Dookie Diary: Farmers are forward thinkers

Farmers are interested in sustainability and enduring profitability, with a particular emphasis on regenerative production systems, writes Dookie campus Professor in Residence Timothy Reeves in September’s Dookie Diary.

Dookie Diary is a regular column Professor Reeves writes for the Country News supplement, which is distributed with papers in northern Victoria and southern New South Wales. He spoke at a range of rural events in August, and made two farm visits.

“It appears that the vast majority of producers aspire to greater sustainability but are unsure of how to achieve it whilst remaining profitable,” he writes.

The key points he emphasised in response were:

  • Greater diversification on farms to include a wider range of crops, legume-based pastures, livestock, shrubs and trees
  • More emphasis on getting legumes and biological nitrogen fixation into our systems from both forages and pulses
  • More attention to the importance of potash, sulphur and micronutrients as well as nitrogen and phosphorus, in building soil organic matter
  • More attention to integrated weed and pest management with more judicious use of herbicides and pesticides
  • Greater water use-efficiency
  • Greater attention to the inclusion of more efficient crops, forages and livestock – for input use, stress tolerance, water and others.
Dookie Professor in Residence Timothy Reeves and former Chief Scientist Professor Robin Batterham.

August at the Dookie agricultural campus also saw a visit from Australia’s former Chief Scientist, Professor Robin Batterham.

Professors Reeves and Batterham (pictured right) discussed soil carbon sequestration, and Professor Reeves arranged a session for graduate researchers and supervisors at the campus to meet with Professor Batterham.

Professor Batterham was on the University of Melbourne Council for six years and joined the Melbourne School of Engineering as Kernot Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in 2010.

Banner image: Professors Reeves and Batterham with graduate researchers and staff at Dookie campus.