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Matt Cameron – Somerset, TAS

December 3, 2020 by Nicole Frost

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Matt Cameron runs a mixed farming operation in Somerset on the North West Coast of Tasmania. Matt grows poppies, potatoes and beef cattle on beautiful, red volcanic soil.

As a passionate agriculturalist and one who likes to push the limits of production, Matt was keen to trial a paddock of S&W Seed Company Q31 Lucerne, chasing higher quality feed. He was looking for a variety that would make premium quality silage and hay, tolerate grazing, and would shut down over the cold, wet winters of the region. Q31 fitted the bill perfectly and its performance exceeded Matt’s expectations.

“I copped a lot of negative comments when I decided I wanted to give lucerne a go. It’s just not done around here,” Matt recalls.

Nevertheless, with the guidance of his agronomist, Matt has established a perfect stand of Q31. He attributes his success
to keeping sowing rates high, good weed control as soon as it is required, and fertilising the crop to its upmost potential.
Twelve acres were sown in October 2018 and in 2019, Matt managed six cuts of silage and hay and two grazings. This is a massive achievement in this environment, proof Matt feels that they are adapting to the more frequent longer, hotter summers.

“I’m over the moon with Q31 and would recommend the variety to anyone.

“The cattle do so well on the silage, I don’t know why more people down here don’t do it,” Matt said.

The silage from his stand of Q31 has been tested and graded as A1, which was over 25 percent crude protein and 11 ME. Over summer, Matt heavily stocked the paddock with Angus heifers at two and a half cows per acre and managed to fatten the mob to 500 kilograms topping them up with the lucerne silage.

Matt has further capitalised on the Q31 by selling small square hay bales to the horse market, cutting 54 bales to the acre.
“Horse buyers love it,” Matt said, “I keep it clean so there are no weeds in the hay, it has a huge amount of leaf, very fine stems and it stays green in the bale.”

There is a lot of effort in doing things differently, but Matt thrives on it, seeking advice from hay contractors in other parts of the country, modifying his machinery and even changing the timing of his operations. The learning does not stop here though, as Matt is planning to travel with his young family to see how it is done in other parts of the country.

Image: Matt Cameron in his perfect stand of S&W Seed Company Q31 Lucerne.

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