The 2013 annual conference of the Grassland Society of Southern Australia will be held in Albury on 17-18 July and will include presentations by Kiewa Valley farmers.
The conference will be held in the SS&A Club in Kiewa Street, and will build on the theme 'Learn, Adopt, Prosper'.
In the morning session on Wednesday July 17, key-note speaker Phil Shannon, a dairy industry grazing consultant from northern Victoria, will address the topic 'Extracting more from your feed base'.
This will be followed by Cam Brown, a dairy farmer from the Goulburn Valley. Cam will speak about his experiences building a highly-productive dairy enterprise from a small base.
Bus tours will make up the afternoon session, including a dairy tour that will travel along the Kiewa Valley Highway for two farm visits. This tour will be led by Darren McCormick from Landmark NorMac in Barunduda, and will be accompanied by Phil Shannon to also provide specialist commentary along the way.
The first farm is operated by Scott McKillop at Dederang. Scott milks around 340 autumn-calving cows off 200 hectares of dryland pasture in a 900 mm rainfall zone. His dairy production is approximately 8,000 litres per cow with 600 kilograms milk solids per cow.
Scott is an excellent grass manager and spends a lot of time assessing paddocks for the most suitable pasture cultivars. Scott uses forage brassicas and herbs to compliment seasonal growth curves. He has a great mix of perennial ryegrass, Italian ryegrass, chicory and plantain that will make the visit most interesting for participants. Closer to the event, he will have available soil test results and an associated fertiliser program.
As the property can get quite wet in July, both Scott and Darren will need to ensure the bus tour group can get around the farm safely, so gumboots will be a requirement.
The second farm is operated by Barry and Faye Hicks of Kergunyah. They run a beef operation on the eastern side of the Kiewa River on a mix of rising country and river flats, with a similar rainfall to Scott's farm.
The Hicks completed the DEPI 'Feeding Pastures for Profit' (FPFP) program some years ago and have applied the FPFP principles to improve their beef business. They no longer have access to Alpine grazing leases over the summer and recently commented that they are now able to run more cow/calf units on the home block using FPFP principles than when they had the additional Alpine leases.
With this farm visit, Darren will aim to show that improvements in grazing management and rotational grazing are not just for the dairy farmers but can also be used by beef producers to improve their profitability quite simply, once initial teething problems are addressed.
The bus will return to Albury along the eastern side of the river on the Gundowring Road via Lake Hume.
For more information please contact Tim Paramore, telephone 0428 686 370, or Stuart Kemp, telephone 1300 137 550. Alternatively, you can visit the Grassland Society website.