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08:00 Field Trip Briefing – Eureka Ballroom, Mercure Ballarat

Depart Mercure Ballarat for Deakin University Geelong

Presentation from Johanna Couchman on board the coach – online Agronomic Extension

Arrive Deakin University Geelong for a presentation on Virtual Reality (3D printing and high voltage labs)
Morning Tea
Depart Deakin University for Murnong Farms
Arrive Josh Walters Murnong Farming for site visit, lunch and probe TRAX SFS, Soil moisture Probes Presnetation
Depart Murnong Farming for Rokewood
Arrive Andrew Whitlocks Farm Rokewood for Precision Agriculture Presnetation
Depart for Mercure Ballarat
15:00 Arrive Mercure Ballarat

Farm Biosecurity

Take a few moments to watch the following video on Farm Biosecurity.

Help to keep our crops and livestock free from disease, pests and weeds.

What to Bring

  • Warm / waterproof jacket
  • Hat
  • Long pants
  • Closed toe, sturdy footwear

Sunscreen, disposable boot covers, disposable gloves and farm biosecurity essentials will be provided on board the coaches.


ExtensionAUS™ is an evolving, virtual, customer-centred learning environment that provides the most current, objective, research-based information for anyone; with chosen topics available at any time and on any device. The service is free to use. www.extensionaus.com.au



GrowNotes™ Alert

GrowNotes™ Alert is a national proactive communication service to notify grain growers and industry of time-bound, actionable and economically important issues in their region. The service, also free to all subscribers, supplies links to management information through personalised subscriptions based on location, crops of interest and preferred channels of communication. https://grdc.com.au/grownotesalert.

GRDC Grownnotes Alert


CropPro is a free and  innovative web portal that informs and supports crop agronomy, with unique diagnostic tools, go-to apps, plus a library of resources and economic tools. www.croppro.com.au

Further information about these programs can be found on their websites or by contacting  Johanna Couchman  johanna.couchman@ecodev.vic.gov.au


Agriculture Victoria

The Agriculture portfolio is supported by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR). The purpose of DEDJTR is to create the conditions to sustainably develop the Victorian economy and grow employment. A strong,
competitive and sustainable economy is vital for Victoria’s future. The Victorian Government has identified the food and fibre sector as one of a number of growth sectors vital to the future economic prosperity of Victoria.

Agriculture Victoria has been created to give greater visibility to the agriculture activities of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR), giving a clear identity to agricultural services and initiatives with the department. The
Agriculture Victoria brand and logo emphasise the clean, green nature of Victoria’s farming produce and will be used to promote the state’s agriculture industry and its world-class farmers.

Agriculture Victoria – Online agronomic extension information

Presented by Johanna Couchman

Despite living in the age of information, having so much to do and so little time presents new challenges every day. Efficiently and effectively sourcing the information you need to know is vital in making informed decisions about agronomic management. Agriculture Victoria and the Grains Research & Development Corporation have continued to invest in a number of initiatives aimed at helping agronomists and industry source the most up-to-date and trusted information, quickly and easily. This interactive discussion will take participants through some key tools available to assist in filtering out the noise and discovering the most relevant, reliable and current information to assist with decision making.              

Agronomy - Agriculture Victoria

Deakin University – Tour of CADET building advanced technologies

Deakin University is one of Australia’s leading applied research universities, with a strong footprint in regional Australia. Ranked #3 in Australia for graduate employability, Deakin’s course curriculum integrates real-world expertise with practical skills to give our students a competitive edge. We lead by creating opportunities to live and work in a connected, evolving world. Our researchers discover innovative solutions to real issues facing the world. Research at Deakin is divided into four themes that advance knowledge, better humanity and preserve our planet. Deakin has an increasing focus on our primary industries, with a strength in the application of cutting edge technologies to our primary industry sectors.

This tour will highlight the potential for new technologies to impact primary industries. Technologies such as virtual reality, 3D printing and energy are increasing playing a role in our primary industries and the application of these technologies is still in its infancy. Combined with artificial intelligence and better data capture and utilisation the possibilities for increasing farm efficiency and profitability are significant. This tour caters for those with an interest in seeing cutting edge technologies that have applicability to primary industries. Further information about Deakin University can be found at http://www.deakin.edu.au/


Murnong Farms

Murnong identified the growing need to meet market and farmer purpose focused lamb production. In this search Murnong travelled to New Zealand to explore genetic blood lines built up over 20 years of selective measurements and breeding. Since this first visit in 2010 Murnong has become Focus Genetics New Zealand’s leading genetic breeding facility in Australia for its Highlander (maternal) and Primera (terminal) prime lamb genetics. With over 2400 live embryos implanted over the past two years this progeny has formed the base of the Murnong genetic breeding facility.

Utilizing advances in cropping systems, farming technology and machinery Murnong’s cropping enterprise is focused on optimising grain production to substantially increase crop yields and reduce costs. Satellite GPS guidance combined with no till technology reduces the carbon foot print and increases efficiency, along with the use of auto steer tractors, controlled traffic, infrared imaging for variable rate fertilizer and seed distribution.

Southern Farming Systems

SFS is one of the largest farming system groups in Victoria and Tasmania, now recognised as a premier source of grower driven independent research, centred on the high rainfall zones of southern Victoria and Tasmania. Our objectives are to research, develop and communicate the best use of resources, new techniques and technologies for more profitable agriculture; with a specific mission to increase farm profitability and sustainability.

We will be presenting data and information about Probe Trax, our network of 60 moisture and temperature probes located across southern Victoria and Tasmania.

Murnong Farming Logo
Probe Trax
Southern Farming Systems

‘The Meadows’

‘The Meadows’ is a mixed livestock/cropping enterprise located just south of Rokewood in Southwest Victoria. Soils in the area tend to be hardsetting and are vulnerable to erosion with basalts forming a significant border. The soils generally have a significant sand component, with clay subsoils or a clay base at depth, and are strongly acidic in the surface and subsurface. These soils generally have a low nutrient holding capacity with some having sodic subsoils, particularly in the poorer drained areas. The soil description accurately describes our sandy soils which is approx 30% of the farm, the other major soil type is a Clay/Loam topsoil and heavy clay subsoil (also Basalt derived and sodic), strongly acidic topsoils but pH increases at depth. This soil is approximately 50% of the farm and the balance of the area (20%) is what I call a transition soil somewhere between the sand and clay/loam soil.

The area has a median annual rainfall of 550mm. The highest median rainfalls recorded in August, September and October.

The property has 400ha of cropping – wheat, canola, lupins, faba beans and oats), wool production shearing 8500 merinos at an average of 17.5micron, and sheep sales – around 1000 wethers, 1400 ewes and 100 rams (including 40 stud rams) annually. Farm Manager, Andrew Whitlock manages soil acidity, sodicity, waterlogging and plant nutrition on the farm through using precision agriculture tools to map and understand soil variability within paddocks.

As well as being the Farm Manager of ‘The Meadows’, Andrew is also a founder of the agribusiness, Precision Agriculture, and currently the Director of Research, Innovation and Product Development. Andrew holds positions on both the board and in the business. He is responsible for delivery of services to farmers, working closely with a team of advisors and technicians to implement site specific crop management.

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The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography david_marland@hotmail.com Southern Farming Systems Agriculture Victoria

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