THE Facey Group’s annual trials presentation event was held on Thursday, March 8 at Wickepin.
The afternoon showcased the group’s 2017 trials, as well as several other industry presentations covering many local farming priorities.
The Facey Group’s agricultural research and extension co-ordinator Chloe Turner discussed results from the 2017 trials, which included frost research, non-wetting soils trials, perennial pasture trials for summer grazing, lime incorporation research, trifluralin on oats, wheat and barley National Variety Trials local results and the eConnected Grainbelt project.
Brayden Noble, Summit Fertilizers, presented on the effect of nitrogen timing in canola, which showed significant yield response to nitrogen rates but not to timing of applications in the 2017 season.
In wet years, this would provide growers with the flexibility to delay nitrogen decisions to late flowering with enough nitrogen upfront.
Wesley Lefroy, Rabobank, explained blockchain and how it could help the industry.
He highlighted the key benefits as transparency, provenance, reduced counter-party risk and with increased financial efficiency.
He also touched on the renowned RaboResearch podcast, that farmers can listen to while seeding this year.
The Grains and Research Development Corporation (GRDC) 2018 Seed of Light recipient Mark Seymour highlighted the importance of keeping legumes in the rotation.
His take-home messages included that lupins have returned to good prices relative to cereals, chickpeas still need some fungicide management to work, lentils have improved and are worth having another look at, early sown faba beans work well and new varieties are less risky and early sown serradella on light soils and vetch on heavier soils are good options if you have stock.
Facey Group executive officer Sarah Hyde presented on “integrating spatial technologies in a mixed farming system to increase production efficiency of crop grazing”, a collaborative project with the University of New England, the CRC for Spatial Innovation, Precision Agronomics Australia, AgVivo, MLA Donor Company, Landgate and WA government.
The project aimed to better understand the grazing patterns of livestock when grazing crops and link them to crop yield maps at harvest.
It also aimed to generate livestock yield maps at a sub-paddock scale, developed by integrating plant-monitoring technologies quantified by GPS-derived animal grazing patterns, therefore increasing the capacity and understanding of precision agriculture for livestock production in WA.
The annual Farmer Forum Panel was held following afternoon tea, with three Facey Group members with different farming systems, who have all been involved in previous local trial work.
The session, facilitated by Ms Hyde, was to understand the conscious change in thinking farmers have, resulting in the change of on-farm practices derived from local research.
It was an interactive session with many attendees interested in what these three farmers have got out of the trial work or how they make decisions on adopting new technologies or strategies on-farm.
Ben White and Josh Giumelli, the Kondinin Group, gave an intriguing presentation about the technology and machinery they saw at AgriTechnica in Germany last year, as well as demonstrating the results from their GRDC-project on machinery costs efficiencies.
They presented some interesting findings such as the average WA farming business has a 0.7:1 machinery to income efficiency ratio and that the higher capital cost of machinery is offset by the efficiency gains of new technology and the reduced need for additional labour.
The final speaker was Darrin Lee, Bligh-Lee Farms, Mingenew, who gave an informative presentation about his farm innovations in connectivity.
His key message to growers was that interoperability and connectivity are the most important points to make on-farm decisions with precision.
The day ended with a sundowner and networking opportunity for all, at the Wickepin Community Centre.
The Facey Group thanked event sponsors Summit Fertilizers, GRDC and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, its major sponsors – Summit Fertilizers, Rabobank and Wickepin Shire – and valued sponsors for their continued support and commitment to the group’s success.