Fo­cus on prof­itabil­ity

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Ag Life -

More than 100 peo­ple took up an op­por­tu­nity to learn about lift­ing farm prof­itabil­ity through pro­duc­tive pas­tures and man­age­ment sys­tems at a con­fer­ence in Ararat.

Agri­cul­tural in­dus­try mem­bers from across Vic­to­ria and a group of South Aus­tralian vis­i­tors at­tended in­de­pen­dent farmer group Peren­nial Pas­ture Sys­tems’ 10th an­nual con­fer­ence, at Gum San Chi­nese Her­itage Cen­tre.

The PPS group aims to bring pro­duc­tive and sus­tain­able pas­ture re­search and ex­ten­sion to the re­gion.

Pres­i­dent Tony Roberts said the an­nual con­fer­ence was a vi­tal event on the group’s cal­en­dar.

“This year’s theme was ‘PPS 10 years on; look­ing back and mov­ing for­ward’,” he said.

“We lined up a range of qual­ity speak­ers for the day as well as a visit to a highly pro­duc­tive PPS mem­ber farm.”

Sem­i­nar speak­ers in­cluded lead­ing agri­cul­tural econ­o­mist Dr Bill Mal­colm from Mel­bourne Univer­sity, who looked at the eco­nomics of pas­ture im­prove­ment.

“He pro­vided an ex­ten­sive, in­sight­ful and en­ter­tain­ing pre­sen­ta­tion,” Mr Roberts said.

This was com­ple­mented by a re­port on the PPS re­search site ‘Green­fields’, near Elmhurst, com­piled by con­sul­tant Lisa Warn and Mr Roberts, who is host­ing the trial.

Dr Belinda Hack­ney from NSW De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture pro­vided a pa­per ex­plain­ing pos­si­ble rea­sons be­hind un­der­per­form­ing legumes.

“Un­for­tu­nately, Belinda was a late with­drawal as a pre­sen­ter due to a back in­jury but the pre­sen­ta­tion was de­liv­ered by PPS mem­ber Deb­bie Shea,” Mr Roberts said.

“Belinda is plan­ning to visit PPS next au­tumn to pro­vide the cur­rent year’s re­sults of her re­search.”

Cameron Al­lan from Meat and Live­stock Aus­tralia gave a brief look into the fu­ture of the sheep­meat in­dus­try and the is­sues the in­dus­try will need to ad­dress.

Lead­ing farmer speak­ers, Shaun Beasley from East Gipp­s­land and Henry Goode from Mt Ben­son in South Aus­tralia, put in ‘plain words’ how to ‘put it all to­gether on the farm’.

Mr Beasley spoke about his start in agri­cul­ture in 1982, leas­ing land and pur­chas­ing sheep for one dol­lar.

His en­ter­prise has now grown to car­ry­ing 20,000 sheep and 1000 cat­tle at its peak.

Num­bers have been re­duced this year due to drought con­di­tions in his re­gion.

Mr Goode pre­sented on his fam­ily’s en­ter­prise in south-east South Aus­tralia.

“It is a lead­ing farm mak­ing the most of mod­ern merino ge­net­ics, com­ple­mented by an ex­tremely high level of best prac­tice adop­tion of hus­bandry prac­tices,” Mr Roberts said.

Sem­i­nar par­tic­i­pants con­cluded the day ses­sion with a visit to the Mcdougall fam­ily farm at Ma­roona, where Sean Mcdougall pro­vided in­for­ma­tion about manag­ing the mixed farm­ing en­ter­prise.

“The day con­cluded with an an­nual din­ner at Cha­lam­bar Golf Club in Ararat, where noted agri­cul­tural con­sul­tant Ken Solly from Nara­coorte gave a pas­sion­ate, in­sight­ful and in­spi­ra­tional pre­sen­ta­tion on the peo­ple side of work­ing in agri­cul­ture,” Mr Roberts said.

“It is great to be able to bring such a high level of pre­sen­ters to the con­fer­ence, which pro­vides valu­able in­for­ma­tion and in­spi­ra­tion to im­prove the pro­duc­tiv­ity on the re­gion’s sheep and cat­tle en­ter­prises.

“It was a great so­cial day as well, with lots of pos­i­tive peo­ple in at­ten­dance.”

FARM VISIT: Ma­roona. Peren­nial Pas­ture Sys­tems con­fer­ence par­tic­i­pants visit the Mcdougall fam­ily farm at

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