Collie district farmer Andrew Freeth is no stranger to taking on new challenges.
Caption: Collie farmer Andrew Freeth will focus his Nuffield Scholarship study on investment in on-farm storage and supply chain logistics to improve farm efficiency and capacity. Photo supplied by Nuffield Australia.
As a fourth generation farmer, he and his family have seen their fair share of fluctuations in seasons, markets and farming practices but have always maintained a keen interest in changing their approach to improve farming productivity and profitability.
This year Mr Freeth will take on a challenge of a different kind having been awarded a prestigious Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) supported Nuffield Scholarship.
The focus of his study is investment in on-farm storage and supply chain logistics to improve farm efficiency and capacity.
He is keen to refine the business model for growers to cooperate and invest in on-farm storage as a means of driving improved efficiencies, better marketing options and improved farm gate returns.
“This is an area that many growers and industry participants recognise as critically important but many do not have the capital, knowledge, scale and time to successfully invest in the required infrastructure,” Mr Freeth said.
“The aim here is to move grain to market in an efficient, cost-effective manner that meets customer expectations.”
During the 16-week agricultural research scholarship program, Mr Freeth will visit the United States of America, Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Mr Freeth works in his family’s 5000 hectare mixed dryland farming and grazing operation near Collie in Central Western NSW with his parents David and Sue and brother Marc.
The property produces grain and fodder crops as well as running a 2000 head self-replacing Merino flock, prime lambs and a small cattle operation.
In recognition of the importance of building skills capacity, innovation and future leadership in the Australian grain industry, the GRDC has sponsored four Grains Nuffield scholarships this year.
GRDC northern region panellist Penny Heuston said Mr Freeth was a deserving scholarship recipient who was a keen supporter of research-based learning to improve farm production and farming systems management.
“The Freeths regularly host GRDC-funded trial work facilitated by organisations like the Grain Orana Alliance (GOA) to find research solutions to issues such as crop nutrition, windrow burning management and the use of integrated farming systems to control herbicide resistant weeds,” Ms Heuston said.
“Young, innovative growers like Andrew are an enormous asset to the Australian grain industry. Not only do they help find new solutions to on-going farming challenges, they help raise the bar on best farming practice.”
Mr Freeth was presented the scholarship in Launceston recently during the 2014 Nuffield Australia National Conference.
Nuffield Australia is an organisation which provides an opportunity to Australian farmers to travel overseas on an agricultural research scholarship.
The next groups will travel through New Zealand, Brazil, the USA, Mexico, the UK, South Africa, Kenya and Europe in March-April 2015.
As well as Mr Freeth, other recipients of GRDC-sponsored 2015 Grains Nuffield scholarships include Adam McVeigh (Dalby, QLD), Jock Graham (Coolac, NSW) and Reece Curwen (South Stirling, WA).
Kathleen Allan, GRDC Capacity Building Program Manager
02 6166 4500
Penny Heuston, GRDC Northern Region panellist, Warren
Andrew Freeth, Collie
Sarah Jeffrey, Senior Consultant Cox Inall Communications
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