BCG thinks outside the square with virtual field day

Birchip Cropping Group hosts digital-only main field day with 30 research presentations

Tom Draffen and Gen Clarke, BCG, preparing for the virtual field day.

Tom Draffen and Gen Clarke, BCG, preparing for the virtual field day.


Faced with COVID-19 restrictions, the BCG team had to get creative to present its 2020 field day information.


THE BIRCHIP Cropping Group (BCG) main field day is usually one of the biggest gatherings in Victorian agriculture.

This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, the BCG team had to think outside the square to present the agronomic information from its host of trials at its main research site at Curyo, north-west of Birchip.

Using a combination of drones and video and online skills, the BCG extension and communication team put together its first Digital Research Site.

"It was a steep learning curve putting it together, but we're really pleased with what we've put together," said senior extension and communication manager at BCG Tom Draffen.

The digital research portal features presentations on around 30 different trials being conducted both at Curyo and at other BCG sites.

Mr Draffen was pleased with the traffic on the trial website.

"We've had nearly 1000 people look in at the research which we're happy about."

"We're trying hard to present the information in a way that is interesting where people see more than you would just by listening over a conference link, it is something we'll keep working to improve."

Over 30 presentations have been recorded and written up for the public to look at on the website.

He said the COVID-19 changes would have a silver lining of working out different ways of getting out information remotely.

"Obviously, in some cases you just can't beat being there and being able to look, see and touch exactly what is being spoken about, but in other cases there could be information that translates really well to be presented online.

"Especially with the challenges around distance in rural Australia this could be a good thing to complement live, face to face events."

This year's Curyo site features a whopping 2757 trials over 10.5 hectares, as part of BCG's overall trial program across 24 sites.

Mr Draffen said sowing began at Curyo in late March before the last time of sowing trial was completed in mid-June.

He said some of the trials to attract good interest from BCG members included oaten hay work and a mixed species intercropping research project.

For a look at the field day go to:

The story BCG thinks outside the square with virtual field day first appeared on Farm Online.


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