Grains Research and Development

GRDC Update Papers

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This page contains papers from the GRDC Update series for both growers and advisers.

To download the proceedings booklets from the 2014 Updates, visit the 2014 Update Proceedings Booklets page.

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  • What is happening in grain farming in Eastern Europe and how does it apply to Australia?

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    23.03.2015
    Presented At
    Geraldton, Merredin and Katanning GRDC Farm Business Updates 23rd, 25th and 26th March 2015
    Region
    Overseas

    • Execution of the plan; make sure three keys are executed timely- plant on time, spray on time and harvest on time. If these three keys are executed well you will limit risk.
    • Identify your most expensive assets and make sure they are maximized to the fullest.
    • Employees – structure, instructions, training, engagement, initiative, empowerment and motivation are crucial to success.

  • The five pillars - how they apply to you and your lives

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    23.03.2015
    Presented At
    Geraldton, Merredin and Katanning GRDC Farm Business Updates 23rd, 25th and 26th March 2015

    • Resilience is the ability to continually perform at a standard regardless of outside stresses/pressures.
    • The ‘five pillars’ provide a structure to reflect on and devise a plan to gain a positive result.
    • We all have options and options provide hope, enthusiasm and instigate action.

  • What is the role of the accountant and what must they do to ensure their clients are getting the essential services?

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    23.03.2015
    Presented At
    Geraldton, Merredin and Katanning GRDC Farm Business Update 23rd, 25th and 26th March 2015
    Region
    West

    • The statutory essentials for your business are just the start.
    • There are a significant number of extra services that Byfields considers to be essential - they are not "add-ons".
    • Without these, dollars will be left on the table through a lack of planning. In extreme cases, farm viability can be put under threat without adequate planning.
    • Regular contact with your accountant throughout the year is an absolute must for these services to be delivered. He/she is also a key for arranging the involvement of other specialist service providers such as lawyers, insurance brokers, etc.
    • A quality accountant is:
    1. good technically - a specialist in his/her industry, and primary production taxation is certainly a specialist industry,
    2. has a natural interest and passion in what he/she is doing, and;
    3. equipped with the resources to provide their services.

  • Analysing and discussing risk in farming businesses

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    23.03.2015
    Presented At
    Geraldton, Merredin and Katanning GRDC Farm Business Update 23rd, 25th and 26th March 2015

    • Farming is the most volatile sector of the Australian economy and by inference the most risky. To cope with this volatility many farmers have developed strategies for production and price variability so they remain in farming.
    • Agricultural extension can take little credit for farmer’s current approach to risk management. Most farmers have developed risk strategies based on intuition and experience rather than on useful extension materials and knowledgeable advisory support.
    • One component of the Grain and Graze 2 program is to support farmers, advisers and consultants to understand and discuss risk. A pilot program conducted in Southern Victoria has developed a risk analysis and discussion format to help farmers quantify the risk in their farming business (the risk profile) and then discuss the implications of the results.
    • This paper presents the approach used and feedback from farmers, advisers and bankers involved in the pilot study.

  • Human resource management on the farm

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    23.03.2015
    Presented At
    Geraldton, Merredin and Katanning GRDC Farm Business Update 23rd 25th and 26th March 2015
    Region
    West

    • There is no separate talent market for family farms, and therefore, family farms are competing with everyone else for providing employee satisfaction.
    • Employee satisfaction is the main driver for people of all ages and industries in staying in their roles.
    • Human resource management is generally weaved into standard business practice rather than being a separate work practice or role within a business.

  • Drivers of farm business - what keeps the top 25% at the top?

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    23.03.2015
    Presented At
    Geraldton, Merredin and Katanning GRDC Farm Business Updates 23rd, 25th and 26th March 2015
    Region
    West

    • Know your numbers.
    • Have a strategy to achieve your goals.
    • Small things do matter.
    • Pay attention to the detail.

  • Machinery purchases

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    23.03.2015
    Presented At
    Geraldton, Merredin and Katanning GRDC Farm Business Update 23rd, 25th and 26th March 2015
    Region
    West

    • When considering machinery options, farmers should not only consider the capital cost of the equipment but also consider their seasons, the risk of delays to seeding, spraying or harvest and the associated penalties and then assess the overall financial impact of each machinery option.

  • Effective farming systems - what skills and approaches lead to successful farming systems?

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    23.03.2015
    Presented At
    Geraldton, Merredin and Katanning GRDC Farm Business Updates 23rd, 25th and 26th March 2015 and Clare and Naracoorte GRDC Farm Business Updates 12th March and 2nd April 2014
    Region
    North, South, West

    • The evolution of a farming system should be a function of logical business decision making since the majority of farmers will list profit as a key motivator. Many farm business managers adopt an oversimplified approach to this, farming the way they want to farm, chasing silver bullets or blindly following the benchmarking results of the best farmers. This is totally misleading and often results in the evolution of farming systems that are inappropriate for the manager’s resource base.
    • For the large majority of farm businesses, profitability is driven to the greatest extent by the successful implementation and management of the basics and then incorporating new or emerging technologies at the margins. The environment that farms operate in is dynamic which means that any decision needs to take into account how it will interact with the entire system.
    • Farm managers have been shown to consistently and repeatedly get this process wrong, particularly in times of higher prices when they tend to farm how they would like rather than how they should. This leaves these businesses particularly exposed when prices fall, there are seasonal challenges, or costs rise sharply. The primary focus on systems selection should be to marry it with the farm businesses’ resource base in order to optimise profit. Farming lifestyle can only be sustainably maintained after profit is achieved.
    • Adopting a whole of business or “systems” approach to the decision making process is one way of achieving consistently high profitability as the farming system evolves. Even the simplest decisions are set in a complex and leaky environment and can have significant impacts at the business level.

  • Managing business and production risk

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    23.03.2015
    GRDC Project Code
    Grain and Graze 3
    Presented At
    Geraldton, Merredin and Katanning GRDC Farm Business Update 23rd, 25th and 26th March 2015

    • Managing risk involves dealing with the downside and the opportunites in the long-term nature of farming.
    • There is no reward without taking some risk, but the level of risk is a personal choice by farmers.
    • Advisers play an important role in quantifying and discussing how to manage the risk, but ultimately it is the farmer’s choice.

  • What's going on with frost?

    Research Updates

    Grains

    Article Date
    20.03.2015
    Presented At
    Lockhart GRDC Grains Research Update, 20th March 2015
    Region
    National, South

    • Frost is a recognised production risk but incidence and severity is hard to predict.
    • CSIRO data suggests the length of the frost season has increased across southern Australia.
    • Screening of wheat varieties to frost is underway to assess the range in genetic responses.
    • Sowing time is a key driver of yield and needs to be planned in relation to yield, frost and heat.
    • Tactics to reduce frost risk include matching varieties to sowing time and maturity through to burning, farm zoning and changing the enterprise mix.