Field day puts spring in farmers' steps

Claire TyrrellCountryman

An air of optimism was apparent at this year's Mingenew-Irwin Group (MIG) spring field day.

About 120 growers attended the field day to learn about the latest in cropping, livestock and machinery.

MIG chief executive Jane Bradley said the strong growing season had added to the atmosphere on the day. "It is shaping up to be a bumper season," she said.

"We just need a bit more rain to finish things off, but the crops are looking like some of the best in the State."

The day was held at MIG's sandplain trial site, which has 18 trials over a five-hectare area.

Pacific Seeds released its new wheat variety, LongReach Cobra, at the field day.

Pacific Seeds territory manager Josh Johnson said the variety was ideal for the southern parts of the northern agricultural region.

"It is a mid to long season variety, so it would suit this area if it was in early and in a good season," he said.

"It would be a fantastic fit for anywhere where Carnamah wheat is grown."

Cobra was developed in a joint venture between Pacific Seeds and LongReach.

"It is LongReach's first WA-bred variety and took nine years to develop," Mr Johnson said.

"It is an Australian Hard wheat variety, so it has a fantastic quality rating. It also has a excellent yellowspot package and good rust resistance."

Also at the field day, MIG president Craig Forsyth spoke to growers about the WA Beef Council's producers' roundtable.

Mr Forsyth spoke about the impact of the live cattle export ban and the steps being taken to protect the trade.

"As long as we have a transparent system, lifetime traceability and a good auditing system, it will set the standard for other countries," he said.

"This will need to apply in cattle, sheep and goats in every market Australia sells to."

Several machines were on display at the field day, including Tecfarm Engineering's Smartcart 30.

The Smartcart is a conveyor-fed chaff cart, which attracted plenty of interest from farmers on the day.

Mingenew farmer Brodie Stokes bought a Smartcart for the upcoming harvest.

Mr Stokes said the machine would be useful for his livestock and cropping enterprise.

"I bought it for cow feed and to eliminate windrow burning after harvest," he said.

The Smartcart helps to control summer weeds by destroying weed seeds that feed through the header at harvest.

MIG is one of the State's largest grower groups, with more than 200 farming family members.

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