The economic future of central Queensland’s cropping industry is close to the heart of newly-appointed Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) northern panellist, Kelly Becker.
Mrs Becker is a trained and experienced agronomist with a developing consultancy business, but she has also joined her husband Scott’s family farming operation, “Paranui”, on the Dawson River between Moura and Theodore.
“I’m new to the family farm which is run by Norman and Desley and their son Scott,” she says.
“It’s a mixed farming system that includes dryland cropping and some smaller pivot irrigation, and cattle to carry us through when we need income during the harder cropping seasons.”
Mrs Becker is now part of a 10-strong panel led by James Clark that plays a key decision-making role in northern region grains research, development and extension.
“I’d been to GRDC events and could see that they were at the forefront of the industry, leading research and development and I wanted to be part of that team,” she says.
“If I can deliver some of that information back to growers on the ground in our area, I will have achieved my main aim in joining the panel.
“I want our central Queensland growers to remain economically viable and sustainable so if I can communicate some of the research and development and help them do that I will be happy.
“Not only are the growers up against the perils of the weather, they are also being impacted by coal mining and gas operations in the area. If the growers can remain economically viable we can continue to farm in the area.”
Mrs Becker says feathertop Rhodes grass is one of the many issues in the region that is impacting on farming systems and productivity.
“We’ve been battling it in central Queensland for a while now. We aren’t necessarily getting on top of it but we are managing it,” she says.
“There are also a few disease issues creeping north such as ascochyta blight in the chickpeas, so there are new issues we haven’t really had to deal with before; it’s a continuous learning curve.”
Mrs Becker canvasses issues from central Queensland growers and will join the northern panel on its annual spring tour in early September. This year the panel will visit farms and agribusinesses in central west NSW.
For more information on GRDC-funded research, visit www.grdc.com.au.
Kelly Becker,GRDC Northern Panellist
0409 974 007
Michael Thomson, Senior Consultant, Cox Inall
07 4927 0805 0408 819 666