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January 30, 2019

International flavour British pair Ethan Brown and Lillie Smith are among the first overseas students preparing to study at Longerenong College. Their arrival represents a major effort by the college to expand the opportunities it offers in hands-on tertiary training. Story, page 23. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER Proudly brought to you by:

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Grainline GMP1036V 36’X 10” Auger 23hp Vanguard, premium drive & lift option, FREE poly hopper.

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Mighty Murray or mighty mess 95 Nelson Street, Nhill CALL 03 5391 2106


riving the 100-kilometre journey from Moulamein to Deniliquin in the New South Wales Riverina is a treacherous affair.

There’s kangaroo road-kill at least every 20 metres. Even though I was travelling in broad daylight, I had to stop to make way for a mob of thirsty roos to slowly make their way across the highway and into the dusty saltbush plains, not a blade of grass in sight. Locals tell me driving at night is extremely dangerous. Most slow down to less than 50kmh. I made the road trip a few weeks ago to find out what impact the Murray Darling Basin Plan is having on the

Riverina. Farmers are feeling pretty much like a ‘roo caught in the headlights’. Each day they watch the water in the Murray and Edward rivers and the many tributaries flow on the long journey south. It’s a cruel taunt, with allocations for water for irrigation at zero percent. Only a few who have some carryover entitlement are even considering sowing a rice crop. It will be the lowest harvest in many years. Rice processor SunRice has already laid off 100 workers with more cuts likely. Of course it doesn’t stop there. The local farm machinery dealer, Taskers, isn’t replacing workers who leave and won’t be able to afford to employ apprentices.

Country Today with Libby Price

Income is down at least 30 percent, but they think they’ve got it pretty good compared with their farmer customers. As for the farmers, they’re convinced there will be zero allocation for water again next year It’s hard to imagine that just two years ago they were dealing with floods, which one farmer described as not unlike coping with bush fires. ‘It’s not just the day of the fire or floods:

it’s the years of recovery’. They’re still spraying to control Bathurst burr that arrived in the floodwaters. It’s just about all that’s growing on the Burge’s dryland pastures at ‘Prairie Home’ just out of Deniliquin. Louise and Andrew Burge share the farm duties. She’s drenching merino sheep while he’s spraying weeds. Over a cuppa, they both admit they don’t sleep well, worrying about the impact of the basin plan and what future there is for farmers and their children. They’re both convinced too much water is being used in the northern basin, and too much is going to South Australia, leaving them caught in the middle with nothing. It’s not for a lack of trying. The

Burge’s attend meeting after meeting, Royal Commission hearings, senate inquiries, indeed anything to do with the Murray Darling Basin Plan – they’re there and have written scores of submissions arguing for a redistribution of the precious water allocations. Andrew put it most succinctly when he met former Water Minister Barnaby Joyce: “I didn’t ask for this shit to be piled on my head. You politicians created it, now you fix it!” With the Federal Election only months away, that’s not going to happen. Riverina irrigators and dryland farmers are going to have to start all over again. They’re terrified their pleas will fall on deaf Labor ears.

New horizons for college Longerenong College near Dooen, north of Horsham, has welcomed its first international students. Four students – two from England, another from Scotland and the fourth from South Africa – will join a domestic cohort for orientation on Wednesday next week before starting classes on February 11. College head John Goldsmith said the arrival of the four represented a new chapter in the college history. “It represents about three years of scoping, planning and registration,” he said. “It is all about the college broadening its horizons and continuing to grow and develop. “It’s our first foray into welcoming international students. “And although it is far from a prerequisite for future student intake, the fact our first

group is from English-speaking countries will help with an integration process. “All four have visited the campus and have liked what they have seen. The hope is that they will become ambassadors for our international program.” Lillie Smith, 23, and Ethan Brown, 24, of Essex, England, despite originally having no agricultural experience, have been working in the industry in Australia for about two years. The pair hopes Longerenong College qualifications will allow them to continue to pursue agricultural careers in Australia. • Right, English students Lillie Smith and Ethan Brown are pictured with Longerenong College business development officer Donna Winfield. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

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ictoria’s farming peak body has called on state and federal governments to work together to complete Victorian dualcarriageway works on the Western Highway.

Victorian Farmers Grains Group president Ross Johns said it was essential the two primary tiers of government worked collaboratively to finish the job they had started, as soon as possible. “Duplication of the highway from the South Australian border to Melbourne is critical to enable Victorian farmers to efficiently get their product to market,” he said. “More and more grain is being stored on farm as farming and marketing techniques evolve, and our road network must also evolve in line with modern day requirements. “As a result of the ongoing drought, a lot of grain and hay is moved by truck across the country, but too often the timely transport of this is hampered by unnecessary and inconsistent regulation and indirect access due to an inefficient road network.” Mr Johns said a dual-carriage Western Highway was more efficient and safer for all road users and would allow for shorter travel times and less driving hours. “High-productivity vehicles including B-doubles need fit-for-purpose roads, and the Western Highway is an integral part of the Victorian road network,” he said.


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Ross Johns “It connects Melbourne to Adelaide in the same way the Hume Highway connects Melbourne to Sydney.” Mr Johns said the VFF, as well as calling for a modern road network, encouraged councils to reassess B-double access on municipal roads to ensure agricultural produce from all types of farms could move as efficiently as possible. Work on a Western Highway dual-carriageway project from Melbourne to Stawell has stalled between Beaufort and Ararat.

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ormer students who started a three-year agriculture course at Longerenong College in 1969 will gather for a 50-year reunion at the college this weekend. The event is open to all students who started their courses in February 1969 and all college staff members who worked at the college from 1969 to 1972. Organisers have also invited attendees’ family members and partners. Former student David Ugalde, who went on to pursue a lengthy research career with the Victorian Department of Primary Industries before becoming a key figure in Victorian and national research into climate change in agriculture, is helping to organise the event. Mr Ugalde, from Canberra, said he was delighted that about 36 of the original 74 students who started in 1969 would be attending. “Most of us were 17 or 18 when we started, which means everyone is in their late 60s,” he said. “Most are coming from somewhere in Victoria, but there are certainly people attending from across Australia.” Mr Ugalde said history showed that while many graduates went on to pursue careers in agriculture, others chose different paths. “You can probably divide it into thirds,” he said. “A third stayed in agriculture working with the government, on farms or in research; a third went into agricultural allied industries such as chemical supply, grain trading, evaluating or rural counselling; and the final third did something completely different. There was a wide variety.” At the time of starting studies, 1969 class members were pursuing their Diploma of Agricultural Science at an institution run through the Victorian Department of Agriculture. “The college wasn’t co-ed then and it was

quite a strict regime, but we still got up to plenty of pranks,” he said. “In any one year there were about 160 students at the college and because we didn’t have cars in those days, Longerenong became our centre of activity. “This involved everything from playing footy, cricket, basketball and just about everything else including golf at Dooen.” Mr Ugalde said students at Longerenong at the time were beneficiaries of a course that would be hard to replicate in a modern tertiary environment. He said the experience armed many with what was needed in applying specialist knowledge into a broad agricultural context. “Longerenong had a very generalist course. We learnt about soil science, plant pathology and horticulture,” he said. “But we also learnt a bit about pigs, horses, poultry, welding and driving tractors. “It was a very broad background into all facets of agriculture. It ranged from academic work to practical experiences. “Many of us were frustrated when we left Longerenong, in that we hadn’t specialised or were an expert in anything. “But what we had was a solid grounding and understanding of where we could specialise. “The weekend will be a lot of fun that’s for sure, and we’re looking forward to a really special time to remember where it all started for many of us.” Reunion activities will start at the college at 3pm on Saturday and campus head John Goldsmith will welcome guests at 4pm. A tour of the college farm and facilities will be from 4.30pm to 5.30pm before a build up to a dinner at 7.30pm. There will be a breakfast gathering from 9am to 10.30am on Sunday. Class of 1970

Longerenong College’s 1972 premiership football team.

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PEER’s Research and Development • The PEER SEEDXTREME 5203 Mud slurry test hours Center utilises mud slurry testing to bearing is a direct replacement for Mud slurry slurry test hours Mud hours thoroughly study new bearing and seal standard 5203 bearings to 800 PEER’s Research and Development concepts. Mud slurry testing involves The PEER SEEDXTREME 5203 significantly extend PEER’s their life.Research and Development 800 • The PEER SEEDXTREME5203 5203 PEER’s Research and Development The PEER SEEDXTREME immersing bearings Center utilises mud slurry testing toin an abrasive 800 bearing is a direct replacement for6 seals at each • Features end,utilises mud slurry testing to 700 Center andtesting countingto the number of700 bearing is a directreplacement replacementfor forto most Center utilises mudliquid slurry bearing a direct thoroughly 700 competitive study new bearing and seal standardis5203 bearings tocompared hours before they under a consistent thoroughly study study new bearing and seal 600 standard 5203 bearingstobearings to thoroughly new bearing andfail seal only having 2-3 seals Mud at standard 5203 bearings concepts. slurry testing involves 600 load. Most bearings within the significantly extend their life. 600 concepts. Mud Mud slurry slurry testing involves concepts. involves significantly extendtheir theirlife. life. end. each immersing bearings intesting anabrasive abrasive 500 significantly extend agricultural environment break down immersing bearings in an 500 Features 6 seals at each end, immersing bearings in an abrasive • Fits most gauge wheels and closing 500 • Features 6 seals eachend, end, because the sealsofdeteriorate, which liquid and counting the number number Features 6to seals atat each liquid and counting countingallows the ofof to enter the 400 400 compared most competitive wheels that use a 5/8” or 16mm liquid and the number contaminants compared mostcompetitive competitive hours fail under underaaconsistent consistent 400 compared toto most hours before before they they fail mounting bearing andadry the lubricants, rather bearings only having 300 before they fail under consistent bearings only having2-3 2-3seals sealsatat bolt. hours 300 load. Most bearings within the load. Most bearings within the bearings only having 2-3 seals at • Inside diameter 0.64” (16.256mm) than bearings failing directly. 300 each end. load. Most bearings withinbreak the down each end. agricultural 200 agricultural environment break down • Outside diameter 1.574” (40mm)environment 200 each end. Mud slurry testsdown are performed to 200 agricultural environment break Fits most gauge closing • Fits most gaugewheels wheelsand closing because deteriorate, which • and Width 1.737” (44.12mm) because the the seals seals deteriorate, which compare the life of different brands of 100 Fits most gauge wheels and closing 100 because the seals deteriorate, which wheels that use a 5/8” or 16mm wheels that use a 5/8” or 16mm allows to enter enter the bearings within the same environment. 100 allows contaminants contaminants to the wheels thatbolt. use a 5/8” or 16mm allows contaminants to enter the 00 The bar chart below compares the life mounting bearing and dry the lubricants, rather mounting bolt. bearing and lubricants, rather 0 mounting bolt. 0.64” bearing and dry the of lubricants, three differentrather brands of 5203 than failing directly. Inside diameter • Inside diameter 0.64”(16.256mm) (16.256mm) than bearings bearings failing directly. bearing at 500 rpm in the mud slurry than bearings failing directly. Inside diameter 0.64” (16.256mm) • Outside diameter 1.574” (40mm) Outside diameter 1.574” (40mm) Mud slurry slurry tests are performed Mud are performed to tank. The one onto the right is the PEER 6 seals at each end Outside diameter 1.574” (40mm) Mud slurry are performed to ofof • Width 1.737” (44.12mm) Width 1.737” (44.12mm) SEEDXTREME, which lasted more than compare different brands compare thetests life of different brands Width 1.737” (44.12mm) three times longer than compare the life of different brands of one major bearings within the same bearings sameenvironment. environment. 5203 bearing manufacturer and over 7 bearings within the same environment. The bar chart below compares the life The bar chart below compares thea 2nd life major 5203 times longer than The bar chart below compares the life ofthree three different brands 5203 of different brands of 5203 bearingof manufacturer.

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of three at different brands 5203 bearing at 500 500 rpm in slurry bearing rpm in the theofmud mud slurry bearing atone 500on rpm theisis mud slurry tank.The The one on the the tank. theinright right thePEER PEER SEEDXTREME, lasted than tank. The one onwhich the right is more the PEER SEEDXTREME, which lasted more than three times times longer longer than one SEEDXTREME, which lasted more than three than onemajor major 5203 bearing manufacturer and over three longer than one major 5203 times bearing manufacturer and over77 times bearing longer than a 2nd majorand 5203 5203 manufacturer over 7 times longer than a 2nd major 5203 14B Sloss Street, Horsham bearing manufacturer. times longer than a 2nd major 5203 bearing manufacturer. 03 5381 0800 all hours bearing manufacturer.

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rom northern Tasmania to South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula and into the Wimmera-Mallee, membership of the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s new-look Southern Regional Cropping Solutions Network, RCSN, stretches far and wide.

The corporation has appointed Southern RCSN members for a two-year term, bringing together diversity in geographical representation, knowledge, skills and experience. Three experienced network heads and an overall co-ordinator will lead a total of 38 RCSN members. GRDC southern grower relations manager Courtney Ramsey said the RCSN provided a transparent process to ensure it covered priority grains industry issues. She said the process helped the GRDC develop investments, which provided knowledge, tools and technology to growers to adopt farming practices to increase profitability. “Since its establishment in 2012, the Southern RCSN has played a pivotal role in identifying and prioritising the constraints and opportunities facing growers and shaping targeted GRDC investments in research, development and extension,” Ms Ramsey said. “In recent years, the RCSN’s role has focused on analysing the important issues, reviewing existing investments and identifying ideas to improve the profitability of growers.” Providing advice to GRDC staff and the GRDC Southern Region Panel, the RCSN comprises three groups, each of which is focused on soil types, climatic conditions and farming systems within a particular production zone – low rain, medium rain and high rain – across the three states.

Network members are growers, researchers, advisers and agribusiness professionals who liaise closely with, and represent, growers and the wider grains community within their areas and respective rain zones. Panel members are connected to the network through participation as members on the Southern RCSN. Ms Ramsey thanked outgoing Southern RSCN members who had served three terms and made a significant contribution to the grains industry. She also welcomed new members. The 2019-20 panel includes Southern Regional Cropping Solutions network manager, Courtney Ramsey, GRDC grower relations manager – South, and Southern Regional Cropping Solutions co-ordinator, Jen Lillecrapp, Struan. Victorian members include, medium rain zone – lead John Stuchbery, Donald; Gavin Sait, Charlton; John Robertson, Horsham; Bruce Macague, Rochester; Denise McLellan, Horsham; Luke Milgate, Serpentine; and Simon Mock, Horsham. Panel members – John Bennett, Lawloit; Richard Murdoch, Warooka; and Andrew Russell, Rutherglen. Low rain zone – leads John Stuchbery, Donald, and Barry Mudge, Port Germein; Victorian members Alistair Murdoch, Kooloonong; and Tim McClelland, Birchip. Panel members – Peter Kuhlmann, Mudamuckla; Rohan Mott, Ninda; and Kate Wilson, Hopetoun. High rainfall zone – lead Cam Nicholson, Geelong; Victorian members Rowan Paulet, Flynns Creek; Jim Zwar, Glenthompson; Craig Drum, Tatyoon; Peter McCann, Ceres; Roger Armstrong, Horsham; Vernon Dawson, Skipton; Vicky French, Vite Vite; and Simon Gabb, Shelford.  Panel members – Mike McLaughlin, Adelaide; Jon Midwood, Inverleigh; Fiona Marshall, Mulwala; and Michael Chilvers, Nile.


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Site F-12 & F-13 at the Wimmera Machinery Field Days such as soil, water and the natural environment.” The new application is based on QGIS, a computer program used for mapping and information storage. Mr Sturmfels said the program was free of charge, easy to use and would run on most computers. He said it could import data from other systems and did not require access to the internet. Mr Sturmfels said participants would also have access to aerial photography and other layers including roads, towns, waterways, property boundaries and contours. “Computer-based mapping programs have significant

Agricultural leaders are encouraging landholders to attend an Ararat FarmPlan21 course starting next month. People attending the course will be the first to receive a new mapping application designed specifically for the farming community. Agriculture Victoria senior soil conservation officer Clem Sturmfels said the mapping application allowed farmers to create a plan from scratch or update an existing whole-farm plan. “A whole-farm plan is a detailed map of a property showing features such as soil types, land classes, water supply, fencing and laneways,” he said. “It can also be used to store basic information such as stocking rates, fertiliser history and land use. “A whole-farm plan is usually accompanied by written documents covering topics such as farm vision and goals, water budgeting, biosecurity, drought and fire. “The aim is to make farms more productive, efficient and sustainable while at the same time protecting natural assets

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benefits over the more traditional paper-based approach,” he said. “Landholders can access updated aerial photography and topographic data, change the scale and view of their map, control what information is displayed and store a large amount of mapping and farm management information.” The Ararat FarmPlan21 course will run every Wednesday from February 13 to March 20. People keen to register can call Mr Sturmfels on 5355 0535 or 0429 018 879, or email clem.sturmfels@ecodev.vic.

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The Federal Government has promised to cut ‘unnecessary red tape’ for farmers in response to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the Regulation of Australian Agriculture. Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the government wanted to reduce red tape so farm businesses could create wealth and jobs in regional communities. “The inquiry report covers what all governments can do to cut red tape and we have already saved more than $125-million across agriculture,” he said. “There are more opportunities to cut red tape in land use, water, animal welfare, agricultural and veterinary chemicals, biosecurity, transport, labour, competition and exports.” But Mr Littleproud said the government would not relax screening thresholds for foreign ownership of farmland and agribusinesses, as suggested in the report. “We’ve struck the right balance – we’re protecting the national interest and attracting foreign investment,” he said. “Many of the report’s findings are already well underway – both at Commonwealth and state level.”

etting the most out of a summer spray program is impor-

That’s the outcome of five years of Birchip Cropping Group research that has found conserving summer fallow moisture in crops is imperative. The conservation of summer fallow moisture can increase the yield and profit margin of a crop by $155 a hectare, which is validated by the 48kg a hectare increase in mineral nitrogen stored in the soil of standing stubble with appropriate weed control. Summer weeds can use two to three millimetres a day if conditions and their roots penetrate through the top 10 centimetres of soil. Given summer weed spraying can have a direct impact on yields in the following growing season, Nufarm field development officer David Keetch and his colleagues are undertaking summer spray trials. “We are testing glyphosate and 2,4-D tank mixes at three volumes – 64, 80 and 96L-ha – through two spray nozzle sizes – course and ultra-course,” Mr Keetch said. The broadacre research and development team at Nufarm is undertaking these trials across southern Queensland, Western Australia, southern New South Wales and South Australia.

INSIGHT: Workshops provide opportunities for growers to get the latest spray information. “Ideally early control around the two to four-leaf stage is best, but late control has shown to be better than nothing,” Mr Keetch said. Water-use-efficiency research found that spraying 10 days after significant rain resulted in the greatest subsequent winter crop yield, but even controlling summer weeds three weeks after rain yielded more than the nil-control treatment. The Nufarm South Australia trial is targeting potato weed at a range of timings. “The trial will target potato weed at an assortment of sizes, from seedling to

flowering, and is in wheat stubble that is 10 to 15cm high,” Mr Keetch said. “Given the effect of stubble on spray efficacy, stubble is as uniform as possible across the site. “We have a range of data which helps us confirm our recommendations, but we will continue to research effective spray management to ensure we can provide the best options for producers.” Given recent changes in 2,4-D registration it is imperative to maintain effective spray programs. There is plenty of research, development and extension currently occurring in this area.

Growers have the opportunity to learn more about optimising their spray application with Australia’s leading spray application specialist Bill Gordon at free workshops. The workshops are part of a GRDC Effective Spray Application project and will be in Irymple on March 18, Elmore, March 25, Lake Bolac, March 26, Kaniva, March 27, Warracknabeal, March 28 and Sea Lake, March 29. People must RSVP because places are limited. People seeking more information about the workshops or to RSVP can call BCG on 5492 2787. • Jemma Pearl is BCG project officer.

Sea Lake

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We cover all major hubs including: Horsham, Stawell, Warracknabeal, Ararat, Nhill and St Arnaud. Rainbow




Kaniva Serviceton





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Kybybolite Naracoorte


Quambatook Meering


Murtoa Frances






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Bordertown Mundulla






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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

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AgLife – January 30, 2019 edition  

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AgLife – January 30, 2019 edition  

Read the January 30 edition of AgLife online!