Mar 16

Event cancellations due to COVID-19

Posted by Kylie Dunstan at Monday, March 16, 2020

As we enter an unprecedented phase in world health due to the COVID-19 virus, FarmLink has cancelled planned events for the near future.
This will include the Pulse Check pre-season meetings scheduled for West Wyalong and Marrar and the Money and the Mind Workshops set down for TAIC.
We are currently investigating potential future dates or change of delivery method, such as webinars.
We thank you for your understanding as we prioritise the health and well-being of staff, participants and the community as a whole.

Feb 27

Gleaning lessons for profitability

Posted by Kylie Dunstan at Thursday, February 27, 2020

UPDATE: Sorry everyone - the workshops have been cancelled due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus. We are hoping to reschedule and will keep you updated once we have some news. We thank you for your understanding as we prioritise the health and wellbeing of staff, participants and the community as a whole.

FarmLink partner, Rabobank, is bringing expert analysts to Temora Ag Innovation Centre (TAIC) on March 19 to host an event where they will discuss commonalities between Australia and the US and share their views on how Australian grain farmers can set themselves up for profitability.
RaboResearch US Grains & Oilseed Analyst, Steve Nicholson, will join Cheryl Kalisch Gordon (Senior Grains & Oilseed Analyst, RaboResearch, Australia) at the March 19 event at TAIC's Trefle Shed.
According to Ms Kalisch Gordon, Rabobank baseline projections show that US grain growers will face sustained margin pressure over the coming decade, primarily as a result of sluggish commodity prices and high input costs.
In particular flat US demand growth - US grain (wheat and corn) demand is forecast to grow at less than one per cent per annum for the next decade – together with increased grain production is expected to result in higher US grain stocks and lower US prices over the next 10 years.
In Australia we expect local cereal grain demand to rise by 2.3 per cent per year and above yield increases over the next decade, with feed grain demand leading the way. However, the outlook for challenging conditions for US farmers and further strong grain production growth in the Black Sea region that will underpin increased global production means that the Australian grains industry also faces a prevailing low margin outlook.
Individual farmers can however relieve margin pressure through the adoption of new technology to manage costs, risk management tools to deliver improved pricing and strategic review of longer term operational premises – such as should land be leased or owned, should quality or yield be the key aim and will on farm storage enhance long term margins?
Contact the FarmLink office on 02 6980 1333 for event details.

Feb 27

Money and the Mind workshops

Posted by Kylie Dunstan at Thursday, February 27, 2020

UPDATE: Sorry everyone - the workshops have been cancelled due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus. We are hoping to reschedule and will keep you updated once we have some news.
We thank you for your understanding as we prioritise the health and wellbeing of staff, participants and the community as a whole.

Finance and People Management for Successful Farming Businesses is the focus of a half-day workshop - Money and The Mind - to be hosted by FarmLink at TAIC and featuring the return of the ever-popular Carmen Quade, accompanied by Esther Petrie. 
Carmen partnered with FarmLink last year to run the highly successful Farm Budget Masterclass series in 2019, including a session at the FarmLink Open Day.
The Money and the Mind workshops will run twice on Wednesday, March 25, with Carmen and Esther guiding you through a range of topics including –
How and why to prepare an annual report for your business
How to structure finance 
Negotiating interest rate reductions
Alternatives to bank finance
Identifying if drought assistance suits your business
Building great relationships with staff and contractors
Understanding and diffusing tense meeting situations
Respond to conflict or tension within your business or family group
Managing challenging interactions professionally
How to protect your own mental health and wellbeing during tough times
Participants can choose to attend either the 9.30am-12noon session, or 1pm-3.30pm. A combined lunch for all participants will be held from 12-12.45pm. Individual enrolments are welcomed, while farm partners are also encouraged to attend, to share the learning and ability to take the information back to the business.
FarmLink gratefully acknowledges the financial support from Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network through the Australian Government’s PHN Program and Empowering Communities program. Rural Financial Counselling Service NSW Southern Region is also supporting the sessions.
If you would like to participate, contact FarmLink’s Lisa Matthews on or (02) 6980-1333.

Feb 13

Crop to Croissant

Posted by Kylie Dunstan at Thursday, February 13, 2020

What happens to your wheat when it leaves the farm after all that hard work you've put into it?
A FarmLink tour to Sydney on March 3 and 4 will take travellers on a tour of Allied Pinnacle's mill at Picton and Aryzta Bakery at Liverpool, with all travel, accommodation and meals covered by the FarmLink-Allied Pinnacle-Aryzta partnership.
The group will be taken through the processes involved at both the mill and bakery and be treated to lots of samples along the way, all made from wheat grown right here in the FarmLink region.
There's limited seats available on the bus, so if you want to come along, email or call us on (02) 6980 1333 by February 14.

Jan 10

FarmLink project portfolio growing

Posted by Kylie Dunstan at Friday, January 10, 2020

The following article appeared in the Summer 2019 edition of the FarmLink quarterly member-exclusive publication The Link (archives appear at

FarmLink is developing, pursuing and managing projects covering a range of activities relevant to mixed farming in Southern NSW and beyond. Just like our industry, our project portfolio is ever changing in response to the needs of agriculture and its future sustainability. The following is a list of all ongoing FarmLink projects, those that are in the pipeline, and those that were recently completed.
Ongoing projects
Technology & Tools Connecting Farmers to their Soils
In this project, innovative soil moisture sensors linked to auto-weather stations will be installed on five farms and networked to transmit data over two cropping seasons. It will demonstrate how understanding the sensors and the data they produce can support on-farm decision-making, and assess the economics of adoption.
Funded through the National Landcare Program.
Utilising new technologies to optimise nitrogen use in broadacre cropping, protect the soil resource and minimise potential offsite impacts
This project seeks to quantify nitrogen variability within broadacre cropping in southern NSW using intensive grid deep N sampling. It will also examine existing and emerging technologies to inform Variable Rate (VR) N applications, to help with better N management, and improved profitability and sustainability.
Funded through the National Landcare Program.
Towards best practice site-specific mapping, prevention and treatment of subsurface acidity in southern NSW
Current liming practices are failing to prevent soil acidification through the profile and within-paddock variability of surface pH is high throughout the region.
By surveying a variety of soil types, rainfall regimes and management histories, this project will assess both the vertical and lateral variability of pH, to develop decision support methods for best-practice Variable Rate lime application.
Funded through the National Landcare Program.
Pulse Check – Local Extension and Communication for Profitable Pulse Production
Growers and advisors within the southern region will be trained in pulse agronomy, production risks and management strategies. The project aims to unlock the potential farming system and financial benefits of pulse crops through targeted expansion of lentils and chickpeas into new areas, and sustainable intensification of pulse crop production in existing areas.
Funded by GRDC.
Innovative Approaches to Managing Subsoil Acidity in the Southern Grain Region
This collaborative project will analyse aggressive amelioration options for soil acidity at depths of 10-30cm in high rainfall zones. The practice of surface liming will be compared to three intensive management options; deep ripping to 30cm, ripping plus lime at 10-30cm and ripping plus organic ameliorant at 10-30cm.
Funded by GRDC.
Exclusion Feeding for Lambs in Drought
This project investigates whether lambs with exclusive access to grain via an exclusion feeding system gain weight quicker than lambs sharing access to grain with ewes. It will also examine whether the exclusion-fed lambs have a more efficient conversion rate and whether grain consumption costs are reduced.
Funded by MLA.
Mechanistic Understanding of Mode of Action of Soil Re-Engineering Methods for Complex Soil Constraints
Soils often exhibit multiple constraints limiting their productivity. This collaborative project will examine soil re-engineering mechanisms to ameliorate complex soil constraints. FarmLink will identify problematic soils within our region and provide advice. Grower groups will also have a communication role.
Funded through the Soil CRC.
Impact of Nitrogen Application Timing on Bread Wheat Protein Composition, Quality and End Use Functionality
This project is a partnership between FarmLink, Allied-Pinnacle (milling, baking and ingredients) and Arytza (bakery and food-service company). It aims to increase grower knowledge around the end products of wheat production, and end-users’ knowledge around drivers for farmer decisions that influence wheat quality.
Funded by Allied Pinnacle and Aryzta.
Smelling Soil: Novel Electronic Noses for Mobile In-Field Determining of Microbial Health, Function and Resistance
Healthy soil microbial communities are essential for resilient soils, however there is a lack of rapid in-field testing techniques. This project aims to develop an ‘eNose’ tool to determine changes in the microbial profile. FarmLink will host workshops and provide input to inform to tool’s development.
Funded through the Soil CRC.
Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers – Enduring Benefits for Livestock Producers via Science and a New Community Partnerships Model
Australia’s native dung beetles are not adapted to European livestock dung. FarmLink is part of a national collaborative project to survey existing dung beetle populations, leading to the introduction of several new strains of dung beetles. This project will quantify the value of dung beetles on farms and develop a business model of dung beetle services.
Funded by MLA.
‘Smart’ Soil Sensors
This project will develop the next generation of field-based sensors that can measure, map, interpret, and communicate sensor data using new approaches that will help growers make on-farm decisions. FarmLink’s role is to identify grower participants and communicate progress and outcomes.
Funded through Soil CRC.
Graft India Ag-Tech Challenge
The project will select 12 Ag-Tech startups from India and Australia with proven broadacre dryland cropping technologies to tour the other country. It aims to help them to localise their product, gain insights into sales channels and meet potential customers. The Indian participants will spend three days in the FarmLink region with local growers.
Funded by FarmLink.
Increasing Productivity and Profitability of Pulse Production in Cereal Based Cropping Systems in Pakistan
CSU and ACIAR are working to improve pulse production in Pakistan. FarmLink is supporting this goal by leading ‘Farmers without fences’. In this sub-project, farmers and researchers from Pakistan visit Australia and vice-versa, to exchange information. Pakistani farmers benefit from a better understanding of Australian farming and the value chain, while Australian farmers and researchers learn more about the international pulse market.
Funded by ACIAR.
Recently approved projects
Extension of best practice principles for identifying and managing soil limitations in southern and central NSW
In this project, FarmLink and its partners will deliver a range of soils extension material and activities throughout southern and central NSW. Topics cover a range of soil limitations, interactions and management strategies.
Funded by GRDC.
Future proofing the soils of southern and central NSW from acidification and soil organic carbon decline
This project will develop a new, accurate acidification model using innovative machine learning methods. These tools will provide updated liming recommendations and scenario forecasting resulting in more sustainable soil management and productive farming enterprises.
Funded by National Landcare Program.
Improved Rhizobial Strains
The adaptation of high value pulse crops is restricted by the suitability of current rhizobial strains. This project will evaluate a range of elite rhizobial strains for high value pulse crops with the objective of releasing elite commercial strains.
Funded by GRDC.
Soilborne Pathogen Identification and Management Strategies for Winter Cereals
Soilborne pathogens are a widespread problem across Australian cereal growing regions. This investment will test localised soilborne disease management strategies.
FarmLink and other groups will work with cereal pathologists and other to deliver a coordinated set of 14 knowledge, identification and diagnosis workshops, which will inform subsequent non-replicated demonstration trials for pathogen management.
Funded by GRDC.
Projects in negotiation with funders
Facilitating adoption of integrated weed management strategies for feathertop Rhodes grass in the Northern Region, Prg 2. (Southern NSW)
Feathertop Rhodes grass is an aggressive weed that continues to increase in severity and incidence. This project will develop an integrated weed management strategy for FTR for growers and advisers in southern New South Wales. FarmLink will play a minor role in the overall project.
Regional harvester set-up workshops for the economic optimisation of harvest losses, efficiency and grain quality
This investment proposes a series of interactive harvester set-up days to inform growers, harvest contractors, advisors and machinery resellers on harvester set-up, front-to-back grain quality/ losses and harvest weed seed control. FarmLink will conduct 12 workshops over three years and three case studies.
Adoption of annual mixed species grazing crops to bridge the feed gap and increase annual feed production
Scarcity of feed in late autumn into winter limits the stocking potential and productivity of sheep enterprises. The aim of this project is to work with growers experimenting with mixed species annual pastures and grazing crops and to develop a small plot trial to showcase the productivity of these mixtures. 
Concluding projects
Climate and Weather Risk Guidelines
FarmLink supported CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology to deliver 57 Climate and Weather Risk Guidelines– one for each of the Australian natural resource management (NRM) regions. These will assist farmers to make decisions about crop planting and stocking levels by better understanding their local climate risks.
Funded by the National Drought Response.
Managing Early Season Canola Establishment Pests in NSW – Establishment and Coordination of Grower/Advisor Groups
Early identification and control of insect pests has been identified as a key constraint to the successful crop establishment of canola in southern NSW in the GRDC Northern Region. FarmLink worked with CESAR to produce practical agronomy advice to increase the awareness, understanding and management of early season pests in canola in Central and Southern NSW.
Funded by GRDC.

Jan 10

Summer moisture preservation is critical

Posted by Kylie Dunstan at Friday, January 10, 2020

The following article appeared in the Summer 2019 edition of the FarmLink quarterly member-exclusive publication The Link (archives appear at

While it might be tempting to allow weeds and crops that have been cut for hay or windrowed to regrow as a source of livestock feed, the impact on following crop yields could be significant.
Riverina Independent Agronomy consultant Neil Durning says weedy canola crops are ideally sprayed before windrowing to reduce the addition of ryegrass to the seedbank and a loss of moisture and nutrients from the soil.
“As part of an integrated weed management plan, it is worth applying glyphosate to canola with ryegrass from early senescence at label rates,” he says. “One way or another you want the canola and the ryegrass dead. It doesn’t take much rain for ryegrass to stick a head out and add more seeds to the seedbank.”
Mr Durning says wheat following canola where glyphosate was applied before harvest appears to hang on for longer in dry finishes. Spraying before windrowing also reduces the likelihood of plant regrowth after rain.
3D-Ag consultant Peter McInerney advises his clients against grazing sheep on paddocks that have been cut for hay.
“Do not try to retrieve residual grazing from hay paddocks because there is none to be had,” he says. “All you will do is powder the soil and have it blow away, particularly paddocks that have been cut for hay for two consecutive years.
“A crop that would have produced 2.5t/ha of grain leaves 3 to 3.5t/ha of residue. That same paddock cut for hay will leave behind less than 1t/ha of residue.”
Where hay has been cut for two consecutive seasons, Mr McInerney encourages the application of manure to replace lost organic matter and nutrients.
Effective summer weed management is critical to reap the soil water conservation benefits of retained crop residues (Flower, Dang & Ward 2019).
Zeleke (2017) showed that summer weed control increased residual soil water and soil nitrogen by 64 millimetres and 60 kilograms per hectare respectively.
Lilley and Kirkegaard (2007) used modelling to show that summer weed control could increase subsequent wheat yield by up to 20 per cent.
According to NSW Department of Primary Industries researcher Colin McMaster ( trials in Central New South Wales showed the economic benefit of every dollar per hectare spent on herbicides to control summer weeds was $8/ha.
Mr Durning says mixed farmers must treat weeds as if there are no livestock in the system, particularly if the paddock is earmarked for cropping.
“The minute you compromise on summer weed control by allowing weeds to grow large is when you start to reduce the yield potential of next year’s crop,” he says. “Preserving moisture over summer is the difference between having a crop that can be harvested and salvaging a failed crop in a dry finish.”
John Stevenson allows sheep to lightly graze stubbles on ‘Orange Park’ near Lockhart only after the first summer knockdown has been applied. His actions back research showing grazing sheep on crop residues at low stocking rates has no detrimental impact on following crop yield (Hunt et al. 2016, Allan et al. 2016).
Where paddocks are bare, Mr Durning says a strategic cultivation may be needed to curb erosion and maximise water infiltration, although this depends on slope and implement choice. Cultivation leaves the surface coarse and lumpy to slow run-off and reduce surface wind speed.
Mr Condon says one of his clients with discs on 16.5cm row spacings planted millet over summer as a cover crop.
“It was sprayed out at early tillering and we saw no yield loss in the following crop even in a dry season,” he says. “You have to be disciplined to avoid grazing and spray it out before the roots reach 15 to 20cm deep to prevent stored soil water loss.”
While two to three tonnes of wheat stubble per hectare (Kirkegaard & van Rees 2019) or 70 per cent soil cover are suggested to minimise erosion and maximise water infiltration, Mr Condon suggests keeping 100 per cent of cover if possible.
He and Mr McInerney agree that confinement lots are worthwhile to preserve soil cover. Confinement lots work on the theory that less topsoil is lost by concentrating sheep in a small area rather than a large area.
Mr McInerney suggests positioning a new confinement lot near an existing tree line where there is standing crop and to apply for grants for infrastructure needs.
Mr Condon says confinement lots allow sheep to be efficiently kept at target condition scores using grain and straw, while preserving soil cover.
“My clients with diverse rotations who kept stubble from 2016 have produced reasonable crops during the past two years,” he says. “The retained stubble allowed autumn rain to infiltrate rather than run off and enabled crops to be established on time.”
Mr Durning agrees, adding that he has noticed paddocks with less stubble cover failed two weeks earlier this year than paddocks with a higher percentage of cover.
Acknowledgements: Peter McInerney, Neil Durning, Greg Condon and John Stevenson.

Nov 29

New soils project announced

Posted by Kylie Dunstan at Friday, November 29, 2019

FarmLink is looking forward to embarking upon a new project - Future proofing the soils of southern and central NSW from acidification and soil organic carbon decline - after funding was announced this week by Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals, Michael McCormack and the Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Minister for Agriculture, Bridget McKenzie.

A consortium of southern New South Wales farmers will use a $2.5 million government grant to pioneer a new soil modelling system which has the potential to dramatically boost on-farm sustainability and productivity.
Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie, said Temora-based FarmLink Research Ltd’s soil future-proofing project would receive funding under the second round of the $57.5 million Smart Farming Partnerships program.
“With acidity and declining organic carbon levels impacting half of agricultural soils in southern and central New South Wales, this project could be a game changer for farmers in those areas,” Minister McKenzie said.
“It’s another fantastic instance of farmers being at the forefront of innovation, working with scientists and computer modelling experts to develop a new, accurate acidification model using methods that incorporate elements of artificial intelligence.
“Our farmers have always been early adopters of new technologies and this project shows the determination of many in the sector to continue that tradition.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said current acid soil management practices were based on outdated models that failed to prevent the widespread development of subsurface acidity in many cropping and pasture systems.
“We’re excited by this project’s potential to prevent the spread of sub-soil acidification across other agricultural areas of Australia,” Deputy Prime Minister McCormack said.
“Soil acidification can cause significant losses in production because of reduced crop yields.
“Our government is ready to help agriculture become a $100 billion industry by 2030 and we’ll do that in part through investing in innovations such as these.
“It also aligns well with National Landcare Program priorities and those of the National Soil Research and Development Strategy.”
For more details visit

Aug 13

Welcome aboard Hayden Thompson

Posted by Kylie Dunstan at Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Hayden Thompson joined the FarmLink team at the end of July as a Research Officer. Hayden has a Bachelor of Agriculture from CSU, Wagga and has work experience as a farm hand most recently with Hart Bros seeds where he also gained experience with field trials.

Hayden has picked up the reigns on our MLA Dung Beetle Project and co-ordination of our GRDC Pulse Check projects. If you are interested in participating in either of these projects please call Hayden and say hi!

May 02

Inaugural NSW Southern Farming Ball

Posted by Kylie Dunstan at Thursday, May 02, 2019

SOLD OUT FarmLink is hosting the inaugural Southern New South Wales Farming Ball - a celebration of agriculture and the resilience of its people.

Exceptional guest speaker for the evening will be Corporal Mark Donaldson VC, who will inspire with his story of bravery and leadership in the most extreme of situations. Our guest speaker has been made possible with a grant from Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network through the Australian Government’s PHN Program and Empowering Communities program.

The night will also incorporate the official opening of the Trefle Exhibition Shed and other GRDC infrastructure at Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre.

Apr 11

Annual General Meeting set down for May 3

Posted by Kylie Dunstan at Thursday, April 11, 2019

ABN 23 109 837 505

Friday 3rd May 2019, 9am at TAIC

FarmLink Research Limited (ABN 23 109 837 505) (FarmLink) will hold its 2019 Annual General Meeting at the Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre, 361 Trungley Hall Rd, Temora on Friday 3rd May 2019 at 9am for the following purposes:

Ordinary Business

1. Annual Reports
To consider and receive the Financial Report, Directors’ Report and Auditor’s Report for the year ended 31st December 2018.

2. Resolution 2 - Resignation of current auditor

The Company’s current auditor, Mr Steven Prouse of National Audits Group Pty Ltd, has given notice to the Board of his intention to resign as auditor of the Company, pursuant to sub-section 329(5) of the Corporations Act 2001.

Sub-section 329(5) of the Corporations Act 2001 provides that an auditor of a company may, by giving notice in writing, resign as auditor of the company if:

(a) the auditor has, by notice in writing given to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”), applied for consent to the resignation; and

(b) the consent of the ASIC has been given.

Mr Prouse has applied to ASIC for its consent to his resignation as Auditor of the Company. The application for consent lodged with ASIC by Mr Prouse indicates that he wishes his resignation to take effect on the date of the Company’s AGM.

3. Resolution 3 - Appointment of new auditor

To appoint a new auditor of the Company will only be put forward if the consent of ASIC to Mr Prouse’s resignation has been given at the time of the AGM.

Mr Ronald Heinrich, chair of Audit and Risk Committee has nominated the firm RSM Australia Partners as auditor of the Company, pursuant to sub-section 32B(1) of the Corporations Act 2001. RSM Australia Partners are eligible and have consented to being appointed auditor of the Company as required by sub-section 328A(2) of the Corporations Act 2001. Pursuant to sub-section 328B(3) of the Corporations Act 2001, the written notice nominating RSM Australia Partners as auditor is attached to this Explanatory Memorandum as an annexure.

The Board recommends the appointment of the firm RSM Australia Partners as the Auditor of the Company.

4. General Business

By order of the Board of Directors

Lisa Anderson - Chair
FarmLink Research Ltd
361 Trungley Hall Rd, Temora

11th April 2019