The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) congratulates Trevor Syme, of Bolgart, Western Australia, for winning the 2013 Grain Grower of the Year Award.
Sponsored by the GRDC, the award was announced in Melbourne on September 12, as part of the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural’s Australian Farmer of the Year Awards.
The awards are designed to promote a positive image of Australian farmers and farming families, as well as inspire and encourage career choices and investment interest in Australian agriculture.
“The GRDC congratulates Trevor as a worthy winner of this award and commends finalists David and Nigel Newbigging, of Riverlea, New South Wales, and Ken Baldwin, of Longford, NSW,” GRDC managing director John Harvey said.
“The award provides a unique opportunity to promote best practice within the Australian grains industry and recognises the achievements of grain growers in contributing to a profitable and sustainable agricultural industry.
“Trevor, wife Renae and daughters Kiera, 7, and Jaymi, 5, farm 3800ha about 130km north-east of Perth, with an average rainfall of 392mm.
“Of that they crop 3150ha with a rotation of wheat, barley, oats, canola and lupins, but for the past few years it has been tough going with their average long-term wheat yield average of 2.51 tonnes per hectare down to 2.06t/ha on the back of two dry years and one extreme frost.
“Alongside their cropping enterprise they run 100 breeding cattle on unproductive cropping soils planted to tagasaste, with 2-3 per cent of their income derived from the cattle.
“Trevor’s farm is based on a no-till system, with full stubble retention, minimal soil disturbance and controlled traffic – adapted to suit his soil types.
“The biggest yield constraint is non-wetting soils, which are combated with clay spreading, delving, spading and some mouldboard ploughing.”
GRDC western regional panel chairman Peter Roberts said that despite difficult seasonal conditions and production constraints facing WA growers in recent years, growers such as Mr Syme remained positive and were adopting new technology to confront these issues.
“Non-wetting soils, for example, are a vexed problem, with no single ‘silver bullet’ solution for growers given variable soils and conditions across the State,” he said.
“Following close consultation with WA grain growers, through the GRDC’s western regional panel and WA Regional Cropping Solutions Networks (RCSNs), the GRDC will significantly increase its investment in non-wetting soils research, development and extension (RD&E) as well as frost RD&E, in coming years.”
Caption: Grain Grower of the Year Award winner Trevor Syme, second from right, and GRDC southern regional panel chairman Keith Pengilley flanked by finalists Nigel, left, and David Newbigging
Jane O’Brien, GRDC communications manager
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