Talking agriculture highs and lows

The annual Gippsland Agricultural Group's results dinner attracted plenty of interest. Photo: Contributed

DESPITE a crazy week of storms and outages, about 60 farmers still attended the annual Gippsland Agricultural Group (GAgG) results dinner last on Thursday, February 22.

“The theme for the dinner was ‘Just Keep Farming’,” GAgG General Manager, Jen Smith said.

“Agriculture in Australia has thrown us some high highs and some low lows. With so much market pressure and some of the strangest seasonal conditions in 50 years, as well as a colossal increase in input costs, it’s been a challenging year.

“But work at the Gippsland Research Farm will continue into soils, pastures, grains, fodder crops and livestock to better understand farming in our region and improve productivity in our own systems.”

Ms Smith encouraged interested people to check out all the demonstrations and trial results on the GAgG website under the publications tab.

Before the dinner, a livestock and fodder field day took place, including paddock walk discussions with five industry guest speakers looking at lucerne varieties and management; lamb performance on single and multispecies crops; sorghum varieties and prussic acid management; as well as grazing brassica varieties and mixed crops and their feed value.

This year the program included a field day prior to the dinner. Photo: Contributed

GAgG Chief Executive, Trevor Caithness, said it was a great turnout of producers from Central and East Gippsland, with a lot of chatter about the various projects and demonstrations being run at the Gippsland Research Farm.

“There was a lot of interest in the Nexus Project, which is looking at weight gains of lambs being run on a mono-species crop like ryegrass, and a multi-species crop,” he said.

“The multi-species crop is showing better weight gains in the lambs and the project overseer, Alister Micallef, is seeing a healthier appearance in that mob too.”

Mr Caithness said there was also interest in the demonstrations utilising summer rainfall with sorghum and brassica crops.

“It was probably the first year we’ve had sorghums and the presenters talked about how it could have been used for silage or for grazing,” he said.

“They also presented a lot of ideas related to the health concerns for stock, in regard to prussic acid which can occur.”

Mr Caithness said the lucerne variety trials were also a highlight.

“It was good to see how well they had established and the high-quality feed they presented for a possible February grazing,” he said.

The afternoon finished off with a machinery demonstration on the paddock where the Growing More Topsoil Project is situated.

Gippsland Agricultural Group General Manager, Jen Smith. Photo: Zoe Askew

“There are three different plots that have had substantial quantities of compost, limes and gypsums etc and a substantial amount of clay has been brought to the surface in an effort to increase the amount of topsoil,” he said.

“People were quite amazed at how the clay that was clearly visible six months ago is now hardly visible at all.

“It’s weathered and broken down into the topsoil. There’s also been a good increase in soil structure within the plots.”