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.

The ‘Evan Moll’ Gerogery Field Day

The Gerogery National Variety Trial (NVT) and Agronomy Field Day has been a fixture on the southern NSW cropping events calendar for many years. Riverine Plains Inc is pleased to continue the tradition by hosting this year’s ‘Evan Moll Gerogery Field Day’, on Thursday 2nd November, 2017.

One of the key features of the day will be the inspection of the cereal and canola varieties included in the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) National Variety Trials (NVT).

Don McCaffery (NSW DPI) will discuss the characteristics of the different canola varieties in the NVT trials, while Kurt Lindbeck (NSW DPI) will discuss canola disease control.

The cereal discussions will be led by Peter Matthews and Felicity Harris (NSW DPI), with Peter leading growers through the NVT trials while Felicity will speak on flowering dates in different varieties.

Other speakers include David Leah (Seed Force) who will speak on pasture varieties and John Piltz (NSW DPI), who will address pasture digestibility issues. Adrian Clancy (AC Ag Commodities) will also deliver a lunchtime presentation on grain marketing.

The field day also provides an opportunity to discuss the issues that are developing in the lead-up to harvest.

The field day will commence at 11am on Thursday, 2nd November at “Elderslie”, Fielder-Moll Road Gerogery. A free BBQ lunch will be provided by Seed Force.

This field day is supported by Murray Local Land Services (LLS) through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

For more information please download the Gerogery Field Day Flyer 2017, contact Riverine Plains Inc on (03) 5744 1713 or email

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 the members section of this website.

We are at HMFD!

Riverine Plains Inc are at the Henty Machinery Field Days!

This year, we are in the Baker Seed Co tent, which is located alongside the agronomy plots, at the southern end of the HMFD site on 3rd Farm Avenue.

We also have a HMFD special, with all new members signing up over the course of the field days receiving 15 months membership for the price of 12! Drop in for a chat with our staff or a committee member to find out more about the available membership options.

Hope to see you there.

Interested in Lentils & Chickpeas? Join our new Pulse Check discussion group.

Expressions of Interest for Pulse Check Groups

Southern Pulse Extension Project

Riverine Plains Inc seeking Expressions of Interest for a regional Pulse Check Group as part of the GRDC Southern Pulse Extension Project.

The GRDC Southern Pulse Extension project, delivered by a consortium of organisations involved in the pulse industry across GRDC’s Southern region, provides a collaborative opportunity to increase the knowledge of growers and advisers on sustainable pulse production, improving the Southern Region’s capacity to maximise future growth and profitability opportunities.

Riverine Plains Inc will form a Pulse Check discussion group which will meet 3-4 times annually for the duration of the project (2017-2019). Paddock walks and discussions will focus on the practical aspects of pulse production, management and marketing in this region.

The first Pulse Check group meeting is planned for later this year, prior to harvest, and will cover issues associated with the lead-up to harvest, as well as paddock selection for next year and hands on activities in current season pulse crops.

Pulse Check Groups will be facilitated by local representatives with access to national technical expertise.  Groups will be comprised of a minimum of 12 growers and 3 advisers.  Prior experience in growing pulses is not required as the purpose of the group is to increase regional knowledge and capacity in pulse production.

If you would like to be involved in the Riverine Plains Inc Pulse Check discussion group (North east Victoria/Southern NSW), please contact Michelle Pardy, Riverine Plains Inc Pulse Check Group Facilitator,  on 03 5744 1713 or email by October 2nd, 2017.

New website links for RPI’s network of weather stations

The website hosting details for Riverine Plains Inc’s network of weather stations has recently changed. This means you will need to update your bookmarks for the Barooga, Berrigan, Culcairn, Lockhart, Pleasant Hills, Rand and Henty weather stations, as well as for the stations located at Dookie, Yarrawonga and Redlands.

You can do this by following this Riverine Plains Inc Weather Station Network link and selecting your nearest weather station,  or just head to our website’s home page and click on the link through to the weather stations. Here you will find links for all weather stations connected to the Riverine Plains Network, which you can then bookmark in your brower.

New weather stations have recently been installed at Bungeet, Miepoll, Rutherglen, Telford, Yabba South and Howlong, and data from these stations is also now available.


Tax tips to help purchase farm land on agenda at GRDC Farm Business Update, Mulwala

How to utilise tax depreciation offsets when purchasing farm land will be one of the hot topics on the agenda at the Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC) Farm Business Update in Mulwala this month.

The session on ‘Farm Improvements – the untold story of tax depreciation benefits’ will be presented by Michael Stout from Robinson Sewell Partners at the updates to be held at the Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort on June 28.

Other topics on the agenda include a session examining whether growers should be fixing interest rates or staying variable in the current economic climate, as well as tips for evaluating the risks and rewards of specific enterprise mixes when it comes to profitable farming systems.

One of the key addresses will be from well-known industry consultant Neville Brady from Bunch Consulting, who will offer advice and strategies for improving the performance of your agricultural operation by making more informed decisions, building a team environment, goal setting and how to have those hard conversations.

Growers will also hear practical tips from ORM consultant Brett Symes on assessing whether you have the right spray equipment to do the job, and what growers should be looking for if they are investing in new spray technology.

GRDC Northern Panel Chairman John Minogue said the Farm Business Updates were open to grain growers and advisers and offered an invaluable opportunity to hear specialist advice designed to build farm profitability and productivity.

“These updates have the fitting theme of ‘adaptable businesses – achieving results’ and are about offering growers access to the latest ‘paddock ready’ research and critical information to assist with on-farm decision making and management,” Mr Minogue said.

“The GRDC is committed to equipping growers with the knowledge and skills they need to continue to improve the productivity of their individual operations and ensure the industry’s enduring profitability.”

The GRDC Farm Business Update at Mulwala will run from 9am-1pm. For a full Mulwala update program please download the GRDC Business Update Mulwala Flyer or call 03 5441 6176.

Farm Safety Workshops at Oaklands & Mulwala (19, 20 June)

Farm Safety Workshops

Are you aware of your work health and safety obligations?

The workshop will be presented by Safe Ag Systems and aims to provide participants with an understanding of their legal requirements and enable them to make an educated decision around what they may need to do on their own farms.

Topics covered include:

  • Legislation changes, in simple terms.
  • The common belief “I don’t need anything because I am a single operator, I don’t employ anyone”.
  • Why it’s difficult for farmers to apply the normal WHS methods found in other industries.
  • What are your options?
  • How Safe Ag Systems can help.

The workshop is being held in two locations:

Oaklands on Monday 19 June from 11am – 2pm  (see Oaklands Farm Safety Workshop Flyer)

Mulwala on Tuesday 20 June from 9.30am – 11.30am  (see Mulwala Farm Safety Workshop Flyer)

RSVP to Kate Coffey by email or phone 03 5744 1713.