It was wet, but there was undoubtedly an air of optimism in NAG’s spring field day

This year’s winter hasn’t turned-out like we all would have liked it – especially our grain growers across the Northern Agricultural Region, but fortunately, there’s still plenty of optimism around the traps.

This optimism was evident when, despite the poor start of the season, and wet weather on the day, more than 80 farmers and industry representatives turned-up to the Northern Agri Group’s (NAG) popular spring field day last Wednesday.

Reflecting this, NAG tweets from the event used hashtags such as #downbutnotout #bitdryhere #alwayslearning

NAG chairman Ben Cripps said his team was heartened by the excellent turnout of attendees and the high level of interest in this year’s field day, even though the results weren’t as good as they might have liked.

“We always have a field walk and comprehensive tour of our trial site, but there is nothing much to show at the site this year,” said Ben. “The site just hasn’t had any significant rain.”

As a result, the organising committee decided to approach the event differently – presenting a forum at which a number of industry experts presented on a wide range of topics. These included the latest information on using drone technology; livestock and meat quality; an update from the Grower Group Alliance; how to deal with weeds; finance and fertiliser issues in 2018; and interactive talks by three local farmers who shared their experience about what has worked and what hasn’t in this dry start to the year.

Adding to this was an excellent presentation by Neil Bennett of the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology who provided attendees with his insight into the changing Australian climate, and what kinds of tools were available to help farmers make informed management decisions on the farm.

Some of the key messages from Neil’s presentation included:

  • Australia is experiencing climate change now, with impacts being felt by many communities and industry sectors across the country.
  • Average temperature will continue to increase in all seasons.
  • There will most likely be more hot days and warm spells, and fewer frosts in the future.
  • There will be a continuation of the trend of decreasing winter and spring rainfall – with changes in other seasons still unclear.

Another highlight of the day was a presentation by Chris Brooks on how to propagate native plants to improve on-farm regeneration and biodiversity.

The day was then concluded by an inspirational speech by Phil Spriggs of McIntosh and Son, who shared his amazing story about the journey he, Vic Haeusler and Steve Grace (a renowned Australian gospel singer) undertook across Australia via the Simpson Desert to raise awareness of suicide prevention.

NACC Regional Landcare Facilitator Stanley Yokwe, who attended the event, said it was a great day and inspiration for all participants.

“It was a great turn-out, and a great program,” he said. “The entire NAG team is to be congratulated for a very successful day. They’re a great partner of NACC, and we were proud to be associated with such a fine Field Day.”

The NAG field day was supported by NACC through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme as part of the Regional Landcare Facilitator project.

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