They’re cultivating more than delicious food way down on the south-east coast of what many of us used to call the ‘apple isle’. It won’t be long before it’s known as the ‘cheese and milk isle’ if the team at the Stroud Dairy and their artisan dairy produce brand ‘Bream Creek Dairy’ have anything to do with it.
Recently, members from RAGTs senior team took a film crew down to the picturesque paddocks of this dairy located by the sea to record a conversation with the farm’s Herd Manager Jack Bignell. Jack has changed the direction of the dairy with the help and foresight of his dad Charles and uncle Richard, along with his brother Doug and a herd of 800 super fit and healthy Friesian cows. Jack’s idea of shifting to a paddock to plate model has seen the dairy successful launch its own produce brand – Bream Creek Dairy. The operation now sells a wonderful selection of fresh farm milks and cheeses, including a stunning Triple Cream Truffle Brie. You can read all about their great story and history on their website, as well as buy a truckle of this amazing cheese to try yourself.
From an RAGT perspective, to see this dairy pivot and prosper off the expert and continued support of our RAGT Territory Business Manager David Gould and a local agronomist’s recommendations of utilising Hustle AR1 Perennial Ryegrass as the backbone of the herds on ground pasture feed system has been very satisfying.
For an in depth understanding on how RAGT’s Hustle AR1 has supported Jack’s herd and assisted in cultivating the dairies outstanding new produce range, watch the ‘Cultivating Conversation’ video above. Here you’ll meet Richard Prusa (RAGT Technical Product Development Manager – Forage) and learn how his love for ‘dirty chai lattes’ made with delicious Bream Creek Dairy ‘Cream-0n-Top’ full cream milk and helping cultivate highly productive pastures is driving life moments for everyday people to enjoy.
“If you didn’t know it was cocksfoot, you would probably think it wasn’t!”
Mark Palmer, RAGT Australia’s National Sales Manager and a former dairy farmer was not surprised when this statement popped out of Bream Creek Dairy’s pasture manager Doug Bignell’s mouth while they were filming a new RAGT Cultivating Conversation video. They were discussing a rising five year stand of RAGT’s Lazuly Oceanic Soft Leaved Cocksfoot that they were standing in, positioned next to the sea, on a property located alongside Marion Bay on the south-east coast of Tasmania, just forty-five minutes from Hobart.
This is a commonly made assessment of this particular RAGT cocksfoot cultivar. It can look like a big annual ryegrass. Many a trained eye is use to seeing cocksfoot with a more narrow leaf and less prostrate habit. Mark and the team at RAGT put Lazuly’s more flowing appearance down to the genetics, where there was a strong focus on breeding and adding in improved palatability to what is a well know highly persistent variety. Watching a near 300 strong herd chew through it on the day did have everyone (film crew included) summarising these ladies must think they were brunching on a big annual rye tetraploid, based on the vigour they showed towards it!
Confusing appearance chatter aside, the recorded video conversation that you can watch above between Mark and Doug centres around what is happening down in this beautiful part of the world. Doug, along with his brother Jack, their parents and uncle run Stroud Dairy, one of the most southern dairy farms in Australia. It’s home to a wonderful and relatively new brand of artisan dairy based products labeled Bream Creek Dairy. The milk produced on farm goes directly into making a delicious range of locally made cheeses and milks – all heavily focused on sustainability and paddock to plate practices. You can read all about this great enterprise and its history on their website, as well as buy a truckle of any of their amazing cheeses to try yourself.
From an RAGT perspective, to see this operation prosper in an environment where factors such as farm aspect, soil types and seasonal conditions can heavily effect paddock pasture productivity was a real eye opener. RAGT Territory Business Manager David Gould and a local agronomist have collaborated with each other and the team at the dairy over many seasons to trial, then implement recommendations like the use of Lazuly. Its introduction has achieve excellent year round feed supply options that have ensured the 800 strong Friesian herd can produce milk to the high specifications required to produce award winning cheeses and milks.
For an in-depth understanding on how Lazuly, RAGTs Perennial Oceanic Soft Leaved Cocksfoot has supported Doug’s pasture system and helped cultivate the dairies outstanding new produce range, watch the ‘Cultivating Conversation’ video above. Here you’ll meet Mark Palmer (RAGT Australian National Sales Manager) and learn how his new found love of Bream Creek Dairy’s cheeses and cultivating better productivity in challenging pastures is driving the life moments everyday people enjoy, like a cracker topped with cheese.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is set to make a breakthrough visit to Beijing later this year after China backed down over punitive barley tariffs, leaving coercive trade sanctions remaining against just $2 billion of Australian exports.
China’s Commerce Ministry announced on Friday it advised the Customs Tariff Commission to remove anti-dumping and countervailing duties on barley imports from Saturday.
“The Ministry of Commerce has ruled that it is no longer necessary to continue to impose anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties on imports of barley originating in Australia in view of changes in the Chinese barley market,” it said in a statement.
The Albanese government will now push for the removal of tariffs on wine using the same template of suspending its World Trade Organisation challenge to allow Chinese officials to conduct a face-saving review.
“This is the right outcome … for Australian producers and the right outcome for Chinese consumers,” Foreign Minister Penny Wong said.
When Labor came to office in May last year, about $20 billion of Australian exports to China had been hit with trade sanctions, including coal, timber and barley.
“That’s now been reduced to about $2 billion, so it is very significant progress in that 15 months,” Trade Minister Don Farrell said, confirming Australia would abandon its WTO challenge.
“It is another very positive step in the full resumption of normal trade between Australia and China.”
The outstanding $2 billion includes tariffs of up to 220 per cent on wine, and de facto bans on lobster and red meat from some abattoirs.
The decision to end tariffs on barley exports – which peaked at $900 million in 2018-19 – helps pave the way for Mr Albanese to visit Beijing later this year, although further easing of trade sanctions may be required.
National HYC awards roadshow kicks off with WA and VIC growers recognised as champions for hyper yielding crops
FAR Australia, Australian based field applied researcher, developer and extension provider is thrilled to announce both the WA and VIC Hyper Yielding Crops Award winners for the 2022 season.
Now in its third year, the GRDC’s Hyper Yielding Crops Awards recognise the efforts and achievements of growers nationally who excel in cultivating high yielding crops, through making effective agronomic decisions according to their location and environment.
Previously the HYC Awards have recognised only high yielding wheat crops, however in 2022, barley was introduced into the awards programme across WA, VIC with and SA.
Taking out two HYC Awards for highest wheat and barley yields in WA was Perillup grower Kieran Allison. Mr Allison’s award-winning DS Bennett wheat crop recorded a 7.98t/ha yield whilst his award-winning RGT Planet barley crop yielded 8.93t/ha.
WA winners from left to right – John Blake (GRDC Western Panel member), Nick Poole (FAR Australia), Kieran Allison (HYC Award winner). Jon Midwood (TechCrop), Ben Webb (HYC Award winner), Charles Caldwell (HYC Award winner), Dan Fay (Stirlings to Coast Farmers).
In Victoria, the winning wheat yield clocked 10.59t/ha which was grown by Ascot grower, Ben Findlay. Mr Findlay chose RGT Cesario which was grown over a 42ha paddock. The winning barley yield, RGT Planet was entered into the competition by Streatham grower Ed Weatherly which yielded 7.5t/ha, this was grown over an area of 61ha following wheat.
From left to right – Greta Duff (Southern Farming Systems), Darcy Warren (FAR Australia), Ed Weatherly (HYC Award winner), Jon Midwood (TechCrop), Ben Findlay (HYC Award winner), Nick Poole, (FAR Australia).
The HYC Awards also recognise those growers who reach the highest yield based on the percentage of yield potential for their respective regions.
Winning this category in WA for wheat was Scotts Brook grower Ben Webb who topped a yield of 6.54t/ha crop of Planet (79 percent of potential). Charles Caldwell, also from Scotts Brook took out the barley award with his 7.76t/ha crop of RGT Planet (84 percent of potential).
The winning wheat and barley yields in Victoria were also recorded as being the highest percentage of potential with of 87 and 70 percent respectively.
Nick Poole, Managing Director Field Applied Research (FAR) Australia and project lead for the GRDC’s national Hyper Yielding Crops initiative recently presented the 2022 HYC trial results at the WA HYC Results and awards evenings in Kendenup, WA and Skipton, Victoria. Here he jointly presented the HYC Awards with HYC extension co-ordinator Jon Midwood of TechCrop, Dan Fay of Stirlings to Coast Farmers in WA and Greta Duff of Southern Farming Systems in Victoria.
Mr Poole says the HYC Awards have built community interest in pushing productivity boundaries nationally.
“These dedicated growers have demonstrated exceptional agronomic skills and techniques, resulting in remarkable yields whilst contributing positively to the overall success of the Australian grains industry.
“Their innovative approaches and best practices serve as an inspiration to the WA and Victoria cropping communities, driving pursuit of higher crop yields and sustainable farming practices,” he says.
“I would like to extend my congratulations to all winners for their outstanding achievements, these emphasise the importance of a community approach whilst pushing the boundaries to increase productivity and profitability.”
RGT Cesario red winter wheat and RGT Planet malt accredited spring barley
All those who participate in the HYC Awards are presented with a comprehensive report, which not only assists with identifying the different agronomic decisions made throughout the season’s growing conditions, but also provides each grower with the ability to closely benchmark these key decisions with other growers in their region.
Nominations are now open for the 2023 season and growers wishing to participate are urged to contact their respective project officer for more information if they would like to enter a crop this season.
The national HYC Results and Awards roadshow continues throughout July and August in South Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales; further details can be found on the FAR Australia website events page https://faraustralia.com.au/event.
Australian canola growers and farm advisors are notified that the European Union (EU) has announced it intends to reduce the maximum residue limit (MRL) for haloxyfop.
To meet this changing MRL, this means 2023/24 canola treated with haloxyfop should not be delivered or received into the Australian grain handling system for canola segregations (grades) destined for export. This change is necessary as, if delivered, it will jeopardise market access to the EU for Australian canola. This applies to canola received in the 2023/24 season.
Whilst haloxyfop remains a legally registered product in Australia, any future use on canola, given the impending change in the EU MRL, will result in a residue detection above the new EU MRL. To maintain access into the EU market, Australian canola growers are advised of the need to use alternative weed control options for the 2023 season crop, and in future cropping programs. Potential alternatives are listed in the information sheet which can be accessed by the button below.
Australian canola is highly sought after in overseas export markets. To maintain our strong trading reputation and ensure continued market access, it is critical that exported canola meets import country MRLs.
This information sheet provides background on the EU’s decision, to be proactive and help inform growers and industry about these important changes.
Information on this notice has been generated and supported by the Australian Oilseeds Federation, Grains Australia, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Grain Trade Australia, the National Working Party on Grain Protection, Grain Producers Australia and GrainGrowers Limited.
Present in five continents, the seed company RAGT wants to develop its activity and raise awareness of its multi-species strategy. This notably involves grouping together its subsidiaries under the RAGT banner. In Australia and New Zealand, RAGT Australia and RAGT New Zealand came into being on 1st January 2023.
“The potential for development of our activities is real in South America, Oceania and Africa. We are also exploring North America”, confides Samuel Gasté, New Markets Territory Director at RAGT.
In 2018, RAGT underwent a change in organisation. Previously split into three pillars (cereals and proteins, forage and turf, and hybrids), the seeds activities are since piloted by territory, five worldwide: France, Northern & Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, and finally the New Markets (North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Middle East and Oceania).
“The objective is that each Territory Director guarantees the development of the multi-species strategy of RAGT in the countries they pilot”, explains Samuel Gasté, New Markets Territory Director. “Whereas before, the key to entry was the species, it is now territories”. This is a change that, over some months, has seen the deployment of the RAGT brand on different continents.
“Since 1st January, two new subsidiaries have joined us” explains Samuel Gasté: RAGT NZ in New Zealand and RAGT Australia, in Australia. These two structures existed before, but under the name Seed Force. In 2020, RAGT, who already owned 40% of the companies, acquired them in total. Since then, it has been important to us to bring these two entities under the RAGT brand to clearly identify the group in each market and highlight the diversity of the solutions we offer.
“In Australia, we offer malting barley, forage grasses, winter oilseed rape and canola. In New Zealand the demand is more for fodder beet and forage grasses. These two countries account for nearly 50% of the group activity in forage grasses. Our presence in the Pacific region will allow us, over time to develop our activity in South East Asia.”
Increase visibility to be better known
In last November, RAGT acquired Tobin, an Argentinian company specialising in the research, production and commercialisation of sorghum, and is recognised as a major player in this market.
“The objective is to merge this structure with our local subsidiary, RAGT Argentina, to then market our solutions under two brands – RAGT and Tobin,” he continues. “The potential for development in our activities is real in South America, Oceania and Africa. We are also exploring North America. But that won’t happen without recruiting new talent”, he admits. “To communicate and capitalise on the RAGT brand, we need to increase our visibility and international presence – a strategy which will also attract future employees.”
Lucerne production is an industry that’s helping transform the farming landscape on many properties in southeast South Australia and for the Kinyerrie Partnership, it’s become all about growing top quality lucerne stands.
The Kinyerrie Partnership is a lucerne seed, premium hay and livestock operation. It extends across 2,200ha, 10km West of Keith and typically runs 2,000 terminal ewes that lamb in March. The enterprise produces lucerne pastures and hay, for both internal use and off-farm sales.
Mark Wilson took over the farm manager role a few years ago and explains the property has a mix of irrigated and dry land lucerne, grown mostly on a sandy loam which suits lucerne production. Rainfall for their area averages about 475mm.
“We have 530ha under centre pivot, 70 ha under flood irrigation and we grow a range of different lucerne varieties,” Mark said.
“Our primary business is lucerne seed with value adding through hay and pasture. What we like to grow are multi-purpose varieties that are great for forage and hay production. There are some good ones out there like the Seed Force variety SF 614 QL
“614 started well before my time here. It has been grown on this property for about seven years. Over that time, it’s proven to be a really good forage variety, due to its multi-foliate trait.
“Great for its ability to bounce back after grazing, a lot of our non-irrigated pastures have been sown down to it. SF 614 QL responds well to grazing and comes back quickly.
“We also have a 37ha paddock, of which 30 ha is under centre pivot irrigation sown to it as well. It’s been a productive stand and lived on for a long time.
“How long the sheep go in there can depend on what we are doing at the time. For example, lambs might be in there for 3 or 4 weeks before we move them on to the next pivot. The ewes also get rotated in there for 3 to 4 week intervals.
“During late winter we had just over 400 fast growing prime lambs in there for about 4 weeks before I pulled them out. As part of our rotational management, we don’t let any paddocks get to the stage where they’re completely grazed out. We’ll feed hay as necessary, just to give the sheep a bit of extra roughage.
“SF 614 QL is a variety which produces a lot of fodder. When it is up to 15 to 20cm high and has plenty of leaf in amongst it, it’s time to graze.
“There’s plenty of bulk in the foliage because of the growth characteristics of the plant. The SF 614 QL has a high leaf to stem ratio.”
Mark said their lucerne paddocks normally receive 100kg/ha of single superphosphate and trace elements annually. The trace elements are generally applied through the boom.
Areas destined to have multiple hay cuts will also get a good rate of potash.
Centre pivot areas are generally cut for high quality hay and non-irrigated pasture paddocks are typically used for forage.
Everything gets winter cleaned with selective herbicides to remove unwanted, low value weeds.
“We are in touch with our agronomist regularly and keep an eye on it. If it looks like needing something, we get straight onto it,” Mark said.
With properties at Robe, Naracoorte and Langkoop, Graham Johnson’s focus is clearly on pushing livestock production. Across his properties he runs ewes and lambs, cows and calves. There’s a lot of mouths to feed, reliant almost totally on rain-fed agriculture.
According to Graham’s Livestock Manager, Aaron Slorach, they grow a small amount of feed barley and some oats for hay just north of Naracoorte. Most paddocks are a mix of clover and annual ryegrass, with a spread of Phalaris across some. It’s all non-irrigated pasture, aside from two centre pivots at Naracoorte.
While the pivots cover just a small percentage of the Naracoorte block, they are enormously important when it comes producing in-season and out-of-season feed. Aaron said when you have the ability to manage pasture growth with irrigation, you really want to take production to the next level and make the most of the opportunity.
The two pivots were sown to Seed Force Lucerne variety SF 614 QL in 2021. Commercial seeding rates up to 25kg/ha were used and the intent was to make full use of this multi-purpose, dormancy 6 rated variety, for both forage and hay production.
With a close eye on management, the stand established exceptionally well and was ready to be cut for hay by October. Further cuts were made into early summer.
Aaron said as Livestock Manager, his interest has been on how SF 614 QL performs with gazing. He said both pivots have been stocked since the beginning of 2022.
“We had about 700 light lambs that needed to be finished off before they could be moved on, so in January they went onto the pivots and by mid-February they were moved off and sold.
“As soon as they came off, we watered for a couple of weeks. The 614 bounced back quickly, so we introduced 360 pregnant ewes in early March.
“We aim for an April/May lambing here. Those particular sheep were bought last year as scanned-in ewes and joined with lamb at foot, so the lambs didn’t drop until the middle of May.
“It’s been interesting to see how they’ve performed on the Seed Force variety. The weight gains I have seen on those lambs from the time they were born to when they were ready to leave the property, and how they looked, is as impressive as I’ve seen.
“By late winter the lucerne growth was powering away, way ahead of the ewes and lambs, so we took them off one of the pivots and put them all onto the other one for a stocking rate of 22 DSE.
“That enabled us to do a winter weed clean-up, to set-up the unoccupied pivot in preparation for hay production.
“Come early September, lambs on the SF 614 QL lucerne were probably 4kg heavier on carcass weight compared to lambs in the paddock next door. We’re targeting that 24kg plus weight range.
“Approaching four months, most were ready to sell. That’s remarkable considering they were actually 3 to 4 weeks younger compared to the rest of the lambs on the farm.
“It’s been as good a lamb growth as I have seen,” Aaron said.
With the season still progressing, he said as lambs on the pivot are sold, they would be replaced with lambs from other paddocks.
“As spring progresses and the weather gets warmer, it’s obviously going to grow a lot more feed and get further ahead of the sheep. So, we’ll have to manage it and increase the stocking rate accordingly.
“Ideally, we’d get enough on there to chew it down and be able to get in and do a spring weed clean-up in preparation for hay cutting.
“I’m really impressed with how much winter and spring forage it has produced, and how it bounces back,” Aaron said.
RAGT is introducing the first European winter wheat variety with a high level of resistance to barley yellow dwarf virus.
Cutting-edge genetic science is at the heart of the development of a high yielding feed wheat which is resistant to barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV).It is a story that goes back over two decades and has culminated in RAGT bringing RGT Wolverine winter wheat to the UK market.
Dr Chris Burt is the cereal genotyping manager at RAGT and runs its genotyping laboratory which carries out genetic analysis on lines that are going through the breeding programme and looks for traits of interest, including those with resistance to BYDV. This work enables the laboratory to look at large numbers of lines relatively quickly and efficiently to select those that have the right genetic markers and agronomic characteristics. The RAGT genotyping laboratory continues to conduct research to identify new genetic markers for a range of disease resistances, such as the Bdv2 gene that confers resistance to BYDV.
On the 23rd of February, the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC) held their Grains Research Update at the Rokewood Memorial Hall. The day was attended by agronomists, consultants, researchers, and growers to see and discuss the latest in research.
This event is used by many to network and connect with their peers about how to apply new and relevant information to the latest farming systems. The speakers for the day come from a number of industry leading companies including Southern Farming Systems, FAR Australia, NSW DPI, and Agriculture Victoria. Some of the topics spoken on were agronomics and harvestability of hyper yielding canola, managing cereal diseases in high rainfall environments, and emerging strategies for long term weather forecasting.
On the 15th of February the Barossa Improved Grazing Group held their annual conference dubbed ‘From the Ground Up’. The conference included a number of guest speakers to discuss carbon farming, the financial benefits of ewe containment, wool harvesting, and many other topics.
The conference consisted of over 50 attendees, including our very own David ‘Rocky’ Barnett. This conference gave an invaluable opportunity for attendees to ask all the speakers any questions that they might need answered, to give a holistic understanding of the presentation, and be able to apply what they’ve learnt on their farms.
On the 16th of February, Southern Farming Systems held their annual Summer Fodder Walk at Rokewood Pasture & Forage Trial Site. The day included trials & demos focusing on Forage Brassicas with demonstration strips of Sorghum and Millet sown on 1st December.
With the guidance of our very own Richard Prusa, we were lucky enough to get a class of 1st year Agricultural students from Marcus Oldham Agricultural College down to the trials to get an opportunity at some hands on learning. While at the site they had a chance to inspect and discuss the uses of forage brassicas, forage sorghum & millet as well as learn about summer grazing options for the Western Districts.