Together with our sister offering, Atlas Carbon, we are excited to announce that the much-anticipated Wilmot Field Day 2023 (WFD23) has concluded.
Hosted by Macdoch Ag Group, this event was made possible with the generous support of Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), Farmbot, and RCS. Although the event has passed, we encourage you and your network of livestock producers to stay connected with us for future updates, resources, and opportunities to enhance your farm’s productivity. Together, we’re here to support you on your path to success.
Natural Capital Matters
The 2023 theme is ‘Natural Capital Matters’ and the program featured an exciting mix of thought leaders and field experts– including perspectives from trailblazing graziers who delved into a range of topics related to natural capital. The second day included a workshop that explored the potential for off-setting, in-setting, and themes covering emissions reduction in grazing businesses. Key topics:
- Lessons from managing through volatility
- Considerations around carbon approaches
- Emerging technology and the opportunities
- Natural capital across the horizon
Gain exclusive access to the inspiring speakers of WFD23 right now:
Explore our Facebook album of Wilmot Field Day 2023
Have a look at our Facebook album of Wilmot Field Day 2023, specially curated for livestock producers like you. Relive the incredible moments and cherished connections from the event, immersing yourself in the vibrant networking that unfolded over those two unforgettable days. For those eagerly planning to attend future events, these pictures will give you a glimpse into the exciting experiences that await you. Join us in celebrating the spirit of Wilmot Field Day and get a taste of what’s in store for you. Check out the album now and let the memories and anticipation flow!
WFD23 Speaker Program
Wilmot Field Day 2023, with its overarching theme of “Natural Capital Matters”, provided livestock producers with a rich speaker program focused on key topics impacting grazing businesses. The sessions covered managing volatility in Australian agriculture, considerations around carbon approaches, emerging technology opportunities, and the importance of natural capital in farm business decision-making. With expert speakers, including Adam Coffey, Michael Taylor, Gillian Sanbrook, Eli Court, Dr. Nigel Tomkins, Tegan Nock, Harrie van Oirsouw, Sam Duncan, Katelyn Lubcke, Dr. Elizabeth Heagney, Dr. Steve Wiedemann, Nadia Campbell, Grant Hilliard, leaders across MaiaGrazing and Atlas Carbon, and more, attendees gained valuable insights to enhance their livestock operations and grazing management. Wilmot Field Day 2023 exemplified the significance of “Natural Capital Matters” in the agricultural sector. Here’s an overview of the two days:
Day 1: Full day conference in the wool shed
Session 1/4: ‘Lessons from managing through volatility’
Volatility and resilience have become increasingly synonymous with Australian agriculture – and for good reason. 2022 was no exception, with farmers having overcome challenges from natural disasters and pests, significant price swings, interest rate rises, increased cost of living and varying degrees of global trade tensions.
In this session we will look at what is on the horizon for Australian agriculture and discuss ways to effectively manage a volatile operating environment, hearing from primary producers who have been able to navigate challenges by relying on data and insights to guide decision making.
Learn how to set your business up for success during good times and bad, how to implement financial and data discipline, learn new on-farm techniques and technologies and effectively utilise new revenue streams – all while showing an unwavering commitment to animal welfare, improving the environment and exceeding consumer expectations.
- Adam Coffey – QLD grazier and owner/director of Coffey Cattle Co and a director of Cattle Australia. Recently published this Beef Central article, ‘Should ruminant emission be considered as man-made?’
- Michael Taylor – NSW grazier and 2022 Australian Farmer of the Year for “progressing a sustainable farming legacy that his family began in 1839”.
- Gillian Sanbrook – a NSW grazier who “welcomes people to see first-hand how they have applied resilient practices to build carbon and soil with minimal intervention” at Bibbaringa.
- Eli Court – CEO at Soils for Life, a non-profit on a mission: to support farmers to regenerate soil and landscapes for healthy food and communities.
Session 1 concluded with an engaging panel featuring Adam Coffey, Michael Taylor, Gillian Sanbrook. Moderator: Eli Court
Session 2/4 – ‘Considerations around carbon approaches’
Agricultural soils, particularly those of grazing enterprises, have significant potential to store carbon, and in doing so build soil health and the resilience of our agricultural land. The possibilities around carbon are almost as endless as the considerations. How much have you got to start with, how do you build it and measure it, and how do grazing decisions influence your outcome?
Significant research has been undertaken to provide data that graziers can utilise when working out what is right for them, and how they can successfully sequester carbon as a part of their operation to improve the environment while potentially creating new streams of revenue. Still, the decisions about how, or even whether to participate are difficult.
In this session, hear from leading researchers and a panel of graziers at different points in the ‘carbon journey’ providing their insights into a broad spectrum of considerations that are influencing their approach to carbon; whether they’re still deciding, have decided not to proceed, are participating in a market for carbon credits, or producing a carbon neutral product.
- Ashley Silver, Peter Richardson, and Sean Hoobin – domain experts within the Macdoch Ag group of companies, including MaiaGrazing, on what is important for graziers to know when considering a carbon project/building soil carbon based on our data insights, tools and collective experience.
- Mark Westcott – Owner of The Strategic Evolution with 35 years of industry experience specialising in Rural & Farm Succession Planning Strategies in Australia, based in QLD and published author of 10+ Estate Planning Books, Podcast and Blog Series.
Session 2 concluded with a grazier panel consisting of those who are in different stages and directions of carbon projects, featuring Will Jardine, Carly Burnham and Paul Rogers. Moderator: Col Feilen
Session 3/4 – ‘Emerging technology and the opportunities’
Investment in technology that can be deployed in the agriculture industry and momentum for AgTech entrepreneurship is taking off. But really this is nothing new; farmers have been adopting new tools and technologies that add value for decades. So is it just hype?
What does all the momentum for AgTech – from accelerators to venture capital funds to modern technologies like drones and robots – actually mean for farmers looking to improve the productivity of their businesses? How critical is the importance of farmer-centric design in AgTech, as opposed to a developer-led approach?
It all comes back to the question of how technology can help mitigate risk and aid informed on-farm decision making, by ultimately identifying and capitalising on the opportunities that are being created as tomorrows technologies emerge.
- Dr Nigel Tomkins – Head of Ag at Sea Forest, an innovative environmental biotechnology company developing the scaled cultivation of the red seaweed, Asparagopsis to help to reduce planet-warming methane emissions in cows.
- Tegan Nock – Co-founder and CPO of Loam Bio, a developer of a microbial carbon sequestration technology designed for restoring carbon to the soil.
- Harrie van Oirsouw – GM of Hone, an Australian measurement solutions company that helps to unlock chemical analysis, utilising the latest developments in spectroscopy and machine learning.
- Sam Duncan – Co-founder and CEO of Farmlab, a natural capital and agronomy software company that empowers farmers to track their carbon footprint, analyse data and make changes in their operations.
- Katelyn Lubcke – Project Manager for Environmental Markets at Meat & Livestock Australia
Session 4/4 – Natural capital across the horizon
With 430 million hectares of land under agricultural production, Australia has a unique opportunity to be an exemplar of nature-positive, low emissions agriculture. But to be successful, industry, government and philanthropy must collaboratively find ways of incorporating natural capital into farm business decision-making, quickly and at scale.
Having the data to demonstrate where productivity, profit and natural capital intersect is more important than ever, especially as investors and financial institutions begin to reassess their priorities. Enhancing nature means investing in above ground vegetation, increasing biodiversity, focussing on clean water and improving soil quality – all of which can help sequester more carbon in landscapes, without compromising agricultural productivity.
In this session, hear from experts who are some of the pioneers to approaching natural capital as a driver of productivity, all of whom have some great stories to tell.
- Dr Elizabeth Heagney – Research Director at Farming for the Future, a research and change program initiated by the philanthropic foundation, Macdoch Foundation.
- Dr Steve Wiedemann – the principal scientist and managing director of Integrity Ag & Environment, a specialist in sustainable agriculture and environmental research.
- Nadia Campbell – a QLD grazier at Goondicum Pastoral Co. where grassfed EU Brangus beef cattle are produced, and board member of Accounting for Nature.
- Grant Hilliard – a sommelier turned butcher, and Founder and co-director of Feather and Bone Providore, the leading supplier and strong advocate of sustainably farmed meat and poultry in Sydney.
Day 2: Workshop in the wool shed + paddock walks
- ‘Woodburn in analytics’ – by Grant Wickham (grazier, Woodburn) and Bart Davidson (Co-Founder and Chief Grazing Officer, MaiaGrazing)
- ‘The ‘How’: a showcase of how to drive the success of your carbon projects’ – by Ashley Silver, Sean Hoobin, Taraka Uddawattage (domain experts in the Macdoch Ag Group)
- ‘How banks can support carbon projects’ – by Carmel Onions, National Director Agribusiness of Commonwealth Bank
- (Online) “Natural Capital through a Holistic Management Lens” by Johann Zietsman, a renowned grazier and livestock breeder from Zimbabwe, currently based in Zambia.
- ‘How do we rebuild trust and integrity into natural capital markets?’ – a “town-hall meeting” style audience discussion led by Angus Street (CEO of AuctionsPlus) and Rob Fish (Fisheries Expert & Advisor) as part of their Australian Rural Leadership Program Course 29
Friends of WFD23
We are proud to align Wilmot Field Day 2023 with the following supporters. You will have the opportunity to find out more about these companies at the event.
A peek from last year’s event
Here are some of the key takeaways from attendees at Wilmot Field Day 2022:
About Macdoch Ag Group
The Macdoch Ag Group is comprised of innovative Australian businesses working hand in hand with farmers, industry and government to share insights, knowledge, and data. The Group is striving to show how building natural capital can underpin a resilient and profitable agricultural sector and contribute to global climate solutions.
The value of natural capital is intrinsic, and we’ve seen first-hand how developing it builds more resilient landscapes, farm businesses and communities.
Australia has untapped potential to be a global leader in building natural capital and transitioning to a low carbon, climate resilient future.