New site for NAG trials

Claire TyrrellCountryman

Close to 50 farmers and industry representatives attended this year’s Northern Agri-Group (NAG) autumn field day.

The day began with a visit to inaugural NAG rural achiever of the year Don Nairn’s property in Binnu.

Mr Nairn showed visitors his summer forage crops, including sorghum and millet.

“We had an opportunity to grow some good summer crops this year because of all the good rainfall,” he said.

Mr Nairn received more than 100mm of summer rain and seeded his crops on December 22. He said making the most of rainfall was the most challenging aspect of farming in his area.

“A big challenge is about trying to utilise the soil as best we can,” he said.

“It’s also about choosing the right varieties of wheat to suit the area.”

The NAG district receives an average of about 320mm a year, placing it in the low to medium rainfall category.

Field day participants then headed out to NAG’s new trial site.

NAG chairman Craig Simkin said the group secured 80ha of land to conduct long-term trials.

“We are getting the trial site into shape, to prepare for long-term broadacre trials,” he said.

“This year CSBP is conducting fertiliser trials, Western Minerals are doing a trial.”

The trial site is a big step forward for NAG, who previously conducted trials on member’s farms.

This year NAG will conduct its own legume and cereal trials at the site.

In the afternoon the group trekked back to the Binnu Hall to discuss past trials.

Standout trials included genetically modified canola, nutrition, biological farming and herbicide trials.

Craig Simkin compared GM canola with triazene tolerant and hybrid varieties.

The GM hybrid varieties displayed early vigour and performed better than the open-pollinated varieties.

NAG released it 2010 trials book to its members at the autumn field day.

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