Field days from strength to strength

ABOVE LEFT: Farmers at the Birchip Cropping Group's field day, viewing canola trials and listening to John Williamson, of the Centre for Land Protection Research in Bendigo, discuss sodic soils from a soil pit (above).

The Main Field Day is a major annual event for the Birchip Cropping Group (BCG), a highly successful group run by farmers in Victoria's southern Mallee.

More than 1,000 farming families and researchers attended the 1997 field day, a social event that promoted discussion and information transfer. Discussions centred on growing wheat after medic pastures, competitive crops, canola agronomy, pulse herbicides and crop varieties.

In 1996 the BCG trialed a grains research EXPO. It was so successful that the Grains Research and Development Corporation asked the group to coordinate a series of EXPOs for the southern region in 1997.

Demonstrations and trials now number nearly 120 in order to include a wider variety of soil types and rainfalls, and the Group has coordinated a series of four agricultural EXPOs — at Roseworthy in South Australia, Lake Bolac in south-west Victoria, Birchip in the southern Mallee of Victoria and Temora in southern NSW.

The EXPOs are a valuable opportunity for farmers and experts, including industry representatives, to discuss and compare results.