Agribusiness Dinner & Launch of the John Hanrahan Scholarship, Friday 2 March

Members, sponsors and friends of Riverine Plains Inc are invited to our Agribusiness dinner and official launch of the John Hanrahan Scholarship, to be held next Friday 2 March at the Corowa RSL Club, Betterment Parade, Corowa.

The evening will feature Alexandra Gartmann, CEO of Rural Bank as our special guest speaker, along with a local food and wine display and fundraising auction.   For producers interested in donating products for the auction, please download the Agribusiness producer request

The evening will also see the launch of the John Hanrahan Scholarship, which has been established to recognise and encourage agricultural excellence in local students studying their second year of an Agriculture/Agribusiness degree or diploma course.

Our vision is that the Scholarship will continue in perpetuity and we also invite members, sponsors and friends of Riverine Plains Inc to consider making a donation to the Scholarship Fund so that this vision can be realised.

The Fund has been recognised by the Australian Taxation Office to provide Deductible Gift Recipient status.

We invite you to join us for an enjoyable evening as we celebrate food, farming and fellowship. Tickets $50 each. RSVP’s essential by Wednesday 21 February – see the 2018 Agribusiness Dinner Invitation for further details.


Pulse Check (Lentil & Chickpea) Discussion Group Meeting – 7 March, Dookie

Lentil and Chickpea Marketing and Pre-Sowing Meeting

Riverine Plains Inc will host a pre-sowing Pulse Check Discussion Group meeting at Dookie on Wednesday 7 March. The meeting will provide an opportunity for local growers and advisors interested in lentil and chickpea production to discuss practical aspects of production and marketing.

Riverine Plains Inc Pulse Check Facilitator, Michelle Pardy, explained that local interest in lentils and chickpeas had been growing as growers looked for more reliable pulse options, with favourable pricing contributing to the rising interest.

“A number of growers in southern NSW and north-east Victoria grew chickpeas or lentils for the first time in 2018, with harvest results being largely positive despite the impact of frost, the dry September and harvest rains” said Michelle.

“With more growers curious about these crop types, and with sowing not too far away, this pre-sowing meeting aims to help growers with some of their lentil or chickpea marketing and planning decisions” she said.

“Of particular interest will be the implications of the recent 30% import tariff imposed by India, so we have arranged for experienced pulse agronomist and Pulse Australia Southern Region Industry Development Manager, Phil Bowden, to discuss this and other aspects of pricing and marketing” said Michelle.

Phil will also be involved in other discussions around paddock and variety selection, herbicide options, inoculant use and early nutrition. Growers can also bring in samples of graded seed from 2017 so that individual seeding rates can be calculated for 2018.

The pre-sowing Pulse Check Discussion Group Meeting will be held on Wednesday 7 March, 2018 at the Gladstone Hotel, Dookie, from 1pm – approx. 3pm. Current and prospective lentil and chickpea growers and advisors are welcome, with new growers especially invited to attend.

Light refreshments provided: RSVP for catering purposes to Riverine Plains Inc Pulse Check Group Facilitator, Michelle Pardy, on 03 5744 1713 or

For further information download the Riverine Plains Pre-Seeding Pulse Check Meeting Flyer.

The Riverine Plains Inc Pulse Check Discussion group has been established as part of GRDC’s Southern Pulse Extension Project. The Southern Pulse Extension project is being delivered by a consortium of organisations involved in the pulse industry across GRDC’s Southern region and provides a collaborative opportunity to increase the knowledge of growers and advisers on sustainable pulse production. 

Soil Pit & Moisture Probe Discussion – Boorhaman, 23 February

Riverine Plains Inc and Boorhaman Landcare will host a soil pit and discussion about the NECMA soil moisture probe project on Friday 23 February, 2018, from 9am – 1pm.

A series of soil pits will be inspected and discussed, with the program as follows;

9am: Soil pit at Neil Fisher’s property, corner Morton and Cornishtown Roads.
10:30am: Soil pit at Brad Schmidt/Paul Blackshaw’s property on Humphreys Road (between Walsh Rd and Eggleston Rd)
12:00pm: Soil pit at Ben Spence’s property on McPhersons Road (between Federation Way and Jacks Road)

All are welcome to attend this free event. This event is part of the Soil Moisture Probe Network Project, a partnership between Riverine Plains Inc & Boorhaman Landcare Group.

For further information, please download the Boorhaman Soil Pit Morning Flyer or contact Cassandra Schefe at Riverine Plains Inc on 0419 238 798 or email

Corowa Update digs into local research

Growers and advisors at the Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC) Research Update in Corowa this February will hear the latest in local research on retaining stubble.

Riverine Plains Inc is a grower group dedicated to improving the productivity of broadacre farming systems in north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. The group is one of 16 farming systems and research organisations involved in GRDC’s flagship stubble investment, ‘Maintaining profitable farming systems with retained stubble.’

The investment, which finishes in June 2018, is driving exploration of issues that impact the profitability of retaining stubbles across a range of environments in southern Australia. The aim is to develop regional guidelines and recommendations that assist growers and advisers to consistently retain stubbles profitably.

Riverine Plains Research and Extension Officer Dr Cassandra Schefe said the group established four large, commercial scale field trials at Dookie, Yarrawonga, Henty and Coreen/Corowa (‘Focus Farms’).

“These trial sites compared different stubble management practices and plant establishment, growth and yield,” Dr Schefe said.

“Smaller trials also evaluated the importance of timing of nitrogen (N) application, plant growth regulators, row spacing and variety selection in optimising production in stubble retained systems.

“The large plot field trials were always placed into a cereal stubble, so the sites didn’t continue in the same location every year, but were placed in different paddocks to maintain the same rotation position, with the trial crop being sown into wheat stubble.”

Dr Schefe said while the trial results cannot be directly compared across seasons (2014 to 2017), the effect of different stubble management techniques can be reviewed across years to determine if any single approach appears to consistently yield better.

“Generally, across the past four seasons stubble management has not been a key driver of yield, except for stubble height at Dookie, and addition of N at sowing at Yarrawonga and Henty in 2014,” she said.

“This general lack of effect may be largely due to extreme weather through some of the growing seasons, being heat stress in October 2015, and waterlogging and high cloud cover in winter and spring 2016, which would have overridden any effects of stubble management on yields.

“The timing of flowering had a strong impact on the degree to which these two factors influenced final crop yields”

A key Riverine Plains Inc project finding is that stubble management can directly influence flowering date, which Dr Schefe said may be of value as a risk management strategy to spread the risk of frost damage or water stress in a dry spring.

“This finding is dependent on other factors though, with the high frequency of frosts in 2017 meaning that frost damage was likely to occur over a range of flowering dates.

“The impact of stubble management has certainly differed according to site and season over the past four years.

“It is important to view these results within the context of the seasonal conditions. Therefore, the most productive and profitable approach to stubble management may change according to the season.”

Dr Cassandra Schefe will address the one-day GRDC Research Update at Corowa on Thursday 15 February 2018. Other speakers include Roger Lawes from CSIRO on Understanding the basis behind the yield gap and Rohan Brill from NSW Department of Primary Industries on Critical Agronomy management points for optimising canola profitability.

Go to for the full list of speakers and to register.

Rand Soil Pit Day 8 February

Riverine Plains Inc will hold an informal soil pit discussion for farmers at Rand on Thursday 8 February, 2018.

The soil pit session will give local farmers the opportunity to learn more about their local soil type and how this can affect moisture and nutrient movement across the growing season.

The soil pit is located next to the on-farm weather station and soil moisture probe at Rand, which was installed through a project supported by Murray Local Land Services and funded through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

By looking at the soil pit in conjunction with soil chemistry results, local weather station and soil moisture probe data, farmers can devlop a better understanding of where soil water and nutrients, such as nitrogen, went last season. This in turn can then provide useful information when planning fertiliser programs for the coming season.

The Rand soil pit session will run from 10am–1pm. The soil pit site is located at Roy Hamilton’s property “Bogandillan”, Rand (directions can be downloaded from the 2018 RPI Rand Soil Pit Day Flyer ). Signage and light refreshments will be provided on the day. No RSVP is necessary.

This free event is being held as part of the Linking nutrient movement to soil moisture at weather stations in the Murray Region project.

Information from the Rand weather stations and soil moisture probes, along with the entire Riverine Plains Inc weather station network, is available for free public access via the weather page at

Soil pit discussions, Bungeet & Miepoll – 6 February

Riverine Plains Inc will hold informal soil pit discussions for farmers at Bungeet and Miepoll on Tuesday 6 February, 2018.

The soil pit sessions will provide an opportunity for local farmers to learn more about their local soil characteristics and how this relates to moisture and nutrient movement through the growing season.

The soil pits have been established next to on-farm weather station and moisture probe sites installed at Bungeet and Miepoll, through a project funded through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, which will provide further data and context for the day.

The first session begins at 10am at Bungeet, with the soil pit site located to the north of 320 Devenish-Wangaratta Road, Bungeet West. The second session commences at 2pm at Carters Rd, Miepoll, with the soil pit located between Arcadia Two Chain Road and the Euroa-Shepparton Rd. Signage will be provided on the day.

All are welcome to attend these free events.

This event is being held as part of the Improving fertiliser and chemical use through local real time weather and soil information for farmers of the productive plains project. The project is supported by the Goulburn Broken CMA through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

To register, or for more information, please contact Cassandra Schefe at Riverine Plains on 03 5744 1713, email, or download the RPI soil pit day 6 Feb 2018 Flyer.

Information from the Bungeet and Miepoll weather stations and soil moisture probes, along with the entire Riverine Plains Inc weather station network, is available for free public access via the weather page at

Sykesy’s Buraja Meeting – 1st February

Riverine Plains Inc will host Sykesy’s Buraja Meeting on Thursday February 1, 2018. The meeting is an opportunity for local farmers to discuss the harvest that was, lessons learnt from 2017 and the challenges likely to arise in the season ahead.  This event continues the tradition started by the late John Sykes and is named in his honour.

The day will start with a post-harvest debrief session, facilitated by Chris Minehan from Rural Management Strategies.  Chris will also address key aspects of preparing for the year ahead.

Using results from the local National Variety Trials (NVT) and the Riverine Research Centre at Yarrawonga, Nick Poole from FAR Australia will speak on regional wheat variety performance and options for planting in autumn 2018.  David Burch from NSW DPI will speak on barley varieties, while Phil Bowden from Pulse Australia will address pulse prospects for 2018. Canola varieties and grain marketing will also be discussed.

Sykesy’s Buraja Meeting will be held on Thursday 1st February, 2018 at the Buraja Recreational Ground Hall, commencing at 9am sharp until 12:30pm. All are welcome to this free event and a BBQ lunch will be provided afterwards.  No RSVP is necessary.

A GRDC Southern NSW Regional Cropping Solutions Network (RCSN) Meeting will follow lunch (start time approximately 1:15pm), facilitated by GRDC RCSN Southern NSW Coordinator and Rural Management Strategies consultant Chris Minehan.This Open Forum is a chance for anyone involved in the grains industry to raise issues, constraints and opportunities relevant to the local industry. It is also an opportunity to hear about investments and activities the GRDC is making to improve profitability for growers in southern NSW.

For more information please contact Fiona Hart at or phone (03) 5744 1713 or download the Buraja Meeting Flyer 2018


Integrated Harrington Seed Destructor Demonstration, Culcairn

To investigate the impact of different harvest weed management techniques on ryegrass weed seed banks, the GRDC have invested in the Harvest Weed Seed Control in the Southern Region project (SFS00032 led by Southern Farming Systems).

As part of the project, Riverine Plains Inc, together with Farmlink, are holding an Integrated Harrington Seed Destructor (iHSD) demonstration day at Sherwyn Rd, Culcairn (Eastern end) on Wednesday 20th December from 10.00am til 12 noon.

The iHSD is a mill that is fitted to a combine harvester to process the chaff fraction of harvest waste,with the mechanical action of the mills acting to destroy the weed seeds.

For the demonstration, Graham Kotzur will use a harvester fitted with an iHSD fitted to harvest canola,  and will talk about the pros and cons of using the machine.

Kate Coffey will also speak briefly about the Riverine Plains Inc trial work evaluating the impact of harvest height, chaff removal and harvest timing on weed seed banks.

For further information download the iHSD demonstration day flyer or contact Kate Coffey, Riverine Plains Inc, (03) 5744 1713.

New on-farm weather stations at Miepoll and Bungeet

Local farmers now have free access to two additional weather stations and moisture probes, installed at Bungeet and Miepoll, as part of a project facilitated by Riverine Plains Inc.

Riverine Plains Inc Research and Extension Officer, Dr Cassandra Schefe, explained that access to real-time weather information was important to help farmers manage their spray and fertiliser applications, harvest fire risk and also their response to damaging environmental events such as frost.

“Weather patterns, topography and soil types all vary across a region and while there are official BOM weather stations located at Shepparton, Yarrawonga, Wangaratta and Benalla, these may not reflect conditions at individual locations across the Goulburn Broken catchment” she said.

“Local weather stations, such as those recently installed at Bungeet and Miepoll, can act to fill the void across the region and work to help farmers save time when making decisions” she added.

The on-farm weather stations continuously record air temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed and direction: this data is then used to calculate Delta T for spraying, fire safety during grain harvest, as well as frost risk. Soil moisture probes installed at varying depth increments at the sites also provide information to help farmers monitor crop water use and fertiliser application.

The new weather stations at Bungeet and Miepoll complement Riverine Plains Inc’s existing weather stations located at Barooga, Berrigan, Culcairn, Henty, Howlong Lockhart, Pleasant Hills, Rand, Redlands, Dookie, Rutherglen Telford, Yabba and Yarrawonga.

Information from the Goulburn Broken CMA funded Bungeet and Miepoll weather stations, and the entire Riverine Plains Inc weather station network, is available for free public access via the weather page at Simply select the nearest location then save to your smartphone, tablet or computer.

The Miepoll and Bungeet weather stations were installed through the Improving fertiliser and chemical use through local real time weather and soil information for farmers of the productive plains project. The project was funded by Goulburn Broken CMA through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.