BEING able to successfully increase on-farm storage capacity has seen Talbingo Pastoral Company become a fully-integrated farming enterprise.
Owned and run by Robert and Anne Bridle, together with Robert’s parents, John and Jill, Talbingo’s cropping and livestock property is located south-west of Dalby in Queensland.
The farm spans 12,146 hectares, of which a total of 6073ha is cropped to dryland winter and summer crops.
In winter, they grow wheat, oats and chickpeas, while summer crops include sorghum and forage sorghum.
The livestock program involves breeding and backgrounding cattle, with all grain grown on the farm put through a 3000-head capacity feedlot.
Cattle are fed for an average of 100 days using a feed mix blended by a nutritionist. It is based on half white grain and half red grain to fit in with the farm’s cropping program.
The home-bred cattle herd comprises 5000 Santa Gertrudis cattle, including 2500 cows.
According to Robert, on-farm storage had always been fraught with pest problems in the past, forcing them to sell grain and buy it back in to put through the feedlot.
Thankfully, they have been able to get a handle on the issue, which means they can now store their winter and summer grain for feed and seed.
“I haven’t sold any grain off-farm for about five years now, and it’s all kept and put through the feedlot,” Robert said.
“We store up to 10,000 tonnes of grain at different periods of the year, in a combination of elevated storage, flatbed silos, grain sheds and grain packs.
“We’re able to utilise all our own grain, which is more economical and also gives us full control over the quality of the grain being used in the feedlot.”
He said introducing the grain protectant Conserve On-Farm, from Dow AgroSciences, had given them total control of pests in their grain storage and the flexibility to store grain for longer.
“With the old chemistry we were using for grain protection, we weren’t able to hold grain for a long period of time, so we were having to sell it and then buy grain back in for the feedlot.’’
“We were having big problems, particularly with lesser grain borer.”
Conserve On-Farm has three active ingredients to control all major insect pests of stored grain, including the resistant lesser grain borer.
It provides six to nine months of control and, with a nil withholding period, maximises grain marketing flexibility.
It’s applied in a two-part process, with the combination of Part A (chlorpyrifos-methyl plus s-methoprene) and Part B (spinosad) providing complete control of all common stored grain insect pests.
The Bridles began using Conserve On-Farm when it was released in 2013, after Robert initially read about the product in the media and it was then recommended by his local CRT store, Dalby Rural Supplies.
Robert works closely with the store’s agronomist, Andrew Johnston, who said Conserve On-Farm had become a vital tool for growers throughout the district.
“In the last few seasons we’ve grown a lot of summer and winter cereals and many growers tend to carry seed over, so Conserve On-Farm has really revolutionised how we can control grain storage pests, particularly lesser grain borer,” Andrew said.
“Previously with products, we’ve had residual issues, but Conserve On-Farm has no withholding period. It allows growers from a range of mixed farming operations, a lot more flexibility.
“We’ve always been quite limited with chemistry we can use for grain protection, but now we’ve got more variability with what products we can use, so we can rotate to avoid resistance.”
Robert said Conserve On-Farm was not only very effective in protecting their grain, but it was also easy to use.
He said they applied it straight onto the grain through an auger, via a 12-volt spray system at the base of the auger.
“The auger acts as the mixing device, so it’s very easy,” Robert said.
“Not having any withholding periods is also a bonus for us, so we can use the grain as soon as we need it, without having to worry.
“We haven’t had any weevil outbreaks since we’ve been using Conserve (On-Farm). It’s a set and forget system for us at the moment.”
He said the biggest issue was typically with their stored seed grain, which was stored for longer than grain used in the feedlot.
“We’ve still got about 600t of wheat on-hand that was harvested in October last year and it hasn’t got a single weevil on it.’’
“That is in an aerated silo, which helps, but Conserve (On-Farm) has still played a big part.”
This year they have introduced another product into the mix, as Robert said they were mindful of the importance of chemical rotation to reduce the risk of resistance.
“For longevity, there’s a price, and I think that’s how everyone needs to look at it,” he said.
Farmers should also be aware that a new product, Conserve Plus, will be available this harvest as well. This product will be able to be used on all grains, including malt barley and maize.
For further information on Conserve On-Farm and Conserve Plus, growers can contact Dalby Rural Supplies on (07) 4660 0400 or their nearest CRT store.