Somewhere to get together

Farmers from the Willaura TOPCROP Group are benefiting from the work of Southern Farming Systems.

Three research and demonstration sites are crucial to the success of the Southern Farming Systems network in Victoria. The sites, located between Geelong and Hamilton, provide a focus for research and allow growers to meet and discuss issues with other farmers, resellers and researchers.

The grower-led Southern Farming Systems network is developing higher-rainfall cropping strategies for the southern part of the state. Each site is host to a program which includes field days, crop walks and TOPCROP crop monitoring sessions as well as annual field days.

Steve Holden, TOPCROP Officer with the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said that, by having a number of different cultivars on the sites, growers could examine different growth stages throughout the season, as well as comparing yields.

"Having growers estimate yield can lead to some fairly interesting discussions regarding factors affecting the final yield. When our accurate results are circulated after harvest, growers can find out just how close they were with their estimation," Mr Holden said.

Southern Farming Systems is a non-profit organisation representing over 500 growers mainly in southern Victoria. It aims to raise the long-term average wheat yields in the district from just over two tonnes to over 5 and a half per hectare.