WHAT'S ON

Annual members' event for Upper North Farming Systems nears

UNFS Barley Time of Sowing site is showing variety growth type and early vigour and the impact of Time of Sowing. The site, funded by SAGIT, will be a hive of activity on August 1 for the UNFS Members Expo.
UNFS Barley Time of Sowing site is showing variety growth type and early vigour and the impact of Time of Sowing. The site, funded by SAGIT, will be a hive of activity on August 1 for the UNFS Members Expo.

Upper North Farming Systems will gather for their annual members' event on Thursday, August 1, at the Booleroo Centre Oval Complex. This year's event is a mixed farming master class made possible through funding from the Grains Research Development Corporation.

Aimed at providing up to date information relevant to all farmers and advisors this event is unique in the region, focusing on productivity and profitability across all areas of livestock and cropping enterprises and improving how the farm business is run.

The topics at this year's members expo are broad to reflect the complexity of developing and maintaining a resilient farming operation in the Upper North of South Australia.

Keynote Speaker Joel Williams of Integrated Soils is an international plant and soil health educator and a healthy soils advocate.

Joel studied a Bachelor of Agricultural Science in Australia specialising in plant and soil dynamics and has a particular interest in managing soil microbial ecology along with crop and soil nutrition to optimise plant immunity, soil function and soil carbon sequestration.

He will be presenting on soil management, plant nutrition and healthy soil dynamics.

The session with Joel will be split, with a more formal presentation in the Booleroo Centre Oval Complex followed by a trial site visit and soil pit inspection.

The Trial site has been established by UNFS under the Mixed Cover Crop project funded by the Australian Commonwealth government, GRDC and Department of Environment and Water.

This site is currently in the first of three years of trial work looking at increased in-season crop diversity and its effect on soil health and the levels and expression of root diseases such as Crown Rot, Rhizoctonia and Take-All.

Cereal root disease expert Marg Evans from SARDI will be on site to discuss soil sample results from a site and region wide survey looking at rotations and their impact on soil disease inoculant levels.

The trial site visit will be a highlight of the day with farmers and advisors getting a hands on look at new pasture and soil improving crop mixes that may help to tackle the rising levels of root disease in the region and improve overall soil function and water holding capacity.

Soils won't be the only topic for the day. Rick Llewellyn from CSIRO will be presenting on the rapid changes occurring in Precision Livestock Management and the opportunities for fenceless sheep management and improved whole of flock data capture and its use to improve productivity.

The sustainability of our farming operations are integral to ensuring the long term success of agriculture in the Upper North and the communities that rely on it, it may even be the key to the long term success of our society as a whole.

Ruth Sommerville, Rufous and Co, is going to present on a recent project investigating implementing more regenerative and sustainable and management practices in South Australia after trips to Tasmania and NSW made possible through the 2018 Agricultural Bureau of SA Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship.

The culture of a farming operation can be make or break for the profitability and the long term viability of the organisation.

Having a focus on managing the business to be the best it can be and looking after the people within the business is key to it thriving.

Alex Thomas will talk all things safety culture, not safety paperwork in her enthusiastic and perspective changing manner.

James Hillcoat, Rural Directions, will lead a discussion on using benchmarking to improve whole of business performance with a farmer panel of those using benchmarking tools such as lamb plan or a being part of a benchmarking group.

The afternoon will be spent discussing and inspecting the South Australian Grains Industry Trust funded UNFS Time of Sowing trials.

Learn the outcomes of the 2016-2018 wheat trials and check out the 2019 sown Barley varieties which are showing some significant differences in growth type, vigour and competition.

At the same trial site we will also inspect a Fodder Options trial, supported by Balco, demonstrating some new options and oat alternatives for export hay production that may provide significant benefits to the responsiveness of operations in the Upper North to the highly variable climate experienced.

The UNFS Members Expo will also incorporate the annual general meeting at 12.30pm. Registrations open at 8.30am for a 9am start.

Main presentations will wrap up at 4.30pm annual research compendium.

For more information contact Kristina Mudge: admin@unfs.com.au 0438840369 or www.facebook.com/UpperNorthFarmingSystems or www.unfs.com.au