The two-day program covers topics including soil nutrition, stock management, planning irrigation and post-harvest handling.
The two-day program covers topics including soil nutrition, stock management, planning irrigation and post-harvest handling. Contributed

Small area farming in focus

A SUMMER school for farmers of all varieties will be held in the Mary Valley this month.

The aim of Mary Valley Country Harvest Cooperative's Summer School is to educate and inform existing and potential growers by providing regular opportunities for exchange of information.

It will do this by highlighting current best practices in developing a farm business by offering a two-day course covering four subject streams.

Each stream has four workshops with session times running concurrently.

On Tuesday, February 11, you can learn about financial and property management with case studies on what makes a small farm viable and looking after the most important asset - yourself.

It also covers risk management for farms from financial to physical.

General Horticultural Enterprises will provide information on basic orchard planning asking questions like what are potential new crops, the importance of plant and soil nutrition with an introduction to integrated pest management and the importance of bees and other beneficial insects in fruit and vegetable production and farmscaping to include pollinator patches.

Tuesday night will celebrate the best of valley produce with a Harvest dinner and inspirational guest speakers.

This is also open to the public for $20.

Then on Wednesday, February 12, subjects include animal enterprises with a panel discussion offering advice on running livestock (poultry, pigs and beef) as part of your production system.

This will cover information on grazing management and stock numbers.

For the market gardener you will be guided from hand-tools to tractors, given a "how to" guide on planning an irrigation system and production planning for intensive market gardens and a panel discussion will offer advice on post-harvest handling and packaging for market

The annual summer school will then be followed by monthly farm visits to discuss how they operate and what informs their decision-making.

The full two-day program with lunch each day and Harvest dinner is being offered at $70.

You can also attend a single day for $35.

These workshops are funded by the Australian Dept of Employment and through the local employment coordinator Flexible Funding Pool keeping costs of workshops to a minimum.

The program will be held in Kandanga. Bookings are essential so please contact Elaine Bradley on 5484 3749 or 0459 225 399 for further information.

You can email maryvalleycountryharvest@gmail.com or go to http://www.maryvalleycountryharvest.com