Proserpine Young Farmers

 Proserpine Young Farmers is a group for young people involved in the agriculture industry in the Proserpine district.    

We are planning a range of activities to improve our knowledge and share our ideas with each other.

If you are under 40 and interested in joining. Please contact Molly O'Dea on 0439 619 082.

Like our page on Facebook for updates - "Proserpine Young Farmers" 

https://www.facebook.com/proserpineyoungfarmers/    

Jeppesen Farm Tour

Proserpine Young Farmers (PYF) recently headed to Tony Jeppesen’s property at Bloomsbury for their latest farm tour. Tony explained his diverse farming business which includes cane farming and a range of contracting.

 

Tony and Jake kindly gave up their Sunday to share their knowledge of OptiSurface and other farming practices. OptiSurface is a powerful analysis and design software for designing agriculture paddocks to allow precision surface drainage. Jeppesen Farming uses this program for designing paddocks for levelling both on their own farm and as contractors for other farmers. It was clear the importance of proper drainage for good production. It's more high tech than the old laser levelling in one straight line! Many members were very interested in this technology and understanding the process in more depth.

 

It was interesting to hear how the Jeppesen farm has changed over the years to continually work on the most limiting factor to production which started with irrigation, then drainage, pH and now overall soil health. Tony is beginning to increase fallow length and looking to grow a wider range of crops include legumes and cereals in the fallow to improve soil health and overall profitability.

After significant rainfall the night before we were unable to access parts of the property. However, Tony was able to show us several pump sheds and discuss water harvesting, irrigation and shared some tips on tariffs.

A big thank you to Tony and Jake!! We really appreciate you spending your Sunday helping share your knowledge with PYF!

DAF Pesticide Workshop

Recently Jack and Blairy from DAF held a pesticide work shop for PYF. We covered the different types of pesticides, modes of action and how they work, spray drift, herbicide resistance, nozzles, regulation, labels and safety. We also got to see different nozzle spray patterns using UV light at dark.

Can you guess the 5 herbicides Molly sprayed (1st photo - 6 days since spraying)?

-Paraquat, Diuron, Glyphosate, 2,4-D, isoxaflutole.

Big thanks to Jack and Blairy for coming all the way to Proserpine from South Johnstone to teach us!

We hope to see them again in Proserpine for another workshop soon.

Wilmar Pricing and Marketing Sessions

Angus from Wilmar has been hosting pricing and marketing sessions for PYF.

 

Our first session was an introduction to the world of sugar marketing.

 

We recently had our second session where we focused on the basics of sugar futures.

 

For our third session we were put to work and had to get the calculators out to practice using grower portal data to calculate how many tonnes you will be paid for. We also met Shirley Norris who is joining the Wilmar marketing team in Proserpine.

 

We hope to be able to better understand pricing and marketing of sugar to be in the best position to maximise returns. 

Thanks to Angus McKerrow and Wilmar for taking the time to teach us (and feed us!).

Burdekin Trip Dec 2019

On Friday we went to SRA and learnt some tips and tricks about irrigation efficiency from Gavan Lamb and checked out plant breeding with Catherine, chatted with Alex Olsen from Autoweed about green-on-green spray technology and went to the grand opening of a new irrigation company Irrigation Efficiency Solutions.

On Saturday we visited Dennis Pozzebon who has automated his irrigation across his farm. He was able to turn on and off pumps, and change flow rate at a touch of a button on his iPad. Steve Attard from Agritech Solutions met us a Dennis' and talked about irrigation efficiency and automation options.

Damon and Chris Hesp have a lateral irrigator and plenty of green machines, they chatted to us about their farming system and things they have been trying over the years including reducing tillage and green cane trash blanketing.

Heath Salter also has automated irrigation on his farm which he chatted to us about. We also were able to see rice and soybeans being grown in rotation with cane.

We stopped off to see a pump station in the Burdekin River where they pump water up into one of the channels which is part of the Burdekin River Irrigation Area (BRIA).

On Sunday we were able to see sub-surface drainage being installed at Armin Wessel's. Armin also chatted to us about how he has improved his productivity dramatically in the last 5 years.

We stopped in at MH Premium Farms where manager, Andrew Cross, discussed their farming system, showed us some machinery, including a 5 row fertiliser box. Andrew grows grains in the cane fallow, and has substantial grain storage and drying facilities.

Paul Villis kindly hosted us for a sausage sizzle lunch on Sunday and talked to us about his farming system. Paul also grows grain crops, including mung and soy beans, has his own grain header and grain storage facilities. He has also built his own liquid fertiliser machine which applied dunder sub-surface.

 

On Monday we had a tour of Pacific Reef Fisheries prawn farm. Wayne explained the whole process to of growing and harvesting prawns. No one had been to a prawn farm so it was really interesting. They are trialling a bioremediation facility where waste water is pumped through a system with algae which uptake the nutrients. The algae can be harvested and exported off site for a range of uses.

 

Our last stop was to chat with Bryan Granshaw at vantage BMS about Trimble's range of precision ag products and services. Bryan focused on Trimble's SIS (Soil Information System) product, which was really interesting especially with many of us looking to move more into precision agriculture and variable rate.

Big thanks to all the farmers, Wayne from Pacific Reef Fisheries, Bryan from Vantage BMS, Alex from Autoweed, Steve from Agritech Solutions and SRA staff for showing us around and teaching us all something new.

Farm Tour at Justin's

A group of young people involved in the agriculture industry near Proserpine have come together to form Proserpine Young Farmers (PYF). The group aims to provide a channel for under 40s involved and interested in agriculture to come together to share, learn and connect. The group has been successful in obtaining funding through the Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Enhanced Extension Coordination in the GBR Project. Through this funding, the group is planning a variety of farm tours to learn about a range of different practices. We want to see how others tackle issues, come up with solutions and improve their businesses, both profitability and sustainability. This includes several tours to local farms, one tour to the Burdekin in December 2019 with a focus on automated irrigation, and one tour to the Mackay region in Autumn 2020 focusing on fallow management. We also have a range of other activities in the pipeline including pricing and marketing workshops with Wilmar, and business and succession planning workshops.

 

Recently the group visited PYF member, Justin Blair’s, farm. This farm is BMP accredited, growing cane on 1.8m beds with dual rows. We looked at his sprayer which he has been trialling switching nozzles on/off to allow him to band spray and blanket spray. We also viewed his bed former, wavy discs, and fertiliser box which he has installed cameras on to allow him to view the inside of the box from the tractor, and Stool Zippas to help close the slot and prevent fertiliser loss. Justin also has a range of other things happening on the farm, including having an Enviroscan capacitance probe and tensiometer installed by local productivity services, Sugar Services Proserpine, to help learn more about irrigation requirements and soil moisture. SRA, as part of the Pathways to Water Quality Improvement in the Myrtle Creek Subcatchment project, has just installed water quality samplers in one of Justin’s paddocks. Justin has applied Bobcat i-MAXX herbicide as a band spray on part of the paddock and as a blanket spray on the other part to see the difference in water quality run-off during the coming wet season. The Blair’s are also diversifying and have a native Australian fingerlime business, Myrtlevale Fingerlimes. We were lucky enough to taste test the fingerlimes as we learnt about the process they have gone through, including trialling several varieties. The group is looking forward to being involved in more activities to help improve our Knowledge and our industry. 

© 2023 by Sugar Services Proserpine. 

Paul Villis

Overhead low pressure sprinkler irrigation