NSW grasslands conference drives enterprise productivity

Beef Central, 24/05/2012

NSW DPI's Nathan Ferguson with farmer Rodney Purcell who will speak at the conferenceMost landholders aspire to leaving the farm in a better state than when they started, and this year's Grassland Society of NSW conference being held at Wagga Wagga aims at ensuring they do just that.

The conference, from July 24-26, will take participants on a journey that will look at how to implement management practices that will help producers achieve that goal, according to  conference convenor, NSW DPI agronomist Nathan Ferguson.

Titled Managing a grazing business for profit in the agricultural landscape, the conference is aimed at producers and advisers in livestock industries.

“The conference will provide participants with the skills to recognise different parts of their landscape for their productive or conservation potential and manage them accordingly,” Mr Ferguson said.

“These skills include understanding climatic conditions, topography, soil types, vegetation, soil fertility status, different enterprises, paddock size, water sources and carrying capacities.”

On day-one of the conference, NSW DPI agronomist Dr Belinda Hackney will present on the topic of recognising and working within landscape limitations for increased productivity. Sjhe will be followed by Rodney Purcell, a producer from Brungle, who will talk on how his family?s grazing management changed to utilise differences in the landscape.

NSW DPI research officer for soil carbon, Susan Orgill, will describe how soil carbon sequestration is influenced by soil type, climate, vegetation and management.

Fiona Leech from NSW DPI at Yass will present on the use of alternative fertilisers and what pasture trial results say about their use, followed by Kim Billingham from NSW DPI at Taree, who will speak on potential application of humic products for agriculture.

Participants will then have the opportunity to choose one of three bus tours:

  • The first is a high-rainfall tour to look at beef and sheep production
  • The second looks at how a local community undertook a cross-property planning process to better manage agriculture in the landscape, and
  • The third is for mixed farmers, looking at crop sequencing trials at the EH Graham Centre, as well as local farms producing lucerne hay, sheep and irrigated and dryland cropping and pastures.

Day two of the conference starts with Dr Richard Simpson, senior research scientist with CSIRO Plant Industry, discussing phosphorus in the landscape: a sustainable phosphorus future for Australian pastures.

He will be followed by Oliver Cay, a producer from the Monaro region, who used a decision-support tool to help model potential enterprise changes on his farm.

NSW DPI livestock officer (sheep and wool) Doug Alcock will present on fertilising native pastures; followed by Mike Keys, an agronomist with Chris Houghton Agricultural, who will discuss results from demonstration work conducted at Newbridge on the effect of fertiliser on the productivity and persistence of perennial native grasses.

NSW DPI Research Agronomist, Dr Warwick Badgery, will discuss how intensive rotational grazing can improve profitability and environmental outcomes as part of the Future Farm Industries CRC funded EverGraze project.

NSW DPI's Richard Hayes will discuss perennial pasture species for the mixed farming zone as part of Future Farm Industries CRC-funded EverCrop project. He will be followed by a presentation on how a new decision support tool helps mixed farmers make pasture sowing decisions.

The conference will also take a look at how NSW DPI Researcher Dr Edward Clayton's work carried out at the EH Graham Centre has led to increasing the proportion of female lambs by supplementary feeding oats high in omega-6 fatty acids at joining.

The conference will close with a group of young farmers and advisers discussing how they would pay for a farm they have purchased using borrowed money.

The venue is Joyes Hall, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga campus. Early Bird Registrations close on 30 June with final registrations closing on 16 July.

  • To find out more visit or contact Nathan Ferguson on (02) 6947 4188 or


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