FarmLink Annual Open Day

The Annual FarmLink Open Day is the premier event on the FarmLink calendar - held at Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre - bringing together researchers, scientists, consultants and industry leaders to present a series of crop walks, workshops, displays and presentations to the farmers of Southern New South Wales.
Each year the program is designed around the innovative research, initiatives, equipment and services aimed at helping farmers to change, adapt and prosper.

The 2019 event will be held on Friday, September 13  


A freshening of the FarmLink Annual Open Day will provide a series of indoor and outdoor sessions running concurrently, allowing participants to choose the topic most relevant to their farming operation. The speaker line-up draws from a wide array of expertise and experience including researchers, advisers and consultants covering a myriad of topics, while a wide range of trade displays have already indicated their interest in being included in the Open Day.

Tickets ($35 FarmLink members, $45 non-members and $20 students) are now available online, with all online bookings going into the draw to win a FarmLink membership, valued at $250. Express entry is also available on the day for those who have pre-booked. Admission includes morning tea (provided once again by Allied and Aryzta), lunch (sponsored by Pulse Australia) and cut-out drinks (provided by AGT).

>> Download the flyer

Guest presenters and topic summaries -


Canadian intercropping study tour
Increasing crop diversity with cover crops, companion crops and intercrops - What can we learn from the Canadians? - Tony Swan (CSIRO) and James Holding (FarmLink)
              We joined 20 FarmLink members for a trip across the Canadian prairies in July to discover how Canadian grain growers are using multispecies covers, companions and intercrops. Colin Rosengren farms 3,400ha at Midale (AAR 336mm, GSR 264mm), two thirds of which are intercropped (lentil/camelina, linseed/chickpeas, canola/lentil/pea). Why? Reduced inputs (fertiliser and pesticides), increased harvestability and increased grain yields versus a monoculture, providing benefits of $100/ha. Derek Axten farms 2,700ha in a drier area at Minton (AAR 285mm, GSR 150mm) and sows half his farm to intercrops (linseed/chickpeas, lentils/canola, peas/lentils) which he rotates with cereals. Why? Less Ascochyta in chickpeas, lentils grow tall increasing yield in header and increased biodiversity is improving his soil. Seeding, spraying and harvesting challenges have been met while grain separation was a hurdle. And while these growers were passionate about soil health, increasing diversity, and reducing fungicides and insecticides – IT HAD TO PAY!
These Canadian growers have risen to the challenge on large commercial farms. Can we develop similar strategies in the FarmLink area? What’s working now, and what could we try? Come and discuss your ideas with the CSIRO and FarmLink team and if it makes sense lets design research to help us Change, Adapt, Prosper. 

HWSC project results
Harvest weed seed control (HWSC) trial results from the southern high rainfall zone
James Manson (Southern Farming Systems)
               Harvest weed seed control (HWSC) – the capture of weed seeds during harvest for destruction by crushing, grazing, burning or rotting – has been shown to be an extremely effective means of long-term annual ryegrass control in Australia (Walsh et al 2014; Walsh et al 2017). However, while research has been conducted across rainfall zones only a small proportion of it is from the Southern high rainfall zone (HRZ). This presentation will discuss the findings from a GRDC-funded research project led by Southern Farming Systems that tested the efficacy, practicality and profitability of HWSC in the Southern HRZ through small-plot trials, on-farm trials and computer modelling. FarmLink conducted a farm-scale trial from 2015 to 2017 for this project. The findings suggest that HWSC can support the effort to control annual ryegrass in the Southern HRZ but it cannot be the ‘holy grail’ it is hoped to be in other parts of Australia.

Exclusion feeder trial
Anthony Shepherd (Sheepmatters)
               Early introduction of lambs to grain and the use of exclusion feeders are potential strategies to maximise lamb production per kilogram of supplementary feed supplied, especially during periods of extended dry conditions. In 2019, FarmLink engaged Sheepmatters to commence a three-year MLA funded trial to assess the effect of these strategies on lamb weight gain. The hypothesis was that lambs will have better weight gain through a creep feeding system which provides grain to lambs but excludes access from the ewe. By allowing this to happen, it will allow the lamb to develop its rumen more rapidly which should allow the lamb to put on more weight more quickly, and hence achieve a more efficient conversion rate. The trial involves five FarmLink members, each having a control and treatment mob of approximately 200 ewes. Fundamental traits and measurements are collected on the ewe (pregnancy status, pre-lamb body weight, weaning weight), lambs (lamb marking body weight, weaning weight, post-weaning weight) and feed (both in-paddock and supplementary). This session will provide an overview of the trial methodology and results to date.

Dual depth acidity mapping in pastures
Farming Smarter – a soils project for the next generation
Lisa Castleman (Riverina Local Land Services) and Kirsten Barlow (Precision Agriculture Pty Ltd) 
               Soil acidity affects 50% of Australia’s agricultural land and is a ‘major constraint to pasture & crop productivity in southern NSW with annual rainfall of 550-800mm’ (Scott et al., 2000). Acidic soils can impact on the establishment, productivity and persistence of perennial pastures and the nitrogen fixation of legumes, which are an important component of pasture mixes. The Farming Smarter Project is funded from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, delivered by Riverina Local Land Services and Precision Agriculture Pty Ltd was selected as a service provider.
This project utilises precision agriculture to identify the severity and extent of soil acidity in a paddock and guide decisions around required liming rates before establishing perennial pastures.
The long-term aim of the project is to improve groundcover by establishing new perennial pastures and reduce the occurrence of wind and hillslope (water) erosion which may occur when annual pastures are not actively growing or when groundcover is not maintained above 50-70%. To date, the project has grid soil mapped 2200 hectares on a 2ha grid across 45 properties in southern NSW.
This presentation will describe results from dual depth (0-10, 10-20cm) soil mapping conducted in the Eastern Riverina and discuss the use of tailored variable-rate lime application which uses the range in data for soil pH and Effective Cation Exchange Capacity to ameliorate Aluminium toxicity and soil acidity.

Detecting changes in soil biology
Smelling soil: detecting changes in what soil communities are doing
Shane Powell and Caroline Mohammed (Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture/UTAS)

Soil biological communities are a vital part of the soil ecosystem providing ecosystem services that allows soil to continue to be healthy and productive. In this presentation we aim to share current understanding of soil microbes as well as some new technology that should help us monitor soil organisms better. We can foresee many potential applications for this new technology; however, we would really like to know what you would be most interested in. UTAS is working with grower groups, including FarmLink, in a project funded by the High Performing Soil CRC to develop a simple and easy to use device which will monitor the activity of soil microbial communities, allowing growers to manage their soils for healthier, more productive and resilient soils.

On-board protein analysers
The missing piece of the precision agriculture puzzle: protein mapping     Phil Clancy (Next Instruments)
Precision Agriculture has seen the introduction of many technologies designed to increase productivity on farm, including GPS guidance, Controlled Traffic Farming, yield monitoring, variable rate fertilisation, controlled seeding and more. These technologies are well established and have produced significant increases in productivity and yield. Real-time protein mapping is the next big step in achieving gains in productivity and profitability in the production of cereal grains and oil seeds. The CropScan 3000H On Combine Analyser provides the technology to measure protein, moisture and oil in grains and oil seeds as they are being stripped in the paddock. By combining the protein, yield and GPS data; a number of powerful layers can be produced relating to nitrogen uptake and use. This presentation will give an overview of the technology – how it works and what is involved in both installation and use. It will summarise the numerous benefits provided to growers through the use of an on-combine NIR analyser, ranging from optimising decision making around grain segregation and/or mixing to generating nitrogen use and removal maps which can ultimately be used as a basis for in-paddock ground-truthing and site-specific nitrogen strategies.

Weighing up the value of leaf and grain
Neil Durning (Riverina Independent Agronomy)
               Recent livestock prices have caused many farmers and advisers to re-think the value of the crop biomass they are growing in the grain production process. In the current lamb market of $7.50/kg carcass weight, if a farmer can achieve 30 DSE per hectare grazing for 30 days on a dual purpose cereal or canola (or failing crop), with 250g per head/day liveweight gain at 45% carcass yield they have achieved a gross income of $750/ha for that grazing. This is not easy to average in the grain game when Springs turn against us, but in reality it is far easier said than done and there are pitfalls along this path. This session aims at discussing the opportunities, key agronomic principals of growing dual purpose crops and removing biomass from failing or other crops, estimating realistic tonnes/ha dry matter, formulating an achievable stocking rate and assessing the risks and costs to the next crop, because you always pay the piper somewhere. Led by a local advisor, this session aims to distil the basics from a very complicated topic by providing practical knowledge and ‘rules of thumb’ formulated from their experience working with a number of clients performing these assessments over recent years.

On-farm sensors
On-farm sensors in dryland cropping - John Pattinson (Goanna Ag)
               Managing your farming operations efficiently and profitably requires you to make all sorts of decisions – big and small, on a daily basis. To help get those decisions as right as you can as often as you can, it is logical that you have reliable information on call. Whilst nothing replaces experience and good management, technology is having an increasingly important role in helping deliver that information. This technology includes remote monitoring from right across your farm – from weather stations to tank monitoring to soil moisture. As these technologies become more commercially viable, growers are beginning to understand the valuable role they can play in improving their understanding of what is happening in a range of on-farm situations. In this session, John Pattinson from Goanna Ag will explain some of their emerging solutions which are helping and enabling growers make more informed on-farm decisions. He will touch on the experiences and learnings from a current joint project being undertaken with FarmLink titled ‘Tech and Tools Connecting Farmers’. This capacity building project works with four FarmLink members plus the TAIC farm over two seasons to demonstrate how remote monitoring can be utilised in their dryland cropping systems – the devices, the cost and the value.

Making sense of local and global wheat markets
Brett Duczmal (Allied Pinnacle) 
               With the wealth of information, we consume in today’s technology-fuelled society, it can become overwhelming determining key factors surrounding grain marketing. This presentation addresses important components of wheat marketing and presents them in a user-friendly format. We will focus on breaking down current trade flows in both domestic and global markets. Trade flows play a crucial role in determining price at a local level. We analyse the impact of these trade flows in 2019 and forecast those for 2020. Finally, we will provide an insight on what is important to the domestic miller and our flour customers.

Regional agronomist panel seasonal update and Q&A session      
Various agronomists from the FarmLink region   
This session will be the final item for the day and consist of a half hour panel discussion and Q&A opportunity between growers and a panel of experienced agronomists from the FarmLink region. The session will cover off on key learnings from the day, as well as cover topical seasonal issues. The session will be set in a relaxed format, coinciding with the commencement of our AGT cut-out drinks. 


Canola agronomy
Canola agronomy in southern NSW (GRDC projects Optimised Canola Profitability CSP00178 and High Yielding Canola agronomy BLG107) 
Rohan Brill (NSW DPI)

               The Optimised Canola Profitability team (a collaboration between GRDC, NSW DPI, CSIRO and SARDI) has determined optimum flowering dates for environments across Australia (summarised within In this session, we will talk about optimum flowering dates at key locations in southern NSW, how these are determined and how growers can match sowing date with phenology of the commercially available varieties to hit target flowering dates. We will also touch on the difference between early sown slow developing canola and later sown fast developing canola, highlighting where the different systems work. Finally, the presentation will report on the differences in canola types (e.g. hybrid versus Open Pollinated) for growth and how that impacts grain yield and forage outcomes. The outdoor session will be presented at the mid-season canola National Variety Trial site located at TAIC.

Herbicide tolerance traits in canola
New canola herbicide tolerance traits and stacks             
Gus MacLennan (Bayer) and Karl Schilg (Advanta)

               Trials conducted by Advanta Seeds and Bayer CropScience look to showcase new herbicide tolerance traits and stacks in canola. These herbicide traits and stacks will deliver increased canola rotation flexibility where herbicide carryover may be a concern as well as improved tolerance and flexibility to glyphosate. Advanta’s Hyola® XC combines Clearfield® herbicide tolerance with Bayer’s new Roundup® Ready Truflex® trait which allows the safe use of later application timings and higher rates, whilst Advanta’s Hyola® CT offering delivers a combination of both Clearfield® and triazine tolerance. These trials at TAIC will demonstrate how herbicide traits deliver tolerance to residual herbicide carryover in the soil, spray tank contamination as well as improved flexibility and robustness in weed control in a canola system.

Pulses for all purposes
Pulses - working on weeds, water and nitrogen
Greg Condon (Grassroots Agronomy)

               Pulses are recognised for their role in providing soil nitrogen for crop rotations, yet they are also proving valuable for alternative grass weed control and leaving residual soil water. This all stands to benefit the cropping system in the years following the pulse and shifts the focus away from the value of the crop in the year of production. High input systems using canola-wheat rotations are proving unprofitable in the face of herbicide resistance and variable seasons. Yet pulses are proving they can play a key role to lessen the risk. Tony Swan from CSIRO and his team working with FarmLink proved over four years of research at Temora that a diverse rotation including a pulse was more profitable than high input canola-wheat rotations. Discussion will focus on why pulses are important but also which pulse suits your farm, soils and objectives. This includes grazing vetch for mixed farmers, field peas for brown manure through to lupins, faba beans, chickpeas and lentils in grain only systems. The bottom line is pulses can be profitable but think in terms of a benefit to subsequent rotation for weeds, water and nitrogen.

New herbicide options for pulses             
New herbicide for ryegrass control in pulses – Ultro herbicide     
Harry Pickering and Ben Hogg (Adama)

               Weed resistance remains a growing problem in our cropping systems and is now a priority when deciding which herbicide to use for effective weed control. The rotation of herbicide groups and minimising weed seed set are two key methods in slowing the development of herbicide resistance. Ultro pre-emergent herbicide from Adama introduces a unique Group E mode of action to the broadacre cropping segment. It will be registered for the control of Annual Ryegrass, Brome grass and Barley Grass, in winter pulse crops. The aim of the outdoor demonstration is to show the effectiveness of Ultro herbicide on ryegrass in various winter pulses including Lentils, Lupins and Chickpeas. This will be compared to existing herbicide options for weed control in pulses. The introduction of Ultro Herbicide will offer growers and agronomists a new mode of action for grass control in pulses. This will allow for improved herbicide rotations between crop types slowing resistance development to any one mode of action.

Wheat Phenology: getting sowing times right!
Felicity Harris (NSW DPI)
               What variety to sow and when? Two of the biggest decisions growers make each year! This outdoor session will discuss differences in phenology patterns of wheat varieties within the early and main season National Variety Trial site located at TAIC. We will discuss getting sowing time right to ensure crop development is synchronised throughout the season to minimise the combined effects of frost, heat and moisture stress and target maximum grain yield potential, with a particular focus on flowering within the optimal window for your growing environment. Join us for a fun and interactive session, remember #phenologyisfun

New mode-of-action pre-emergent options
Samuel Ottaway, Emma Dunbar and Hugh Palmer (FMC) / Mark Dicks (BASF)
               Pre-emergence weed control is crucial to maximizing yield potential in Australian cropping systems, where annual ryegrass is reported to cause yield losses to the effect of $35m per annum. Not only this, resistance to several mode of action herbicides has become a widespread issue in Australia, and the adoption of new mode of action herbicides to be used in rotation will be crucial in protecting existing chemistries. This session will examine field trials of two new pre-emergent herbicide options nearing availability to the Australian market. Overwatch (FMC) is a new herbicide molecule with a Group Q mode of action and is unique to pre-emergent use patterns in cereals and canola in Australia. This product provides long lasting residual control of annual ryegrass including herbicide resistant biotypes and regionally specific broadleaf weeds when applied pre-emergent IBS in wheat, barley and canola. Overwatch will be available for use following Q1 2021. Luximax (BASF) is an innovative pre-emergent herbicide that offers a high level of residual control of annual ryegrass including biotypes resistant to existing herbicide mode of action groups including Group K. Its unique mode of action means the molecule has no known cross-resistance and will play an integral role in maintaining the effectiveness of integrated weed control programs. The presentation will focus on findings from local sites including those with developed resistance to other herbicides, under varying autumn soil moisture conditions for up to 12 weeks residual control in wheat. Luximax herbicide is currently under evaluation by the APVMA, with approval expected in time for use in 2020.

SP sprayer demonstration
R4000 Series self-propelled sprayer demonstration
Hutcheon and Pearce

Hutcheon and Pearce will be demonstrating the capabilities of their R4000 series sprayers; with a machine walk-around and live demonstration. The sprayers will be fitted with ExactApply™, an in-house design PWM nozzle body system which at the touch of a button can be configured to maintain the exact droplet size desired. The team from Hutcheon and Pearce will also be demonstrating the capabilities of the Generation 4 display. There will be a live display of two machines sharing coverage maps, documenting weather conditions, and sending all of the documentation to the MyJohnDeere Operations Centre cloud-based platform for analysis by you and your trusted advisors.

Spreader Chaser demonstration
The first ever Spreader Chaser – a demonstration of the new hybrid implement from Coolamon   
Shane Cummins and Heath Hutcheon (Coolamon)

               This session consists of a demonstration of the Coolamon ‘Spreader Chaser’ – a hybrid implement that serves both as a dry product spreader (bulk and granulated products) and a chaser bin in one. The first of its kind – the Spreader Chaser comes in a range of sizes and configurations, ranging from 16,000L to 40,000L capacity. This session will put the ‘Spreader Chaser’ through its paces, with a practical demonstration of its spreading and grain handling capabilities followed by an opportunity to examine the machine up close and have your questions answered by the manufacturers.


Farm Budget Masterclass
Carmen Quade (CSU)
               One of the biggest challenges in difficult times is decision making. A budget is one tool which can help you determine the best strategies to get through and recover from tough years. Budgets are essential when discussing your plans with your bank and when seeking to take advantage of low interest rate loans and other forms of assistance available through drought help packages. A well written budget allows you to approach each season as it comes with greater confidence and less stress. Effective planning and management of cash flow in cropping operations can mean the ability to take full advantage of opportunities as they arise and give you an action plan for disaster. The ‘Farm Budget Masterclass’ will consist of a workshop run alongside the regular program at the Open Day. The workshop will be presented by Carmen Quade, who is a lecturer in Accounting and Agribusiness at Charles Sturt University and enjoys helping students find ways to make information relevant to them. Together with her husband and other family members, she is a partner in a mixed farming business at Tallimba, in the northern Riverina. She holds a Bachelor of Business (Agricultural Commerce) and a Master of Professional Accounting. Carmen brings a relaxed atmosphere and a sense of humour to the workshops she presents, and an understanding of the complexities and challenges involved in farm finances. Numbers are limited for this session so PLEASE register when you book buy your tickets online to secure your spot!!


Past open days

 2018   2017   2016