Yuna women out for the count

Some of the women who participated in the plant count.
Camera IconSome of the women who participated in the plant count. Credit: Countryman

A group of women from Yuna took the opportunity this week to participate in valuable research for their local farming systems, while raising money for their local P&C.

The ladies were tasked with counting canola emergence over 32 trial sites planted on the Yuna Farm Improvement Group community crop, aimed at testing the effect of different seeding equipment and sowing depths on canola establishment rates.

The trial was funded by the North East Farming Future Group, with Council of Grain Growers Organisation, and led by YFIG, following establishment challenges in recent years of dry conditions.

For most of the day, there were 11 women and three children who did the plant count alongside YFIG president Brady Green and Jerome Leray, of Western Aerial Mapping, who provided a drone.

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School children arrived by bus after school to lend a helping hand.

YFIG spokesperson Jasmyn Allen, also a member of the P&C, said the P&C was thrilled the children were involved with the plant count.

“We want our children to gain this understanding of how science flows through to the food on our plates,” she said.

Elders agronomist Belinda Eastough presented one metre rulers to count plants.

She explained with two counts per trial plot the YFIC was aiming for emergence of 20 plants per square metre.

At time of sowing, there was moisture of at between 2 and 20cm with a dry top, very dusty sowing conditions.

Canola was seeded at 1.8kg ha at depths of 1cm, 3cm and 5cm.

Raw data suggest 3cm plants were the first to emerge and those planted at the shallow depth were last to emerge.

Mrs Allen said mood was buoyant, particularly as Yuna had received some much-needed rain over the weekend — 40mm of rain had been received since the crop was sown.

“The team of ladies worked well with information sharing between non-agricultural background/university education and those who are new to agriculture,” she said.

“Lots of questions were asked while working alongside each other about the machines used, and the purpose of the plant count.

“And importantly, it was an opportunity for the P&C ladies to fundraise for our local school, which is very small with children from just 14 families.”

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