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Stirlings to Coast Farmers active projects for 2018

“Paddock to Plate” value chain for SCF noodle wheat: R4R

Project date: March 2016 – March 2019

Stirlings to Coast Farmers (SCF) believe that high quality noodle wheat can be produced in the southern high rainfall zone (sHRZ) with mean annual rainfall >450mm. SCF together with Intergrain, Farmanco, DPIRD and AEGIC, are looking to prove that noodle wheat grown in sHRZ is of the same quality as noodle wheat grown in the drier, traditional wheat belt of WA. Due to our “normal” growing season being wetter and longer than the wheatbelt, SCF farmers have the potential to produce high quality Udon Noodles on a consistent basis which will ensure continuity of supply into markets. This will be achieved by creating a sHRZ specific, noodle wheat production package for farmers. A tailored production package will help farmers reach ANW1 specifications on a more consistent basis whilst also encouraging more growers to plant noodle wheat. Noodle wheat can provide greater longer-term diversity and options for crop rotations in the southern HRZ. This could be a lifesaver as the current dominant rotation of canola-barley is under threat with disease and chemical resistance.

Project aims include:

  • Foster a reliable production hub for maintaining the continuity of supply and quality of Udon noodle wheat from the lower Great Southern region of WA.

  • Establish relationships with overseas noodle manufacturers as result of exchange visits and product testing with the assistance of relevant Australian grain marketing agencies.

  • Undertake three years of trials to develop and test variety specific Noodle Wheat production packages that increase quantity and quality and reduce downgrade risk for WA growers.

  • Investigate alternative uses for ANW e.g. Great Southern Branded Noodle. SCF Noodle wheat production packages could develop Noodle wheat in these zones with specific qualities that could be branded or at least recognised by customers.

2018 Small plot replicated trial

1.       Variety trial (10 treatments) with two times of harvest located at west Kendenup.

2018 Farmer scale replicated variety trials

1.       Jon Beasley- Frankland (four varieties)
2.       Anthony Hall- West Kendenup (four varieties)
3.       Tony Slattery- Gnowellen (four varieties)

Partners: Intergrain and AEGIC
Main researcher: Nathan Dovey

SCF Specialist Feed Wheat Hub - fit for purpose non-milling wheat: R4R

Project date: March 2016 – June 2019

Traditionally feed wheat grain production has not been a priority to farmers in the southern high rainfall zone (sHRZ) due to lower gross margins per hectare in comparison to barley and canola. Motivation to investigate other crops has come from an over reliance on the canola-barley rotation which is starting to create problems with fungicide resistance and herbicide resistance, to a lesser degree. SCF want to investigate if certain feed wheat varieties have quality characteristics that allowed them to be mixed with milling wheats thus allowing growers to capture a premium price over feed wheat.

Another aspect of the project is to investigate the yield performance of long-season wheat varieties, usually feed grade, in comparison to commonly grown wheat varieties in the SCF membership base. It is hypothesized that long-season wheats with the correct agronomy will provide greater yields than wheat sown in the traditional window which would partially off-set the discount in price.

The final characteristic, of long-season wheats, that SCF want to explore is to ascertain if they are better suited to grazing in comparison to spring wheats sown in the “normal” sowing window. It is thought that long season wheat can be sown earlier, when the season permits, to produce greater biomass and an alternative feed source for livestock. Long season wheats need to be sown earlier to achieve their yield potential. This trait means that sHRZ may be better able to utilize early seasonal breaks, by starting the seeding program earlier, when traditional varieties of wheat, barley or canola can’t be sown because of overexposure to frost risk.

Project aims include:

  • Undertake three years of trials to develop a sHRZ long-season wheat agronomy production package.

  • Expand and pursue new marketing opportunities for production of “non-milling wheat / (HQ) feed wheat” and with project partners, develop relationships and links through the supply/value chains.

  • Gain improved rotational diversity for Stirlings to Coast Farmers by adding another profitable crop that is comparable in profit to the traditionally favored barley and canola.

  • Investigate the potential of using long-season wheats for grazing purposes to increase the autumn stocking rates of SCF farmers

2018 Small plot replicated trial

1.       Variety trial: 12 Varieties by two times of seeding- Kendenup
Farmer host: Iain Mackie

2018 Farmer scale replicated variety trials

1.       Curwen family- South Stirlings (4 varieties)
2.       Lynch family- Perillup (6 varieties)
3.       Hood family- Kojaneerup (6 varieties)
4.       Slade family- West Kendenup (6 varieties)

Partners: DowAgrosciences, Australian Grains Technology (AGT) and Longreach Plant breeders
Main researcher: Nathan Dovey

Soil Health Projects

1.       Goad family- Kojaneerup (Deep ripping site)- Funding DPIRD

2.       Curwen family- South Stirlings (Deep ripping site)- Original funding DPIRD. Self-funded in 2018

3.       Wood family- Kendenup (Nil disturbance seeding systems site)- Original funding SCNRM. Self-funded in 2018.

4.       Mackie family- Kendenup (Long term lime sources trial)- Original funding SCNRM. Self-funded in 2018.

5.       Chris Tomlinson- East Tenterden (Long term lime amelioration strategies for hostile sub-soils)- Original funding from SCNRM. Self-funded in 2018.

6.       Preston family- West Cranbrook. Phosphorous responses on forest gravel soil types. Self-funded

Main researchers: Nathan Dovey and John Blake

eConnected: weather station and decision support tools:  funder DPIRD

 MLA Producer Demonstration Sites - funder MLA

1.       Curwen family- Grain and Graze demonstration -South Stirlings

2.       Slade family- eID usage in their sheep stud program – West Kendenup

3.       Hood family- grain and graze with long-season dual purpose wheats -Kojaneerup

4.       Jarrad Beech- grain and graze with grazing oats. – West Kendenup

Main researcher: Nathan Dovey
NB: Trial sites at Curwen’s and Hood’s are also part of our long-season dual purpose wheat project.

Grain processing Co-operative and Feedlot proposal: Royalties for Regions

Seeking to capitalise on high value commodity markets and value-added food production opportunities, the Stirlings to Coast Farmers group (SCF) have embarked on a new initiative to establish a farmer’s co-operative in the Great Southern region of WA.


Federal government’s “Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration Pilot Program” working on a feedlot feasibility project.

State government grant through Grower Group R & D fund for work on a feasibility project for a grain processing facility and farmer-owned co-operative enterprise. 

Each of these projects commenced in August 2017 and are operating concurrently together.

Main researcher: Christine Kershaw

GRDC: Ripper Gauge project for the Albany Port zone: PROC-9176109

1.       Josh Goad- Kojaneerup -Stirlings to Coast

2.       Leon Squibb- Tambellup -Stirlings to Coast

3.       Paul Duffield- Darkan -Southern Dirt

4.       Craig Bignall- Broomehill -Southern Dirt

Funded by GRDC’s Regional Cropping Solutions Network.

Partners: DPIRD, West Midlands Group, Southern Dirt Group
Main researcher: Nathan Dovey (SCF) and Emma Russell (SD)

 GRDC: Demonstrations of legumes crops for reliable profitability in the western region: PROC-9176077

1.       Simon Hilder- Frankland, SCF

2.       Rob Ladyman-Broomehill, SD

3.       Mark Slattery- Kojaneerup, SCF

Funded by GRDC’s Regional Cropping Solutions Network.

Partners: Southern Dirt
Main researchers: Nathan Dovey (SCF) and Emma Russell (SD)

 GRDC: Snails, Slugs and Slaters in Western Australia: Case studies of growers in WA’s southern coastal region: PROC-9175494

SCF have been commissioned to produce a booklet of 20 case studies of farmers in the southern coastal region highlighting practical solutions they use to control or eradicate snails, slugs and slaters on their farms.

Funded by GRDC’s Regional Cropping Solutions Network.
Main researcher: Alaina Smith

GRDC: Summer cropping Demonstrations in the western region: PROC-9175518

This project is being lead by Southern Dirt. Stirlings to Coast have been asked to host one trial site in 2018-19. The site has not been selected yet but will more than likely be located at Perillup.

Funded by GRDC’s Regional Cropping Solutions Network.
Main researcher: Emma Russell (SD) and Nathan Dovey (SCF)

GRDC: Optimising Timing and Rate of Nitrogen Application in Waterlogging Conditions: PROC-9176138

This project is being led by Southern Dirt. Stirlings to Coast have been asked to host one trial site in 2018-19. The site has not been selected yet but will more than likely be in the Green Range or Manypeaks regions close to Albany.

Funded by GRDC’s Regional Cropping Solutions Network.
Main researcher: Emma Russell (SD) and Nathan Dovey (SCF)

SCF Regional brand and traceability project

SCF have partnered with MLA and Melbourne-based start-up company, Aglive to trial their IntegriPro livestock traceability system on 20 local farms in early 2018. SCF have sheep and cattle producers across the lower Great Southern region participating in field trials to test the Aglive system and adapt this technology to local market specifications that need verification throughout supply chain.

SCF partners: MLA and Aglive
Main researcher: Kelly Gorter and Christine Kershaw

GPS Tracking collars for sheep and cattle

SCF have partnered with Iotag Ltd Pty to investigate the use of GPS tracking collars on grazing beef and sheep in a 4 month trial commencing September 2018. The project is co-funded by MLA Donor Company and will look for benefits of remotely managing livestock by monitoring grazing patterns and behaviour, animal location and ‘Multi-species grazing’- grazing sheep and beef in a single paddock.   The trial will aim to evaluate the effectiveness of using a GPS collar to improve grazing efficiency and its potential to produce high quality meat.

SCF partners: MLA and IoTAG

Future Farmers Student Connect Project

Stirlings to Coast Farmers have recently partnered with the National Landcare Program (NLP) to develop and deliver a Future Farmers Student Connect Pilot Program. This project aims to create connections between agricultural professionals and agriculture students through sustainable farming innovation demonstrations, lectures and mentoring. Some of the activities included in the project are:

- Helping organise and orchestrate talks, practical demonstrations and field walk opportunities for students
- Free SCF Young Farmers memberships
- Cross school field events and trial site visits with local innovative farmers
- Aid in the development of work experience, career advice and mentoring connections for students, between both our staff and our members and contacts
- SCF sponsored annual Leadership Award for an outstanding student
- Establishment of a demonstration site at the school

SCF partner: NLP2
Project leaders: Kathi McDonald and Sammy Lubcke