Originally, it was a sheep-grower self-help group, but the Tulloona Ag Bureau has developed into an important forum for a group of growers near Moree in north-western NSW to improve long-term crop yields and profitability.
According to Chairman Phil Bardsley, on 'Coolanga', the opportunity to swap information with other local growers has been invaluable, as has the access to technical advice from experts from government departments, consultants and agribusiness. The group also plays host to a number of NSW Agriculture trials, including trials for faba beans, lentils, barley and wheat, although Mr Bardsley says he gets the most value out of the wheat and barley pre-release trials.
"The last lot of trials showed us a number of high-performing varieties for both wheat and barley. Because of the yields, we have been giving Sunvale (a nematode-tolerant Prime Hard quality wheat) and Skiff (a feed-quality barley) a go, and they've done pretty well for us on the whole." (See Tables 1 and 2 for results of trials on Mr Bardsley's property.)
You can hardly beat on-farm trial results. Combined with the Tulloona Ag Bureau field day, Mr Bardsley and other growers gain access to detailed technical advice from plant breeders and other specialists.
Tulloona field day
This year's field day is in early October. Growers are inspecting NSW Agriculture crop variety trials for wheat, barley and faba beans, as well as trials testing the benefits of trace-element applications in wheat.
Also featured at the field days are machinery demonstrations, comparisons of soils and crop performance under conventional and zero-tillage systems, and farm walks on growers' properties to give insight into other growers' experiences and advice on better management practices for successful crops.
Contact: Mr Phil Bardsley 02 6754 7148
Table 1: Main season core wheat variety trial, Both trials conducted at Coolanga Julloona, west Moree, 1997
Table 2: Advanced barley breeding trial