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Ag team comes on board at Murray CMA

A new era has begun at Murray CMA with the arrival of three new members of the agriculture extension team – Graeme McIntosh, John Fowler and Gregory Moulds – who have all moved over from the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

The team leader is Graeme McIntosh, a well known agronomist from Buronga in the western end of the Murray catchment. He has over 20 years experience in all aspects of sustainable agriculture, with his specialist area being cereal crops. Originally from Inverell, he has worked around the state bringing the latest developments in pasture management and dryland cropping to farmers, working closely with farmer groups such as Mallee Sustainable Farming.

Graeme is confident his experienced team of extension officers will deliver high quality best practice information from current research being conducted by organisations such as Grains Research Development Corporation, Viticulture Australia and NSW DPI.

"The focus of the new team is on industry benefit and working with regionally based farmer groups such as Riverine Plains, Rice Growers Association, Mallee Sustainable Farming and the Citrus industry", he added.

Well known agronomist and rice specialist, John Fowler has joined the Murray CMA agriculture team in Deniliquin. John has a long history of working with local farmers, having been the District Agronomist from 1981 to 1997, and again since 2007 to the present.

John was part of the team responsible for the development of the highly successful 'RiceCheck' rice management initiative and has pioneered the use of mid season dry-down of rice to reduce sterility. He has recently produced a short rice management video which can be seen on You Tube.

The horticulture industry will be serviced by Gregory Moulds, based in Buronga. He has moved over to the Murray CMA agriculture team from his position as Viticulture Extension Officer with NSW Department of Primary Industries at Dareton, bringing 30 years of experience in horticultural extension. Greg is well known in the vineyards of Sunraysia, the Riverland and Far West of NSW for his great work to support growers adopt improved technology, use new varieties and overall crop improvement.

He also has a depth of experience in citrus and other horticultural crops and has been instrumental in providing practical solutions on handling reduced water allocations, and evaluating varieties for their ability to adapt to climate change.

Graeme McIntosh said, "These experienced ag extension professionals already have extensive networks with farmers and producer groups throughout the Murray catchment, not just in their local areas, and bring a wealth of knowledge to keep growers up to date.

"They bring a passion for sustainable agriculture to the organisation and will be working closely with the farming community and their industry groups to ensure that profitability and sustainability will be balanced as we adapt to new challenges of, high input costs, markets, climate and water allocations", he added.

General Manager of Murray CMA, David Leslie said that these appointments were just the beginning of building a team of agriculture specialists as the organisation moves towards the establishment of Local Land Services in 2014.

It expected that the full complement of extension officers will be appointed to the agriculture team in the near future.