Tocal College to bring agriculture training programs to Moree

Tocal College will provide local farmers with practical agriculture training to help them improve their trade.
Tocal College will provide local farmers with practical agriculture training to help them improve their trade.

Tocal College, the Registered Training Organisation within NSW Department of Primary Industries, is offering an exciting opportunity for the Moree community to access training programs delivered locally targeting skills and knowledge which are in strong demand by the rural industry.

Training courses will be delivered in Moree from May 21 to 31 covering precision agronomy, confined spaces and working at heights, quad bikes, chemical application, license to operate a forklift, Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) for supervisors and managers.

All of these courses are fully subsided by the NSW Government under the AgSkilled program for the cotton and grains industries and the quad bike course under the SafeWork NSW Quad Bike program.

The AgSkilled program is supported by the Grains and Cotton Research and Development Corporations (GRDC) and Cotton Australia.

Of particular interest to managers and advisors in the cropping industries is the Tocal College Precision Agronomy course, which provides a unique, practical training program to help farm managers and advisors collect, analyse and apply digital systems on farm in a very cost effective manner.

The course is delivered as two, two day workshops and covers planning and managing variable rate applications, interpreting normalised difference vegetating index (NDVI) and yield data, using soil maps and samples to match soils and fertilisers, calibrating, preparing and using spreading equipment and GPS guidance, variable rate controllers and autosteer technologies.

The use of data is the future of farm management with data collection, analysis and application helping make decisions about all sorts of things.

With the cost of machinery and inputs increasing all the time it is very important for farmers to be sure they are getting best value out of everything they do in a paddock to produce better pastures or crop yields.

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Lack of knowledge and skills in the use of digital farming technologies has been identified as a substantial impediment to the adoption of precision agriculture.

Many farmers are self-taught, learning from trial and error with support from other farmers, machinery dealers and by the limited number of agronomists able to support the use of PA technology and data.

This course equips farmers with skills and knowledge to demystify the subject and help them to make good decisions about their requirements

Tocal College Precision Agriculture Coordinator, Matt Notley has developed this training course in partnership with industry leading consultants Adrian Roles and Thane Pringle.

The team of trainers have many years of practical farming, agronomy and digital agriculture experience between them.

"Our aim in the development and delivery of this course is to make it practical and useful for farmers and advisors in the field," Mr Notley said.

"We want people who complete this training program to be able to use the skills and knowledge to make their businesses more efficient and profitable."

To help ensure the course is practical Mr Notley and the team of trainers have put together a mobile PA lab with hardware and software provided by commercial companies.

"We have been incredibly well supported by industry with Marshall providing a variable rate spreader, Precision Seeding Solutions a seeding rig and Topcon providing GPS, Auto Steer and CropSpec(tm) biomass sensors," Mr Notley said.

Over 260 participants have attended the course which has been run at 26 locations across NSW.

"We have been overwhelmed by the response and highly encouraged by the positive feedback," Mr Notley said.

"85 per cent of participants have given the course top marks and have given clear feedback about the need for training with specific software and controllers."

For further details about these courses please go to the Tocal website https://www.tocal.nsw.edu.au/courses/agskilled or contact Jayne Wood on 02 6763 1285 or 0438 568 310 Email jayne.wood@dpi.nsw.gov.au.