian border region and Fiona was originally employed in 2003 to help manage the group’s activities and develop its scope as a farming systems group. As the group grew, so did her role, which evolved from Administrator, to Executive Officer and then to Chief Operating Officer.

Through Fiona’s leadership, along with the direction provided by successive committees and staff, Riverine Plains has developed into the organisation it is today. Fiona’s calm influence, her thoroughness and attention to detail has helped the group deliver innumerable field days, study tours, seminars, research and extension projects and skills-based courses over the years, as well as the establishment of a scholarship program to support local tertiary students in agriculture.

Fiona Hart said that she has thoroughly enjoyed her time with Riverine Plains as it is a unique organisation, with a rich history, wonderful people and a vibrant future.

“It would be impossible to thank everyone that I’ve worked with over the years, however I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the members, past committee members, current board members, staff, sponsors, researchers, project partners and associates with which I’ve had the honour of working” she said.

“I’d like to especially thank the group’s past Chairmen David Cook, Adam Inchbold, Andrew Russell, Evan Ryan, John Bruce and current Chairman, Ian Trevethan, for their leadership and contributions to the organisation. Riverine Plains has an exciting future ahead and I look forward to keeping in touch with the group’s successes” added Ms Hart.

Ian Trevethan said that Fiona’s gentle and caring nature will be greatly missed by the staff, the board, members and partners alike.

“I’d like to congratulate Fiona on her new role with the CFA and look forward to her ongoing involvement in the group through her Life Membership” concluded Ian.

Irrigated Discussion Group Field Walk – Oaklands, 29 September

Riverine Plains will host an Irrigated Discussion Group Field Walk on Wednesday 29 September, 2021 at James Nixon’s (Oaklands), COVID permitting. The field walk will take place from 9:00am – 12:30pm.

To RSVP, or for further information, please contact Kate Coffey, Riverine Plains Irrigation Discussion Group Facilitator, by email or phone (03) 5744 1713.

To download and print a copy of the flyer, please click here.

Virtual soil mapping workshop and field walk

The Improving Soils to Optimise Water Use soil mapping workshop and acid soils field walk has been moved online in response to current COVID restrictions.

Riverine Plains will host a Virtual Soil Mapping Workshop and Acid Soils Field Walk on Friday 17 September, 2021, from 9.00am – 12:30pm.

The meeting will be held over the Zoom meeting platform. To register, please visit

For further information please email Riverine Plains Project Officer, Kate Coffey, at or phone 0407 919 842.

To download and/or print the pdf version of the flyer, please click here.

Riverine Plains Research Advisory Council Members Announced

Riverine Plains are pleased to announce the formation of an inaugural Research Advisory Council which has been established to develop the research strategy and priorities of the organisation.

Riverine Plains Chairman, Ian Trevethan said the formation of the Research Advisory Council was an exciting step towards ensuring the group better identifies research opportunities, gaps, risks and issues, as well as providing insights about what is going on both inside and outside the region.

“As an organisation, we have always focussed on farmer-driven research and this will not change.  The Research Advisory Council will maintain the traditional focus on grains and soils, and in addition expand our research portfolio to incorporate livestock systems, climate and environmental pillars” said Mr Trevethan.

The Riverine Plains Research Advisory Council comprises a diverse mix of farmers, researchers and advisors, all with excellent locally relevant expertise and a range of interests and skill sets.

“It also represents the group’s geographic footprint really well, with eight members from NSW and eight from Victoria to ensure that Riverine Plains can be well-placed to meet the future needs of members” Mr Trevethan added.

The 16 member Research Advisory Council will be jointly chaired by Riverine Plains Board Members Melissa Brown (Miepoll, Vic) and John Bruce (Barooga, NSW).  The newly appointed members include Scott Bartlett (Kialla, Vic), Dr. (Paul) Long Cheng (Dookie, Vic), David Gooden (Lockhart, NSW), Rob Inglis (Wagga Wagga, NSW), David Leah (Gerogery, NSW), Angus Malmo (Yerong Creek, NSW), Craig Marshall (Rennie, NSW), Tom Marriott (Barooga, NSW), Dr. Madeline Mitchell (Melbourne, Vic), Eric Nankivell (Albury, NSW), Andrew Russell (Lilliput, Vic), Rhiannon Sandford (Yea, Vic), Dr. Cassandra Schefe (Rutherglen, Vic) and Corey Uebergang (Peechelba East, Vic).

“Locally relevant research, extension and validation provides an incredibly important foundation for improving the way we farm, so the importance of this group can’t be understated in terms of what it means for the productivity and sustainability of local farming businesses” said Mr Trevethan.

“We congratulate all those appointed to the advisory council and look forward to the group being a driving force for the Riverine Plains research, extension, validation and adoption program to deliver timely and innovative outcomes for members” concluded Mr Trevethan.

Riverine Plains encourages anyone with research ideas, needs, queries or challenges, to please get in touch with one of the Research Advisory Council members, or contact the Riverine Plains office directly on 03 5744 1713 or email  



Virtual Fodder for the Future Field Day – 9 September

Due to COVID restrictions, The Fodder For the Future Paddock Walk is now being delivered virtually.

The Virtual Field Day will provide an opportunity for interested dairy, grain, hay and silage farmers to discuss factors affecting quality fodder crop production, including soil pH.

This Field Day will be delivered using the Zoom meeting platform – to register, please visit:

For more information, please email Jane McInnes at or contact the Riverine Plains office by phoning 0407 919 842.

To download or print a copy of the flyer, please click here.

The Fodder for the Future project is funded by the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, through the Murray-Darling Basin Economic Development Program.

This event is supported by the North East Catchment Management Authority through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Workshop – Creating a Farm Tech Plan: Making the data work for you

Riverine Plains will host a 2-part online Farm Tech workshop to help producers develop skills and knowledge around how to use data to improve decision making, as well as to unlock value from existing technology & data.

The workshop will take place over two sessions, with Session 1 being held on Tuesday September 7 (from 8:45am – 12 noon) and Session 2 taking place on Tuesday 14 September (from 8:45am – 12 noon).

Participants will also learn how to develop a farm tech plan and identify additional technology to improve productivity & efficiency.

The Farm Tech workshop will be presented by Rural Edge and facilitated by Brooke Sauer, Intellect Ag, and funded by AgriFutures Australia.

There is no cost to attend, however places are limited for this event. You can still register to attend Workshop #2 (even if you missed the first workshop) by emailing Riverine Plains Project Officer, Kate Coffey, at or phone 0407 919 842.

The pdf of the flyer can be downloaded here

Best practice liming project to help address sub-soil acidity

We are looking for a farmer from north-east Victoria to host a trial site as part of this project. If you think you have a subsoil acidity constraint (ideally less than pH 5 in the 5-20cm zone) and would like to be involved in a trial looking at best practice liming and lime quality issues, please email Riverine Plains Project Officer, Jane McInnes at .

Riverine Plains is pleased to be leading a new GRDC investment, Best practice liming to address sub-soil acidity in NE Victoria, which aims to increase awareness of acidity and pH stratification in local soils, as well as the management tools available to farmers.

While many grain growers are working towards maintaining surface soil pH values above pH 5 through regular soil testing and targeted lime applications, highly acidic layers in the 5-20cm sub-soil can affect production and economic returns, especially when sensitive crops such as pulses are grown.

Because surface-applied lime only moves very slowly down the soil profile, applied lime may only be acting in the surface zone, failing to reach acidic layers further down the profile. Moreover, because soil testing has traditionally been done by bulking surface and subsoil layers together, many farmers may be unaware they have an acid soil layer that is limiting production.

As part of this new project, Riverine Plains will establish a replicated trial to look at how the incorporation of lime can improve the distribution of lime down the soil profile and lessen the impacts of soil acidity on subsequent crops. Some of the techniques which are being considered for the trial include spading, discing, ripping and prickle-chaining.

The lime treatment trial will be established during February 2022 and will compare crop performance of subsequent crops across the different treatments. These results will then be used to inform an economic analysis of the treatment options, while intensive soil sampling will also help to understand differences in nutrient availability, pH and soil organic carbon between treatments.

Lime quality can be quite variable so Riverine Plains will also be establishing a demonstration trial at the same site looking at the quality effect of lime.

For further information about the project, or to learn how to become involved, please contact Riverine Plains Project Officer, Jane McInnes on 03 5744 1713 or email

Interactive Precision Agriculture Workshop Cancelled

Cancelled due to COVID-19 regulations.  We will endeavour to arrange another form of delivery as soon as we can.

Registrations are now open for a Precision Agriculture (PA) Training workshop to be held on Monday 23 August, 2021. The event will now be held at Burkes Hotel Function Room (Yarrawonga) from 9:00am to 3:00pm.

The workshop is free and interactive, and is designed to help participants gain a better understanding of how to use proven tools and techniques in devising strategies for forecasting and addressing yield and profit variability (scroll down for program details).

To register, please email Fiona Hart at or phone (03) 5744 1713.

The flyer can also be downloaded here.


Cool Soil Initiative Update