Talking Farmers in Moorabool Shire

29 March 2016

Farmers in Moorabool Shire are facing increasing challenges in marketing their product and making a living with conventional agriculture. Now more than ever, farmers have to be willing to adapt and keep their business at the cutting edge in a constantly changing environment.

The Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority (PPWCMA), with support from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme, is establishing a new Farmer Discussion Group in the Ballan area. The group will enable local farmers to get together to share experiences and allow innovative ideas to flow.

Prosperity in the wool industry peaked in 1950–51 when the average greasy wool price reached 144.2 pence per pound (equivalent to around $37 per kilogram in today’s prices), compared to the $3.20 per kilogram achieved in mid-2002. Along with a falling price, our wool exports have also dropped.

Despite some growth in wool exports to China and other South East Asian countries over the past decade, wool exports as a contribution to Australia’s total merchandise exports fell from 5.8 per cent in 1991 to 3.0 per cent in 2001. With such a dramatic drop in exports, how do our farmers continue to remain viable?

Innovation and ingenuity has contributed to Australia remaining a significant produce exporter. In 2010–11, 67 per cent of Australia’s wheat production and 57 per cent of the nation’s barley production were exported. Some of this has come through gains in technology, along with farmers becoming more willing to trial new techniques and methods.

PPWCMA’s Sustainable Land Management Coordinator, Anthony Dufty, said, “One example of this is 2015 Bob Hawke National Landcare Award recipient, Colin Seis, who is working with local farmers to trial Pasture Cropping as part of the PPWCMA Sustainable Agriculture project in the Moorabool region”.

The establishment of the Farmer Discussion Group will allow promising new innovations in farming, such as the Pasture Cropping trial, to be quickly evaluated and the information disseminated through the region. It will also enable participants to discuss what innovations should be trialled and which techniques would be most relevant to the Moorabool area.

The Farmer Discussion Group will commence on 19th April 2016. If you wish to learn more about the Farmer Discussion Group please contact Anthony Dufty on 03 9971 6506.

ENDS.

MEDIA CONTACT: Nicole Green, Communications Coordinator – Phone: 03 8781 7900