More than 50 pasture managers from CRT member stores across Australia caught up on the
latest pasture breeding research, product and technical innovations at an inaugural two day
National Pasture Meeting in Albury in September.
The meeting provided an invaluable opportunity for sharing ideas, knowledge and experience
between CRT personnel from geographically diverse farming regions, with support from
industry experts and product specialists.
Proceedings were kick-started with an informal dinner, where participants could touch
base with old contacts and establish new networks, followed by a two day program, which
included a field day at Heritage Seeds Research Farm at Howlong.
Presentations during the event covered pest, disease and pasture management techniques
delivered by key suppliers including Dow AgroSciences, Nufarm, Crop Care and PGG Wrightson
Heritage Seeds National Sales and Marketing Manager, Dale Skepper, was thrilled to be given
the opportunity to work with CRT to showcase the company’s investment and commitment
to research and development.
The meeting also provided an opportunity to introduce the Pasture Improvement Initiative
(PII) — an industry collaboration supported by CRT, Nufarm, Heritage Seeds, Crop Care and
PGG Wrightson Seeds, which aims to boost the productivity of Australia’s pasture and livestock
For experienced pasture agronomist Brenden Green, Roberts Limited, Tasmania, there was
enormous value in coming together with peers from across the country. “Opportunities like
this always bring a host of benefits,” Brenden said. “I was able to catch up with a broad
range of people and it is always good to brush up on product and technical developments.
“It was great to see what is coming through the pasture breeding programs — there is
nothing better than being able to compare pasture varieties in the field, side-by-side.”
Rose Beyer, agronomist at Hoogies of Yarra Glen (VIC), revelled in meeting CRT members
from across the country. “Building a stronger professional network was a key benefit from
the meeting for me. In fact over the two days I met staff from two of our closest CRT stores
and we discussed the opportunity to increase stock efficiencies — it was an unexpected but
exciting outcome for me,’’ she said.
Bryn Rees, from Taralga Rural (NSW), found the discussion around on-farm decision making
invaluable. “Farmers are clearly hesitant to invest in pasture inputs, where the benefits are
often hard to measure — they are understandably very cost-focused — and we need to find a
way to better articulate the significant returns they can achieve through strategic investment
and ongoing management” Bryn said.
Graeme McInness, Manager, Murray Valley Rural Services, Yarrawonga (VIC) and his team
face similar challenges in terms of helping clients understand the value proposition of
investing in inputs.
Four of Graeme’s staff members, including a mix of agronomists and store managers,
attended the meeting and were positive about the program.
“We have recently set up an animal production group for our clients, with a key focus on
increasing production and profitability — so the meeting was very timely for us,’’ he said.
“The principles-based information delivered by the PII team highlighted for our staff the key
areas that drive pasture and animal production. Our agronomists can now develop a platform
to work closely with their clients and make more informed decisions to improve their bottom