LONGERENONG College students and Wimmera farmers had the opportunity to hear from a leading international soil farmer on Wednesday.
South Dakota’s Rick Bieber spoke at the college as part of his Australian tour.
Victorian No-Till Farmers Association, the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority and the college joined forces for the talk.
Association executive officer Kerry Grigg said Mr Bieber’s visit was a great opportunity for students.
“We were pleased to be able to offer second-year agriculture students the chance to hear from a soil health expert,” she said.
Mr Bieber has been zero-till for more than 30 years.
He took his farm at Trail City back from the bank and built a multi-million dollar crop and cattle operation through good soil care.
His crops consistently yield well-above the district average.
Mr Bieber grows more than 2000 hectares of cash crops including wheat, sunflowers, corn, alfalfa, peas and linseed.
He also grows cover crop mixtures of warm and cool season broadleaves and grasses.
He runs 600 head of cows-calves on more than 2000 hectares of rangeland.
“Rick has spoken all the around the world, including the US and Canada,” Ms Grigg said.
“His story and his journey on the farm and want he has learnt relates to what the students are being taught at the college in regards to best practices.
“So his information complemented their studies.”
Ms Grigg said Mr Bieber spoke about water-use efficiency, reduction in input costs and increasing profitability.
“The presentation went for two and a half hours and students had the opportunity to ask questions,” she said.
Mr Bieber joins a swag of other international guests who have spoken at Victorian No-Till Farmers Association events in the past 12 months.
“We are the only group that consistently brings high quality speakers to the region,” Ms Grigg said.
“If we want the agriculture industry to progress, we have to bring out people that can encourage growers to try different ideas.
“Growers can learn something from these speakers, and in turn, the speakers can learn things from us that they can take back home with them.”
The Victorian No-Till Farmers Association conference will be on July 13.
“We will have another group of international growers scheduled to talk at this event,” she said.
The Wimmera Catchment Management Authority funded the session at Longerenong on Wednesday.