A Yorke Peninsula farmer who turned a community issue into an innovative business for his farm has won the Pasture Genetics National Fodder Innovation Award at the Royal Adelaide Show.
The award was presented to Kadina farmer Brenton McRae by Pasture Genetics Research and Technical Services Manager Tom Damin on Tuesday afternoon. It is the first time in the Show’s 178-year history the award has been on offer.
Brenton received the award after coming up with an innovative farming solution for the community’s wastewater. With an overflowing dam in Kadina creating problems for the community, he offered the council some of his land to build another dam to store the water.
Thanks to the new dam, Brenton now has the ability to store 25 million litres of water on his farm. The storm water is captured in the winter months and emptied during the summer months, meaning there is no water wastage or problems created for the community.
Initially intended as a retirement hobby farm, the dam has meant Brenton is now able to produce enough feed for a small herd of Australian Lowline cattle, and lucerne hay for farmers on the Yorke Peninsula, which is not typically accessible in the area.
“Brenton displayed the spirit of innovation, turning a waste product in stormwater runoff from his township of Kadina into a useful commodity for his community in lucerne hay.
“Innovation is something that’s really important to us at Pasture Genetics, and rewarding innovation within our agriculture community, to farmers like Brenton, is something that we’re really thrilled to be able to do,” said Tom.
The award was developed to acknowledge Australian growers who have redeveloped their farming practices to adapt to change, increase production and demonstrate sustainability.
Brenton received a glass trophy handmade by the Jam Factory in South Australia, a Pasture Genetics proprietary seed product to the value of $3,000 and a one-on-one on-farm agronomic consultation.
“I feel pretty tickled and proud, I certainly didn’t expect to win the Award. It’s great to be recognised,” he said.
Brenton believes there are opportunities for other farming communities to apply a similar model in their towns.
“Thanks to the dam that’s storing excess stormwater run off, not only is my farm is becoming quite a financially viable business, but the wider community has been able to see the opportunities that treated water and storm water can provide.
“I think this innovation could be applied to other small towns around Australia as a way for them to manage their excess stormwater and generate a useful product for the community,” Brenton said.
Fifth-generation farmer Brenton Mosey from Nackara, South Australia was the runner-up. Brenton was awarded for his innovative year-round grazing techniques and pasture management practices on his sheep wool farm, increasing the condition of his sheep and suckling rate. He has received a $500 Pasture Genetics voucher to be reclaimed in seed.
Pasture Genetics have been a proud sponsor of the Royal Adelaide Show for over 10 years.
This year, Pasture Genetics also sponsored the Class 49 Baled Lucerne Hay, Irrigated and Class 50 Baled Lucerne Hay, Dryland awards at the Royal Adelaide Show.
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Image: Winner of the Pasture Genetics National Fodder Innovation Award, Kadina farmer Brenton McRae.