All field trips will be held on Thursday 28 September departing from Mercure Ballarat at 08:30 and returning to Mercure Ballarat.

A briefing will be held for all Field Trip attendees in the Eureka Ballroom, Mercure Ballarat at 8:00am. 

The field tour ‘Risk Management through Diversification’ will be routed through Melbourne Airport arriving at 15:00 (3pm) before continuing to Ballarat and arriving at 16:30 (4.30pm). Delegates may elect to choose this tour if they want to attend a field tour and fly out of Melbourne that afternoon.

All other tours will return to Ballarat at 15:30 (3.30pm).

The field trips can be booked when registering for the conference, or you can log back into your account at a later time to add a trip.

Tours cost $90pp. All tours are subject to minimum and maximum numbers.

Take a few moments to watch the following video on Farm Biosecurity.

Help to keep our crops and livestock free from disease, pests and weeds.

Field Tours

Tour 1 – Creative Solutions

The High Rainfall Zone in southern Victoria is a region with potential for high yielding crop and pastures.  However, to make use of the high rainfall and long seasons farmers need to overcome the challenges of hostile subsoils, heavy clays, acid soils, pests and diseases.  This field tour will visit cropping field trails and innovative farms that are finding creative and practical ways of overcoming the challenges and to capture the potential.

08:00 Field Trip Briefing – Eureka Ballroom, Mercure Ballarat
08:30 Depart Mercure Ballarat for Goldacres
Arrive Goldacres for a Factory Tour
Depart Gold Acres for PGG Research Farm
Arrive PGG Research Farm for a site visit
Depart PGG Research Farm for Narmbool
Arrive Narmbool for a site visit and lunch
Depart Narmbool for Ballan
Arrive Ballan for a site visit (commercial scale subsoil manuring)
Depart Ballan for Mercure Ballarat
15:30 Arrive Mercure Ballarat
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Tour 2 – Risk Management through diversification

Some of Australia’s youngest volcanic soils and a 700mm winter-dominated rainfall underpin a diverse array of agricultural opportunities in Victoria’s Central Highlands. The region that we will explore on this tour is north of Ballarat and heading into the Great Dividing Range; the area with the longest growing seasons and coolest finishes in Victoria. Explore how agribusinesses in this region are using their natural resources to diversify their businesses, the crops and livestock they produce from wheat, potatoes and sheep to a broader range of crops and are then going the next step by value-adding with a paddock to plate approach and a passion for agri-tourism as they take their place in the gourmet food- sector.

08:00 Field Trip Briefing – Eureka Ballroom, Mercure Ballarat
08:30 Depart Mercure Ballarat for Molloy’s Farm, Waubra
Arrive Molloy’s Farm for a site visit.  Alternate cropping, progressive innovation, property situated among wind turbines
Depart Molloy’s Farm for AGF Seeds
Arrive AGF Seeds for a site visit & presentation
Depart AGF Seeds for Richardsons Farm

Arrive Richardsons Potato Farm, Newlyn North for a site visit & lunch.

Presentations on growing seed potatoes and where to sell into the market & how they found their own market for growing of commercial crops

Depart Richardson’s Farm for Tullamarine Airport
14:45 Drop off at Melbourne Airport
16:15 Arrive Mercure Ballarat

Tour 3 – Technology for mixed farms

The next revolutionary gain for Australian farming is in applying technological advances on-farm to boost productivity. The challenge for this next step is around how we apply technology such as robotics, sensors, drones, satellites, biotechnology and high-tech know-how to agriculture. This tour will head towards Geelong to visit farms with mixed enterprise and other agribusinesses that are at the forefront of applying and trialling new technologies in the field.

The interface between agronomy, on farm technology and innovation is going to be a key profit driver for farmers throughout Australia. Where should agronomists and farmers invest their time building capability and dollars in acquiring the gear and knowledge. Visiting farms, researchers and advisors will enable them to build capability, capacity while acquiring the technology knowledge to increase profitability of a farm in the 21st century.

Running a profitable farm with cropping and livestock requires a whole range of technologies and solutions looking at challenges farmers are facing in trying to run mixed farming systems. Looking at livestock handling systems and cropping systems.

08:00 Field Trip Briefing, Eureka Ballroom, Mercure Ballarat

Depart Mercure Ballarat for Deakin University Geelong

Presentation from Johanna Couchman on board the coach – On-line Agronomic Extension

Arrive Deakin University Geelong for a presentation on Virtual Reality (3D printing and high voltage labs)

Morning tea

Depart Deakin University for Murnong Farms
Arrive at Josh Walter’s Murnong Farming for site visit, lunch and Probe Trax SFS, Soil moisture Probes Presentation
Depart Murnong Farming for Rokewood
Arrive Andrew Whitlock’s Farm Rokewood for Precision Agriculture Presentation
Depart for Mercure Ballarat
15:00 Arrive Mercure Ballarat
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Tour 4 – Big Data as an Asset

‘Big Data’ is rapidly emerging as the next major technology development that has the potential to result in big productivity gains for farmers. The key limiting factor to realising the potential of ‘big data’ as an asset is the conversion of large data sets into real-time farm decision technology.

This field trip will visit agribusinesses in the Geelong and Ballarat areas who are collecting large datasets and developing mechanisms for analysing and converting this data into information that can be used by the agriculture sector. The tour will also visit key agritech research providers with computational skills and power to allow seamless connectivity between data sets and farm technology for everyday use. We will talk to farmers and researchers about their experiences and their prediction for when this opportunity will become reality and how. (This tour concludes at Ballarat at 3.30pm).

08:30 Depart Mercure Ballarat for Federation University
Arrive CeRDI @ Federation University for site visit & morning tea
Depart Federation University for Marcus Oldham College
Arrive Marcus Oldham College, Waurun Ponds for site visit
Depart Marcus Oldham College for Deakin University
Arrive Deakin University for site visit
Depart Deakin University for Mercure Ballarat
15:30 Arrive Mercure Ballarat


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Southern Farming Systems Agriculture Victoria

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