Written by Susannah Packer
Over the mid-semester university break I was grateful to have been extended the opportunity to participate in a two-week work experience program with the Liebe Group in Dalwallinu. The time I spent there introduced me to the exciting world of grower group innovation, and agricultural research, development and extension.
As part of my involvement with the group, I partook in general administrative roles, such as website, flyer and event publications, and general business management. Alongside this I travelled to Liebe’s numerous trial sites throughout the Northern Agricultural Region (NAR)
and participated in collecting insect, soil and crop data for a number of specific R,D&E
trials that the group was running during that time. I also sat in on a number of meetings with different group committees, and industry bodies, and discussed upcoming trials and learned about the most popular topics of interest, and threats to production, that the local growers kindly shared with me.
Alongside all this, I attend two field walks; one with Nutrien Ag to look at the results of herbicide treatments post-emergence, and the Liebe Group’s own Post-Seeding Field Walk, where growers were able to see current plot trials, and have information on their results so far shared by members of the R&D committee. Both of these were excellent experiences, as I got to see the practical side of R,D&E, and was able to learn a lot about farming practices in the NAR, which differ in many ways from what I am used to seeing in my own area. In addition I got to meet and speak to a number of local growers and industry reps, who’s knowledge and experience added an alternative layer of learning to, and way of looking at, my current understanding of the industry.
During my time with Liebe I learned intricately about regional production challenges and got the chance to discuss farming more broadly with innovative and forward-thinking growers. Concerns such as low rainfall, soil fertility, dry seeding and herbicide resistance came up often, and it was great to watch as solutions and project suggestions were offered in return.
I was most impressed by the attitudes of many of the growers and community members, towards innovation in agriculture and town pride. Though my time here was short, Dalwallinu and the surrounding area is definitely somewhere that I would like to come back to either personally or professionally, and would highly recommend as a place to visit or work in, to those students interested in studying agriculture, sustainability and/ or rural R,D&E. Working towards a stronger future in agriculture is definitely something that I think is valued both at Liebe and in the Dalwallinu community, and I was so pleased to see this, considering it is an important issue to me personally,
I would like to thank Katrina, Danielle and Judy for the opportunity to be involved with the Liebe Group, and creating a fun and educational working environment for me to learn in. These women are great role models to those in the wider industry and are doing an excellent job at representing the genuine opinions and thoughts of local growers. I look forward to seeing what the group achieves in the future.
I’d also like to thank the large number of growers that I was got the chance to speak to over my time in Dalwallinu. Their knowledge and enthusiasm in sharing knowledge and ideas with me, as well as wanting to know about my studies and plans after graduation, added so much personal worth. The Dalwallinu farming community was a delight to be a part of, even for a short-time, and travelling around the region and getting to see some of the landscapes was an excellent and very enjoyable experience for me.