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Farmers Welcome “Open Air” Learning Centre

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Hundreds of growers and agronomists from throughout central and southern NSW have converged on Temora in recent weeks to inspect trials of crop treatments and varieties at the innovative Syngenta Learning Centre. 

Now in its fourth year, the learning centre is a partnership between leading crop protection company, Syngenta, and the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Based at the DPI’s Agricultural Research and Advisory Station outside Temora, the 4.5 hectare site includes a number of side-by-side trials comparing various seed treatments, fungicides and herbicides, as well as dozens of canola, barley and wheat varieties. 

Syngenta Territory Sales Manager, Toby Williams, said the trials were completely independent and unbiased. “Every year we pit our products against those of other companies so agronomists and growers can see how they perform,” he said.

“We give the DPI the protocols and they prepare the soil, sow the trials and do all the spraying and other crop maintenance. There’s no way we could affect the outcome of the trials even if we wanted to! 

“This year we’re focusing on seed treatments, fungicides and a range of herbicides including a knockdown trial that has created a lot of interest. There are also demonstrations of Pacific Seeds and Pioneer canola varieties and LongReach wheat varieties.

“At this stage, we’ve got really good moisture and the trials are looking great!”

Mr Williams said the learning centre, one of six similar sites established by Syngenta throughout Australia, was an ideal place for growers and advisers to learn about the latest in crop protection technologies. 

“It’s a really good educational process for growers,” he said.

“They can gain a lot of information on a lot of different products – be they seed treatments, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides or crop varieties – in the one place instead of having to go to 10 or 12 different sites to see the same amount of trial work. 

“It is also a great place for us to showcase the new products, such as Axial and Boxer Gold herbicides, we’ve got coming through and compare them against competing products.

“Producers have seen the products in the development process so they already know exactly how they work, where they fit, what crops to use them on and how to use them.” 

Mr Williams said hundreds of producers and agronomists from as far afield as Coonamble had inspected the site in recent weeks and as many again were expected over the next two months. 

“Many of our visitors have travelled a long way and increasingly they are making the effort to come two or three times to watch the progress of the various trials. Some even stay overnight in Temora and combine their visit with other training programs.”  

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