... and the winner is?

The WalWal/Lubeck TOPCROP group in Victoria's eastern Wimmera is the nation's top TOPCROP group for 2000-01.

The decision was announced in Launceston in late March by TOPCROP's national chairman, Angus Woithe of Broome Hill,WA.

Wal Wal/Lubeck was chosen from five other State winners — Blackwood Creek TOPCROP Group, Tasmania; Lameroo Women in Farming, SA; Dirnaseer TOPCROP Group, NSW; North Mallee Farm Improvement Group, Salmon Gums, WA; and Muckadilla TOPCROP Group, Queensland.

Each State winner received $2,000 and the national winner an extra $1,000. There will also be a dinner for the 38 members of the Wal/Wal Lubeck group to further acknowledge their achievements.

According to group coordinator, Liam Lenaghan of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Horsham, there is outstanding cooperation among the group's members.

"This shows at the really busy times like seeding, when members are willing to stop working in their own businesses to implement trials," he said. "In the past five years a number of farmers in the area have moved from sheep and wool production heavily into cropping and TOPCROP has played an important role in adoption of new technology and has helped to facilitate the necessary changes."

"Group members played a key role in the formation of the Wimmera Farming Systems group — a farmer-driven research and extension body," Mr Lenaghan said.

The Wal Wal/Lubeck group has undertaken a number of on-farm trials with results including:

  • impressive performances by the new barley variety Gairdner, both in yields and in its ability to achieve malting grade
  • Mitre, Mira and Camm wheat varieties have performed well and are regarded as cropping options for the district
  • research has shown that fungicide sprays to control diseases in pulses should be done earlier than is the current practice and should use higher rates of water
  • deep soil testing for nitrogen levels before growing malting barley is likely to increase and is also useful in determining if there are subsoil limitations such as salt and boron.

The group's on-farm testing and crop monitoring program is complemented by many discussion sessions, field inspections and presentations from experts in various fields associated with graingrowing.

Program 4.1.2 Contact: Mr Liam Lenaghan 03 5381 1255, or for national details, Mr Mark Stanley 08 8688 3400

Region North