Jun 07

Hear from Nuffield Scholar at dinner

Posted by Cindy Cassidy at Thursday, June 07, 2018

Bringing the primary producers of Southern NSW together for a celebration of agriculture is the focus of the FarmLink Annual Dinner, and this year, in keeping with our theme of country hospitality, we’re heading to Dirnaseer Hall.
Diners at the Friday, June 29 event will hear from guest speaker John Stevenson, a Nuffield Scholar and Lockhart farm manager who spent 10 weeks overseas exploring international agriculture, and will share some of the eye-opening experiences of his Nuffield tour.
John has just presented his report “Closing the Yield Gap. Measuring plant available water in Australian Soils”. As detailed on the Nuffield Australia website, John has investigated ways to close the gap between potential grain yield and soil Plant Available Water Capacity (PAWC), with a focus on boosting productivity from sustainable dryland cropping systems.
For more than a decade John has managed large rain-fed grain production enterprises for the Warakirri Cropping business from the NSW Riverina to the Queensland Darling Downs. Crops have included wheat, canola, barley, pulses, sorghum, cotton and oaten hay (with some fallow phases).
He says the use of PAWC calculations through a range of grains industry decision-support tools is highly valuable, but there is no simple, affordable technique for growers to measure PAWC in a landscape that has highly variable soils.
“PAWC of soils is the key driver of dryland grain production right across the world,” he says.
“It leads to a better understanding of soil variability that can help growers optimise the use of crop inputs where moisture is a limiting factor or is too excessive.”
John has evaluated systems that allow cost effective estimation of PAWC.
He has also studied methods of better combining wide-ranging precision agriculture data, such as electromagnetic induction (EM) surveys, elevation data, pH, yield mapping and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) imagery. Through his scholarship he has travelled to Israel, South America, the UK, the USA and New Zealand.
While his report details the technical side of his Nuffield experience, the annual dinner will be an opportunity to hear the personal side of the 16 weeks of international agricultural travel, as well as catching up with fellow farmers and enjoying a social night out.
Chef Michele Seymour has been engaged to provide dinner, while our friends at Australian Grain Technologies (AGT) have again agreed to provide the bar for the evening. Bus transport will be available from some locations.
Tickets are $60 per person and available online at
If you would like to book a seat on the bus, please email or call the office on (02) 6980 1333.


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