A day in the office (for an extension officer)
By Arthur Cameron, Principal Pastures Agronomist, Darwin
Agricultural extension is the application of scientific research and knowledge to agricultural practices through farmer education. Extension officers provide advice and education in many ways these days. Much of our work is done remotely, by email and telephone, including smartphone. A smart phone allows us to send and receive images for identification of weeds and other plants. We also maintain a body of information on the Northern Territory Government website for those clients who are too busy to contact us.
Unfortunately, we cannot do everything from the comfort of an air-conditioned cubicle. To assess pastures and solve problematic issues, we have to leave the office and travel to various, often remote locations, anywhere in the NT. During a good wet season, access can be difficult, and my 2WD utility is reluctant to leave the bitumen.
On a recent extension visit to Katherine, I visited four separate properties in one day to inspect pastures, check establishment and identify seedlings and weeds. At the first property we had to walk through the tall wet grass to identify seedlings and inspect pasture establishment. At the second we travelled close to the newly established pasture on a quad bike and then threaded our way across a creek on slippery rocks to check the good emergence of Jarra seedlings. At the third property, travel was in the comfort of a 4WD station wagon. To get to the final property, I had to cross the flooded Leight Creek on Emungalan Road in a small boat with a 2HP motor, and then inspect seed crops in some wet and sloppy paddocks in a side by side. Luckily, Leight Creek was not running as it was backed up by the Katherine River.
To top it off, the next day, I also had to cross Leight Creek in another small boat to conduct inspections at another property.
If you wish to get in contact with Arthur regarding improved pasture and hay production, please call 0417 816 795
Last updated: 07 August 2019