Pinot in the Paddock
On a lovely afternoon in late August, the women of Liebe came together at the Hyde Family Farm to acquaint themselves with the Liebe Group’s Main Trial Site for the first “Pinot in the Paddock” field walk.
The field walk was conceived by the Liebe Group Women’s Committee with the aim of building the capacity and confidence of less experienced members to understand how trials are conducted and what they can show. It is hoped that this event will become an annual forum to support further learning for all individuals in our member’s farming businesses.
The afternoon started with host farmer Matt Hyde providing some history of his family farm and his experiences this year with the Main Trial Site. Matt is the son of Jane and Harry who has been back farming on the property for two years now, after completing his agriculture degree.
The Hyde family run a 100% broadacre cropping enterprise focusing on the primary crops of wheat, barley, canola and lupins, with smaller areas of alternate crops. They farm several blocks with a range of soil types, but the paddocks hosting the Main Trial Site is primarily heavy clay soils with high alkaline pHs and sodicity issues.
Matt enjoyed the season, despite the busy year with a few hiccups and said “there is nothing better than seeing how trials work on your own property; there is nothing more relevant and it has been amazing to have the site here this year”.
Dylan Hirsch, Latham grower and chair of the Liebe Group’s Research and Development Committee continued the day with a rundown of the how and why trials are run. It was explained that trials are conducted to showcase new products and practices to evaluate how their implementation may perform at a grower level. They provide relevant and relatable local results to be used as a decision making tool for farming enterprises.
Trial partners work alongside farmers and groups such as Liebe Group to provide more rigorous data that can be quantified more clearly, and with less chance of false or misleading results. This is done by conducting the trial on uniform sites, with as little variation as possible, and using several replications of treatments to confirm results are actually due to the treatments and not natural variation.
As Dylan said “would you buy something, just because the man selling it said it would help” which led to a resounding NO from the ladies present. This is where trials come in, as an unbiased information source showing exactly what, and how much, benefit a product or practice may bring.
CSBP Agronomist Angus McAlpine then walked the women through his trial on nitrogen strategies for winter wheat, providing background and the aim of the research. The trial aims to investigate nitrogen rates and long season wheat, in what has been an ideal season for that variety choice. Long season, or winter wheat, is wheat that will not progress from vegetative to reproductive growth until a cold requirement has been met, meaning it can be planted earlier and still reach maturity at the optimal time.
The trial is looking to quantify if this option allows for increased yield due to the longer growing period. The visuals of the different crops were very striking, with shorter season varieties already being fully mature whilst the longer season wheat varieties were still producing heads.
The day concluded with a more informal discussion over some delicious wine and food catered by the Old Covent, as the ladies enjoyed the chance to ask as many questions as they liked about any and all aspects of farming and trials.
Narelle Dodd said “it was a great event, and I think we should have one every year”, with Jane Hyde adding, “it was great to learn a bit more about the trials after watching them all season”.
Thanks to our Diamond partners CSBP and Rabobank for supporting and attending the event, it was a brilliant opportunity to engage with trials in a different way.