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Ag News

New lab facility for Birchip Cropping Group

  • By: "Prime" Ag News
  • Jun 30, 2018

BCG will celebrate the official opening of a new laboratory facility in Birchip on Wednesday 4 July, further enhancing the facilities located in Cumming Avenue.  

Dr Steve Jefferies, Managing Director of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), will officially open the facility which was generously supported by the organisation and by in-kind and monetary donations from BCG members.  

The building will enable BCG staff to analyse the high volume of soil, plant material and grain samples processed from the extensive BCG research program. This means results will be delivered to Mallee, Wimmera and growers further afield more efficiently as the space to conduct activities nearly doubles in size.  

Construction was managed by local business, Noonan Builders, and landscaping was conducted by Mallee Landscapes. Local employment opportunities are expected to increase, particularly during peak seasonal periods such as sowing and harvest, and the building has been designed with functionality in mind.  

BCG operations manager, James Murray, says the facility has been designed according to workflow.  

“A central driveway allows for easier loading and unloading of samples” he said.  

“Importantly, this helps us keep samples out of the weather and will improve the work environment for staff.”

Specialist equipment housed in the facility will support activities including seed packing, soil sampling, dry matter assessment of crop material and grain testing.  

BCG research sites extend up to 230km from Birchip and are managed from the office and laboratory facility located in Birchip. A team of agricultural research and extension staff are responsible for the planning, sowing, spraying, spreading and assessment of approximately 11,000 individual plots sown annually.  

“Most of our trials are on land generously donated by local farmers for the growing season,” Mr Murray said.  

“This year, the main research site is situated at Peter and Jenny Jolly’s property at Narraport, east of Birchip, but trials are managed at sites as far as Mildura and Horsham, or Nhill and Kaniva” he added.  

Two other events will also be held on Wednesday 4 July.  

Hosted by ORM and partnering with BCG, the GRDC Farm Business Updates are a great opportunity for growers from the region to gather farm business management practices such as grain marketing and succession planning in the grains industry. The event starts at 8.30am at the Birchip Community Leisure Centre and registration is encouraged via the GRDC website

Immediately following the GRDC Farm Business Update, BCG will host an Industry Crop Walk following the success of previous events attracting up to 100 advisors and growers. The Industry Field Day will tour the research trial site at Kevin and Owen Reid’s property at Kinnabulla from 1.45pm to see the practical application of the latest products from industry representatives.