2022 John Hanrahan and Uncle Tobys Scholarships now open!

2 May, 2022

Word Count: 401

John Hanrahan and Uncle Tobys Scholarships Now Open for Riverine Plains’ Region Ag Students.

Riverine Plains Inc is pleased to invite local tertiary students working towards a degree or diploma in agriculture or agribusiness to apply for the 2022 John Hanrahan Scholarship and Uncle Tobys Scholarships.

Riverine Plains Chief Executive Officer, Catherine Marriott, explained that both Scholarships were intended to recognise and encourage agricultural excellence in the Riverine Plains region and to support local students through their studies.

“The John Hanrahan Scholarship was established by Riverine Plains in honour of the late John Hanrahan from Coreen, whose community spirit, passion for agriculture and thirst for knowledge was renowned”, said Ms Marriott.

“The John Hanrahan Scholarship is now coming in to its fourth year and has already provided financial support, work experience and other opportunities to four talented local students including Mitchell Priestly (2019), Sophie Hanna and Lachlan Quibell (both 2020), and Jessica Ryan (2021)” she said.

Riverine Plains also partnered with Uncle Tobys during 2021 to deliver the Inaugural Uncle Tobys Scholarship, which was awarded to Thomas Hatty, and the group is pleased to be able to again deliver this scholarship for 2022 to support future leaders in agriculture.

Nestlé Wahgunyah factory manager, Jean Carlo de Lima described the support of future leaders in agriculture, especially those from the local region, as being crucial to the success of the food industry.

“As agriculture continues to change through advances in technology, a greater focus on sustainability, and changes to supply chains, having first-hand, local industry experience will be invaluable” he said.

Applications for the 2022 John Hanrahan and Uncle Tobys Scholarships are open to current first year Agriculture or Agribusiness Degree or Diploma students until 15 June, 2022.

Both Scholarships include a bursary of $5,000, access to work experience, networking and mentoring opportunities with either Riverine Plains through the John Hanrahan Scholarship, or directly with Uncle Tobys through the Uncle Tobys Scholarship.

Students aged between 18 and 30 from the Riverine Plains region of north-eastern Victoria and the southern Riverina region of NSW are encouraged to apply.

“We are so excited to be able to support our region’s young people, who will also be agriculture’s future leaders, through their studies and especially look forward to watching their individual careers develop over the coming years” added Ms Marriott.

Further details about both the John Hanrahan and Uncle Tobys Scholarships are available from www.riverineplains.org.au

….ends………………

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

More Information or Interview:

Emily Thompson, Director of Communications, Events and Marketing, Riverine Plains (03 5744 1713) or email emily@riverineplains.org.au

Major Drought Resilience Innovation Grant Funding Announced at Dookie

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud MP, has announced a major Innovation Grant of nearly $2m for a drought resilience project led by Dookie Campus, University of Melbourne researcher, Dr Dorin Gupta, which also involves local farming systems group, Riverine Plains Inc.

Minister Littleproud made the announcement during a visit with the Member for Nicholls, the Hon. Damian Drum MP, to the University of Melbourne’s Dookie Campus on Wednesday 2 March and said that the funding demonstrates the Australian Government’s commitment to harnessing innovation to better prepare for periods of drought.

Dr Gupta’s project, ‘Whole-system Redesign of Broadacre Farming of SE Australia’, is looking to redesign the whole system of broadacre farming in south-eastern Australia to plan for, cope with, and recover from drought, through an inclusive systems approach that brings together individual proven practices into diversified farming systems.

“This project will demonstrate how pulses can be used as an integral part of crop rotations in mixed and grain farming systems where farm resilience is further enhanced by incorporating native crops and grasses,” said Dr Gupta.

Alongside collaborators from the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, several Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub partners will be involved in the project, including Riverine Plains and Birchip Cropping Group, along with the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, Black Duck Foods and Gap Flat Track Native Foods.

The project and the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub are funded by the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.
Co-Director of the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, Professor Timothy Reeves said he was pleased that all Innovation Hub Regional Node leaders from across the state were in attendance for the Minister’s visit.

“This is indicative of the trust and teamwork which has been built across the Victoria Innovation Hub to better serve our stakeholders, on farms, in the environment, and in rural communities” he said.

“We were honoured to have Minister Littleproud and Damian Drum MP visit and hear more about our activities in the Innovation Hub, including our unique approach to enhancing future drought resilience by focusing on the four key stages of drought – in the ‘good times’ before drought hits; in the period when drought is on the horizon; during drought – where most past work has focussed; and in the immediate drought recovery period,” said Professor Reeves.

“We’re continuing to build trust among government and industry that the Hub is where innovation and agribusiness can work together,” added Professor Reeves.

Riverine Plains is leading the North East Regional Node of the Victoria Drought Resilience and Innovation Hub and Chief Executive Officer Catherine Marriott said that it was lovely to hear how genuinely excited the Minister is about the collaborative, grass roots model operating in the Victorian Hub.

“We were able to showcase the collaboration we have with the other nodes and universities, as well as share examples of how the decentralised model is working, while bringing state and federal government, universities and the farming systems groups together,” she said.

“Riverine Plains is particularly excited about the Victorian Innovation Hub because it has enabled us to employ a livestock officer and launch our first-ever livestock project, which is a shift in focus that has been asked for by our members” added Catherine.

The Innovation Hub’s South West Regional Node Leader, Southern Farming Systems, was also awarded an Innovation Grant that involves the participation of other Hub partners, while a proof-of-concept grant of over $100,000 was announced for another University of Melbourne project that seeks to design and test a Drought Resilience Facilitation and Leadership Framework that identifies, builds, and sustains community capacity to implement strategic resilience planning.

For a full list of projects funded through the Drought Resilience Innovation Grants, visit: https://www.awe.gov.au/agriculture-land/farm-food-drought/drought/future-drought-fund/research-adoption-program/drought-resilience-innovation-grants

ENDS

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

More information or interview: Emily Thompson, Riverine Plains Inc (03 5744 1713) or email emily@riverineplains.org.au

Riverine Plains Innovation EXPO 9-11 February

7 January, 2022

Word Count: 533

Innovation has always been a key part of farming and Riverine Plains Inc are excited to be hosting the inaugural Riverine Plains Innovation EXPO in Yarrawonga/Mulwala, from 9-11 February, 2022.

The three-day EXPO is designed for farmers and industry with a focus on innovation, connection and knowledge sharing, under the theme “Farming Ahead of the Curve”.

Riverine Plains CEO, Ms Catherine Marriott, explained that the EXPO was all about challenging the status quo and exploring how farming businesses could grow and adapt through innovative ideas and by connecting with experts across the industry.

“Riverine Plains has a tradition of bringing new research and ideas to farmers in the region and we are thrilled that the EXPO will take this to the next level by presenting forward-thinking, practical speakers and by introducing farmers to businesses which can help address some of their most pressing production and profitability issues,” said Ms Marriott.

Day 1 of the Riverine Plains Innovation EXPO program begins with Riverine Plains – Upton Engineering Welcome Drinks on the evening of Wednesday 9 February.

Day 2 of the program features the Innovation Field Day (10 February, 2022), to be held on the Yarrawonga Foreshore, and provides farmers and industry with opportunities to interact with dozens of businesses and organisations delivering innovative on-farm technologies and services.

The Field Day will be followed by the Riverine Plains – New Edge Microbials Black Tie Gala Dinner and Charity Auction, which is a chance for farmers and industry to enjoy themselves socially, while raising money for the Riverine Plains Scholarship Fund.

Day 3 (Friday 11 February) includes the headline event, the Riverine Plains – Seed Force Innovation Conference, which features an impressive line-up of industry leaders and knowledge powerhouses who will challenge and inspire.

Conference speakers include Mary O’Brien (Are you bogged Mate?), who will speak on men’s health, Hannah Janson (Rural Bank) who will provide a different perspective on farm assets, and Richard Heath (Australian Farm Institute) who will address sustainability markets.

There will also be a strong focus on technology, with Phil Tickle (Cibo Labs) presenting on agtech in supply chains, Fiona Lake (Rural Drone Academy) addressing drone myths, and Jon Medway (Charles Sturt University) speaking on making agtech pay. Cam Nicholson (Nicon Rural Services) will also address decision making on farm, before a panel session featuring John Wood (GRDC), Jason Strong (MLA), Tony Mahar (NFF), and Tim Reeves (UoM) will focus on how innovation, research and agtech can help individuals and the industry capitalise on opportunities.

“From leveraging personal value, farm assets, and natural resources to optimising profits through on-farm tech and understanding externalities to better manage your farm enterprise, there will be something of value for everyone” said Ms Marriott.

“We look forward to joining with the local farming community at the EXPO in February and encourage people to come along and connect with some of the inspiring speakers and businesses that will attend this event” she added.

All-inclusive or individual event tickets can be purchased at https://riverineplains.org.au/rpexpo21/

The Riverine Plains Innovation EXPO is supported by funding from AgriFutures Australia and by funding from the Australian Government’s National Recovery and Resilience Agency and is brought to you with the support of Strategic Sponsor, Destination NSW.

ENDS
Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

More information or interview: Emily Thompson, Riverine Plains Inc (03 5744 1713) or email emily@riverineplains.org.au

The best time to manage a drought is before a drought

25 November, 2021

Word Count: 909

The best time to manage a drought is before a drought

Farmers urged to act now to get ahead of the cycle while times are good

Yields are high and commodity prices are generally strong across the board. Rural confidence is at a 20-year highi. So many are saying ‘let the good times roll’.

Well, yes and no – that’s according to Professor Tim Reeves, Co-Director of the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, a new collaboration between government, academia, industry and community to ensure farm and related businesses are better informed, more productive, and more profitable in the face of future droughts.

Professor Reeves urges producers to act when their farming business is in a favourable position to enhance future drought resilience, as this is when farmers can have the biggest impact in preparing for the inevitable, difficult times.

“It’s wonderful to see Victoria’s farming communities generally doing well. Part of our job now is to ensure this continues when the seasons inevitably turn,” Professor Reeves said.

“It is critical farmers take action regarding decisions or investments that can set themselves up for the long term, while cash flow is good and there’s opportunity to invest.

“It could be long-term fodder supply, building stock containment infrastructure or looking at options to diversify the farming business, through geographic location, or transitioning into different production systems. Renewable energy could also be an option, reducing energy bills while investing in environmental outcomes, while other off-farm investments can deliver a return, spreading risk.

“Planning for the future is fundamentally important.”

Professor Reeves said there are four key stages of the drought cycle, and steps must be taken at each stage of the cycle to truly build drought resilience and preparedness.

“There are the good times when there’s a dollar in the pocket, and there are the uncertain periods, where an El Niño might be forecast and the future is uncertain. It’s during these periods where the rubber hits the road, with prompt, effective decision-making essential to limit drought’s impact on a farming business.

“There is the drought itself, where risk and cost are front of mind – and mental health must be looked after – and the recovery where ‘green shoots’ are signalling things are possibly on the way back. Here, farmers can ramp up effectivity, generate cash flow and set themselves up to go again.

“The Victorian Drought Hub will give farmers and rural communities tools to address vulnerability to drought through this cycle, with five regional nodes developing new ways to collaborate and drive on the ground outcomes for farmers and communities.”

The North-East Node is being led by Riverine Plains Inc and the group’s Director of Research, Dr Sara Hely, said that farmers and agribusiness in the region are gaining confidence with managing drought years.

“Farmers learnt from the millennium drought and 2018’s big dry, and one of the key lessons was that their best tool for weathering drought is keeping cash in reserve,” said Dr Hely.

“The importance of diversifying farm incomes, through having a member of the farming family with another income stream, and/or leasing machinery to farmers in other regions with an earlier or later season, has also been raised as a key strategy for dealing with drought” she said.

Consultations with farmers in the North East Node have highlighted the role that social and business events play in supporting farmers and agribusiness during drought, when mental and financial stress is high, as well as the value of education, training and upskilling while times are relatively good.

“Right now is a terrific time to take up educational and training opportunities, and I’d encourage farmers and agribusiness to make the most of this in-between period to upskill their business and financial management or operational qualifications, and by researching and developing new ideas,” added Dr Hely.

The Victorian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub is funded by the Commonwealth Government and will contribute $8 million over four years through the Future Drought Fund.

The program is led by the University of Melbourne’s Dookie Campus and is conducted in association with Deakin, La Trobe, and Federation University and Agriculture Victoria; and is supported by five regional nodes across Victoria. These regional nodes are all led by highly respected farming/industry groups – BCG (NW Node); Riverine Plains (NE Node); Food & Fibre Gippsland (Gippsland Node); Southern Farming Systems (SW Node), and Mallee Regional Innovation Centre (NW Irrigated Horticulture Node).

Each node is currently consulting the agricultural industry through farmers, councils, businesses, health organisations, and community groups in their region about how to meet local needs best.

Professor Reeves said the feedback was already uncovering key priorities for action and possible seed funding, from learning from the last drought, new R&D priorities, extension and capacity building, community development, and health and mental health support.

“To get involved and to share your thoughts or ideas for building more resilient farming businesses and communities, get in touch with your local node or any other Hub partner that you wish.

“Together, we will deliver the biggest impact for producers and the community. That’s what this is all about,” Professor Reeves said.

Anyone interested in getting involved in the consultation is encouraged to contact their node at:

i https://www.rabobank.com.au/media-releases/2021/210615-expectations-of-another-big-year-fuelling-confidence-in-australias-farm-sector/

ENDS

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

More information or interview:

Dr Sara Hely, Riverine Plains Inc (03 5744 1713) or email research@riverineplains.org.au

Workshops to share knowledge about managing drought & climate challenges

15 November, 2021

Word Count: 440

Workshops to share knowledge about managing drought & climate challenges

Riverine Plains Inc will soon be delivering workshops to help farmers and communities across southern NSW and north-east Victoria address future drought and climate challenges.

The workshops are being delivered through a new project, Enhancing Community Networks for Drought Resilience in the Riverine Plains, which has recently been funded by the Future Drought Fund’s Networks to Build Drought Resilience program, through donors the Australian Government, Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal and the Pratt Foundation.

Riverine Plains CEO, Catherine Marriott explained that the project is designed to help people in Riverine Plains’ communities make personal and business connections to help better prepare for the next drought or climate challenge.

“We all recognise that drought is inevitable part of farming in Australia and that severe droughts and climatic events can have huge economic, social and environmental impacts on individuals and regional communities” said Ms Marriott.

“While we can’t stop drought, a key part of being able to respond is having other farmers, advisors, health and social networks or business services to turn to for advice, or to collaborate with, about key personal and management decisions” she said.

Farmers, business operators and Indigenous custodians in our community all have a different experience of drought and climatic events, and there are a vast range of strategies that people have adopted.

“Getting to know people outside of our immediate social or family circle can help expand access to new perspectives, ideas and support, while being able to tap into the experiences of others can really help when making plans to better manage future drought” added Ms Marriott.

As part of the project, 30 workshops will be held in southern NSW and north-east Victoria to connect primary producers, landholders, support services and Indigenous custodians to increase awareness of support, share knowledge and help improve community resilience to future drought and climate challenges.

The first workshop was held as part of the Evan Moll Gerogery Field Day on Thursday 11 November, 2021, with participants sharing their experiences in managing mental and physical health and the actions they took to manage their business during previous droughts, as well as changes they would like to implement before the next drought.

Additional workshops are being planned for late 2021 and the first half of 2022. To learn more about the project and any upcoming community events, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

The Enhancing Community Networks for Drought Resilience in the Riverine Plains project is funded by the Future Drought Fund’s Networks to Build Drought Resilience program, through donors the Australian Government, Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal and the Pratt Foundation.

ENDS

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

More information or interview:

Emily Thompson, Riverine Plains Inc (03 5744 1713) or email emily@riverineplains.org.au

The Evan Moll Gerogery Field Day Returns for 2021

29 October, 2021

Word Count: 468

THE EVAN MOLL GEROGERY FIELD DAY RETURNS FOR 2021

Riverine Plains is pleased to announce that The Evan Moll Gerogery Field Day will be held on Thursday 11 November, 2021, at the Moll family property ‘Elderslie’, from 9am to 1pm.

Riverine Plains CEO, Catherine Marriott, said the group was excited to be able to again host this long-standing event given the cancellation of last year’s event due to COVID restrictions.

“This event has been hosted by the Moll family for well over 80 years and is a really important day for local farmers, with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) National Variety Trials (NVT) wheat and canola trials a highlight of the day” explained Ms Marriott.

“The NVT sessions provide an opportunity to see first-hand how current varieties are performing locally, as well as what’s in the pipe-line for the future, as well as any agronomic issues in the lead up to harvest” she added.

Peter Matthews, NSW DPI will lead the wheat NVT discussion, while Don McCaffery, NSW DPI will lead the canola NVT discussion, with varieties and cereal rust ratings expected to generate considerable interest from farmers.

For the past two seasons, the Moll family have also been involved in the GRDC Hyper Yielding Crops project, hosting a canola demonstration to look at optimum nitrogen rates to maximise yield. Riverine Plains Project Officer, Kate Coffey, and host farmer, Daniel Moll, will talk about the 2020 results as well as any carryover effects seen in this year’s grazed DS Bennett wheat crop.

The Field Day will also have a focus on drought preparedness.

“While the past few seasons have been kind, drought is and always will be part of the Australian landscape” said Ms Marriott.

“Through our involvement in the Southern NSW and Victoria Drought Hubs, and the FRRR’s Networks to Build Drought Resilience program, funded by the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund, we are now seeking input from farmers and agribusiness professionals to understand the needs and gaps for our farmers and community, to ensure we are better prepared for the next one” she explained.

“These projects all have a sharp focus on delivering solutions to farmers and rural communities and will begin our in-person consultation process at Gerogery, to start understanding and designing programs for our members and the broader community” added Ms Marriott.

The Evan Moll Field Day will be held from 8:30am – 1pm on Thursday 11 November, 2021 at the Moll family property, ‘Elderslie’, 167 Fielder-Moll Road, Gerogery. A free BBQ lunch will be provided by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal, through the Enhancing Community Networks for Drought Resilience in the Riverine Plains project, in conjunction with Seed Force.

To register, or for more information, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au or contact Riverine Plains Inc on 03 5744 1713 or email events@riverineplains.org.au.

….ends………………

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

More Information or Interview:

Emily Thompson, Riverine Plains Inc (03 5744 1713) or email emily@riverineplains.org.au

 

Fiona Hart leaves Riverine Plains with Life Membership

11 October, 2021

Word Count: 475

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.

ENDS

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

More information or interview: Ian Trevethan, Chairman, Riverine Plains 0409 520 725.

 

Riverine Plains Research Advisory Council

3 September, 2021

Word Count: 406

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 research@riverineplains.org.au.  

ENDS

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

More Information or interview: Ian Trevethan, Chairman, Riverine Plains 0409 520 725.

 

Riverine Plains awarded grant to support farmer technology adoption

Riverine Plains awarded grant to support farmer technology adoption

Riverine Plains is one of 20 producer groups selected to take part in the AgriFutures Australia Producer Technology Uptake Program, a national pilot program designed to boost technology adoption on farm.

The program is working with established producer groups to deliver a bespoke technology workshop, as well as other activities, to introduce technology solutions and kick start adoption.

Riverine Plains was awarded funding to deliver two separate Innovation events as part of the program.

Riverine Plains Project Officer, Kate Coffey, said the first Innovation event will be a Farm Tech workshop on Tuesday 7 September, 2021, to help farmers learn about new technologies, develop skills to use data to improve decision making, as well as unlock value from existing technology & data.

“Technology solutions can help optimise resource-use across farm businesses, but determining which solution is best can be complicated, so the workshop is designed to help farmers simplify the adoption process and learn how to make the most of the data they already have available” said Ms Coffey.

In addition to the September Farm Tech workshop, the funding will also be used to deliver an Innovation Field Day in February 2022 as part of the three-day Riverine Plains Innovation Expo.

“The Innovation Expo aims to foster innovation, create connections, share knowledge, as well as showcase businesses and individuals operating ahead of the curve, and we are excited about the Innovation Field Day as a way to bring together farmers and technology providers together and help better manage some of the farming systems issues we have in the region” added Ms Coffey.

Other successful projects to receive funding include innovation field days and robotic harvest solutions, to building local senor networks and digital irrigation monitoring to name a few. A major focus for all producer groups will be assessing return on investment when it comes to selecting technology solutions for farm businesses.

AgriFutures Australia Manager, Innovation, Ulicia Raufers said interest in the pilot program was staggering, highlighting the agricultural sector’s enthusiasm to harness the benefits of technology.

“The diversity of applicants exceeded our expectations and we’re thrilled with the response,” said Ms Raufers.

“The program is first and foremost about meeting the needs of local producers. Workshops will offer producers a practical pathway to evaluate the role and value of new technology in their farming operations.”

Key to the program will be a centrally-designed and facilitated workshop for producer groups to attend locally. The workshops are designed to share practical information, decision-making tools and resources.

Ms Raufers said producers will walk away from the workshops with a personalised farm technology plan, including relevant solutions to their farming system and importantly, steps to implementation.

“The individual activities aim to arm producers with the knowledge to become technology adopters which will help speed up decision making, create labour savings and improve market access, amongst other benefits for their farm businesses,” said Ms Raufers.

The Riverine Plains Farm Tech workshop will be held on Tuesday September 7, 2021 from 8:30am – 3:00pm at the Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort, Mulwala, NSW (COVID permitting). The workshop will be presented by Rural Edge and facilitated by Brooke Sauer, Intellect Ag.

There is no cost to attend, however places are limited. To register, please email Riverine Plains Project Officer, Kate Coffey, at kate@riverineplains.org.au or phone (03) 5744 1713 for further information.

Stay up to date with the progress of the AgriFutures Australia Producer Technology Uptake Program via: https://www.agrifutures.com.au/national-rural-issues/producer-technology-uptake-program/

ENDS

More Information or Interview:

Kate Coffey, Project Officer, Riverine Plains on 03 5744 1713 or email kate@riverineplains.org.au

Best practice liming project to help address sub-soil acidity

23 August, 2021

Word Count: 499

Best practice liming project to help address sub-soil acidity

Acid soils have long been known to be a major constraint to crop and pasture production in north-east Victoria, with the reacidification of previously limed soils and pH stratification becoming increasingly important issues for the region’s grain farmers.

Given the local significance of the issue, 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.

Riverine Plains Project Officer, Jane McInnes, explained that acid soils can severely limit production rates and economic returns, especially when growing sensitive crops such as pulses.

“While many grain growers are working towards maintaining surface soil pH values above pH 5 through regular soil testing and targeted lime applications, we are increasingly seeing highly acidic layers in the 5-20cm sub-soil affect production” said Ms McInnes.

“Surface-applied lime only moves very slowly down the soil profile and this can mean that lime may only be acting in the surface zone, failing to reach acidic layers further down the profile” she added.

As part of the 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 we will also be establishing a demonstration trial at the same site looking at the quality effect of lime” explained Ms McInnes.

The demonstration will also include an elemental sulfur treatment to accelerate acidification and give an indication of the future effects if lime was not applied.

Project steering committee member, Rutherglen farmer and GRDC southern panellist, Andrew Russell, said that 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.

“By raising awareness of this issue, and ways to manage it, we hope to be able to improve the effectiveness of local liming programs in the long-term” he said.

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 jane@riverineplains.org.au.

Riverine Plains is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

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More Information or Interview:

Jane McInnes, Project Officer, Riverine Plains on 03 5744 1713.