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I grew up in the Walpeup area and started farming at the end of 2001. I’m involved in a collaborative farming business with my business partner and neighbour Michael Pole. We farm 6000ha over loam and sand soils, and our average annual rainfall is 300mm. We grow a mix of wheat, barley and lentils, with brown manure legumes in place of lentils on the sandier blocks to increase nitrogen for the next crop. We both work full time within the business, we have two permanent employees and have some casual labour during cropping and harvest.

The current season is looking ok, thanks to subsoil moisture from late 2022 followed by a wet June. This has given a high level of confidence compared to most seasons. Some areas are still excessively wet due to the rain, so bogging vehicles is still an ongoing issue. Despite the good subsoil moisture, due to it being dry in May during seeding we ended up with some patchy germination. At the moment, we are in the middle of in crop sprays.

Walpeup grower Jim Wakefield has had a wet start to the season

I participated in the 2016 cohort of the Australian Grain Leaders Program. The program caters to whatever you need to get out of it. For me, it was to work on skills to use within my own business. The opportunity to work with AGLP facilitator Jo Eady was a highlight, I found her to be very impressive in how she works with participants on developing their skills.


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