A day in the office (for an extension officer)

Arthur Cameron, Principal Pastures Agronomist, Darwin

Extension Officers provide advice to clients in many ways these days. Much of our work is done remotely, by email and telephone, including smartphone. A smart phone allows us to send and receive images for identification of weeds and other plants. We maintain a body of information on the NT.GOV.AU website for those clients who are too busy to contact us.

Unfortunately, we cannot do everything from the comfort of an air-conditioned cubicle. To assess pastures and solve problematic issues we have to leave the office and travel to various, often remote locations, anywhere in the NT. During a good Wet Season, such as we are currently experiencing, access can be difficult, and my 2WD utility is reluctant to leave the bitumen.

On a recent extension visit to Katherine, I visited four separate properties in one day to inspect pastures, check establishment and identify seedlings and weeds. At the first property we had to walk through tall, wet grass to identify seedlings and inspect pasture establishment. At the second property, we travelled close to the newly-established pasture on a quad bike and then threaded our way across a creek on slippery rocks to check on the emergence of Jarra seedlings. At the third property, travel was in the comfort of a 4WD station wagon, but to get to the final property, I had to cross the flooded Leight Creek on Emungalan Road. We travelled in a small boat, then in a side-by-side all terrain vehicle to inspect seed crops in some very wet and sloppy paddocks. Luckily, Leight Creek was not running as it was backed up by the Katherine River.

Just another day in the office you might say. To top it off, the next day, I had to cross Leight Creek in another small boat to conduct inspections at another property.

Flooded Leitht Creek Katherine Feb 17

Flooded Leitht Creek Katherine Feb 17

Last updated: 03 April 2017

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