New course takes a big picture approach to change in Victoria

25 February 2016

Livestock producers across Victoria who are looking to make strategic changes to their operation are encouraged to participate in a new training program that takes a big-picture approach to improving profitability and sustainability. 
The Whole Farm Grazing Strategies (WFGS) program has been developed by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and Victoria’s Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR).
The course takes a new approach to extension and adoption, and will be conducted by an approved trainer over two years, in six or seven one-day sessions each year.
In Victoria, nine trainers have been approved so far to run the course, with groups comprising 10 to 15 producers and each session held at a different farm location.
The sessions are structured around seven themes:

    • Pastures for extensive livestock
    • Soils and landclass
    • Livestock: Strategies to address production, environmental and lifestyle requirements
    • The nuts and bolts of grazing management
    • Tactical management to balance feed demand and supply
    • Making on-farm strategic change
    • Producer presentations of change on-farm

    MLA Livestock Productivity General Manager Dr Jane Weatherley said the program delivers information, tools and decision-making processes from the EverGraze project and other related programs.
    “The program recognises that every farm is unique and producers need to decide the solutions they need to be more profitable and make life easier,” Dr Weatherley said.
    “Different options are discussed throughout the course, and through group discussion, farm walks and presentation of experimental results, producers decide the best option for their farm.”
    AWI Program Manager, Fibre Advocacy and Eco Credentials, Angus Ireland, said the program is mutually beneficial for livestock producers and the environment.
    “The training package helps livestock producers prioritise what part of their operation they want to work on and give mutually beneficial outcomes for their business and the planet,” Mr Ireland said. 
    “Training programs like the WFGS that bring livestock producers together in one space are valuable in providing them with the opportunity to network and learn from each other.”
    DEDJTR Director of Agriculture Services, Dougal Purcell, said a pilot of the WFGS course showed that producers improved their skills and knowledge by 47 per cent and improved their confidence to make improvements on their farm by 48 per cent.
    “Some of the changes that producers implemented included improved grazing management practices, setting up rotational grazing systems, more informed financial budgeting and growing improved perennial species to increase production,” Mr Purcell said.
    “This course can make a real difference to on-farm profitability".

    For more information please contact your local trainer.

    In Victoria, course deliverers are:

             Andrew Speirs
             Meridian Agriculture, Casterton, VIC
             0428 685 172

             Graham Lean
             Agrivet Business Consulting, Hamilton, VIC
             0428 838 262

             Tim Leeming
             Paradoo Consult, Pigeon Ponds, VIC
             0427 797 242

             Stuart Warner
             AGristology, Beechworth, VIC
             0438 331 768

             Lisa Warn
             McKinnon Group, Werribee, VIC
             0418 748 607

             John Bowman
             DEDJTR, Leongatha, VIC
             0429 196 337

             Laura Garland
             DEDJTR, Hamilton, VIC
             0400 580 844

             James Whale
             Meridian Agriculture, Casterton, VIC
             0428 374 046

             Suzanne Briggs
             DEDJTR, Rutherglen, VIC
             0400 884 813

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