On Monday and Tuesday 24 and 25 February 2020, growers from the Monto district, Monto Growers Group members and Isis Canegrowers members gathered together for the second tour of the Achieving Better Results Together Program. This program was funded by the Queensland Government Reef Water Quality Program with support from Burnett Mary Regional Group and Burnett Catchment Care Association.
Twenty-seven growers attended Salisbury’s farm, “Glenbrae” on Monday for a morning with Mary O’Brien. Mary walked attendees through best practice chemical use, spray drift risk management (including risks associated with inversion conditions) and legislative requirements around the use of 24D. Mary provided extensive reference material and provided practical demonstration of nozzle selection with her demonstration spray rig. It was great to have the theory reinforced via a hands-on demonstration.
After lunch everyone went for a tour of “Glenbrae” with Ben Salisbury leading the way. While on tour, Mark Kurtz from Thinkwater Biloela gave a demonstration of Salisbury’s newly installed lateral irrigation unit and discussed the pros and cons of various irrigation systems with growers. Mark was a wealth of knowledge of on all things irrigation and answered questions from growers around water efficiency, value for capital expenditure and energy costs.
Growers joined in for a social dinner on Monday night where Monto locals and Isis Canegrowers shared stories of their own cropping practices and debriefed each other on the days’ learnings. It was great to finish off a good day of learning with a more relaxed atmosphere.
On Tuesday morning, Naomi Purcell from Burnett Catchment Care Association introduced the Growers to various decision support tools and demonstrated the practice of designing and using decision making matrices as a decision support tool. Growers then had to produce their own decision matrix that was relevant to their specific operation and the exercise was completed very successfully.
The next port of call was a run-down on the financial options on offer from the QRIDA with Mark Barrett. Mark is a regular visitor to Monto and was able to tailor his presentation to the growers attending his session.
Tim Neale of Data Farming was the last “classroom” session of the day. Tim gave a run-down on the latest gps and equivalent technology, easy steps to take towards controlled traffic farming and effective ways to drain water from farming paddocks. Tim’s visit then extended to Sanderson Farm just north of Monto where he explained his high resolution satellite imagery mapping tool and gave a quick run-down on compaction and soil health.
While the group started to part ways for other commitments, a few (including Isis Canegrowers members) stayed on to visit the Muller’s corn crop on Cania Road.
Feedback from the 2-day event included comments such as:
“Networking is really important at this early stage of farming for us”
“The socialising from a mental health point of view is very positive”
“The spray nozzle information was great and I will most probably change my practices on farm”
“Simple chit chat between growers is highly valuable”
Thanks must go to Salisbury Farming for their hospitality on day 1, Sanderson Farm for a site visit on day 2 and Muller’s for allowing an impromptu visit at the last minute.