Seminar to offer tips for farmers during upcoming dry season

DRY: Lake Lonsdale Action Group president Ray Howard in the drying lake in 2015. Picture: Samantha Camarri
DRY: Lake Lonsdale Action Group president Ray Howard in the drying lake in 2015. Picture: Samantha Camarri

Ways to improve agricultural productivity during the upcoming dry season will be the topic of discussion at a seminar in Ararat later this month. 

The seminar will spread the message how planning to be proactive instead of reactive is key to remaining productive in a dry season.

Agriculture Victoria livestock extension officer Neil James said producers will speak about ways to manage in the drier months.

“It is important to make plans which could be put into action if the season did turn out to be dry,” he said. 

“It is still a pretty good season but we have had a dry June.”

June had been the driest month sine the 1970s in the region, Bureau of Meteorology figures showed. 

Stawell recorded just four millimetres of rain in June when the expected average was more than 60mm.

Ararat rainfall for the month was 12.2 millimetres, only about 20 per cent of average. 

“Thankfully our district did have rain in April which has carried us through a bit and while we could do with rain, we are not desperate,” Mr James said. 

“But it is always important to be prepared, so you can be proactive on what the season brings, rather than reactive.”

A range of expert speakers will address key topics including nutrition of ewes, lambs and wethers in and out of containment areas, an assessment of the grain market, animal health, water management planning and a climate update by Agriculture Victoria seasonal risk agronomist Dale Grey.

Mr James will be presenting a session on the principles of pastures and grazing management in years of low rainfall.

“Some of the key outcomes from the day will include the ability to calculate the nutritional requirements for livestock, pasture persistence, identifying seasonal health issues, and marketing grain,” he said. 

“The range of topics will provide people with a good reason to come and listen.

“They might come to listen specifically to one speaker but then end up gaining knowledge on a totally different topic.”

Staying Productive and Profitable in Low Rainfall Seasons will be held at the Ararat Chalambar Golf Club on July 25 from 10am-3pm.

The event, also held in conjunction with the Glenelg Hopkins CMA, is free and lunch will be provided.

Contact Agriculture Victoria’s Neil James on neil.james@ecodev.vic.gov.au or 0417 363 929 to register.