MORE than 130 young farmers turned out last week to learn from on-farm visits, more than treble the number South East Premium Wheat Growers' Association (SEPWA) organisers had hoped for.
SEPWA Youth in Ag Group (YAG) president Brett South, Beaumont, said young farmers came from as far afield as the Stirling Ranges and east of Ravensthorpe and from Lake Grace and Newdegate in the north.
A bus provided for the day was booked out and many shared cars or drove themselves.
"The ages ranged from 18 to about 35," Mr South said.
"I'd been hoping to get maybe 30 or 40 young people along, but we got more than 130 which is really great.
"If they're representative of the next generation taking over ag, then agriculture's in good hands.
"With lots of industries affected by COVID-19, it was really good to see such a strong turn out for agriculture."
The group spent the morning at the 16,500 hectare Fowler family farm, Chilwell at Howick, East Esperance, where brothers Simon and Andrew explained their cropping and grazing enterprises.
"It is an amazing operation and we discussed crop grazing, pasture types, sheep feedlot, water management, cropping to high rainfall, staff management and their season preparations," Mr South said.
"It's truly inspiring to see the amount of info and advice that is willing to be given out to the next generation coming through, which makes these days special to attend.
Lunch was provided by sponsors Farm and General, Rabobank and Farmers Centre and during the lunch break CBH Esperance port zone manager Mick Daw and business relationships manager Callum McFarlane spoke to the group.
In contrast to the Fowlers' family farm operation, the afternoon session was hosted by one of Australia's largest corporate grain growers, Warakirri Cropping, at its 13,600ha Lobethal property, 100 kilometres east of Esperance.
"We saw some very impressive canola crops and had a heavy conversation around break crops that work down in the Esperance port zone," Mr South said.
Lobethal farm manager Con Murphy and assistant manager Laura Bennett explained the wheat, barley and canola cropping operation and water management.
Mr South said young farmers were interested in harvest problems encountered with a tall hybrid variety of canola grown on the property.
Because of winds along the coastal sand plain, swathing was not an option for tall canola, but the hybrid crop was now at the upper limit of manageable direct heading height which slows the operation down.
"They're (Warakirri) talking to seed producers of hybrid canola about producing a lower growing variety to overcome the harvest problems, but it was a beautiful looking crop with plenty of pods," he said.
"The final stop was the Lucky Bay Brewery for our sundowner which was an awesome night and gave everyone plenty of time to network, catch up and meet new people from all over the place."
Mr South urged young southern farmers to sign up for SEPWA and YAG because they had a reputation for organising interesting and informative industry events, including overseas trips.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.