By GRDC Northern Region panellist Jules Dixon
Few would disagree that the business of farming can be challenging given that it is significantly influenced by seasonal conditions, commodity prices and declining terms of trade.
However there is little point in focussing on those factors which we can’t control; it makes far greater sense to target the areas of farm management that can deliver returns in productivity and profitability.
Proficient and timely agronomic management is one of the key drivers of crop profitability and there are a myriad of tools available to help growers make informed choices on crop and varietal selection, crop rotation, plant available water capacity and soil/plant nutrition while managing the risks of pests and diseases.
These practical tools are complemented by a wealth of statistical data which is continuously gathered, analysed and interpreted through projects like the Statistics for the Australian Grain Industry (SAGI) project supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
This enables the use of `best practice’ statistics for Australian grains industry research, improves the cost-efficiency of research and enhances industry confidence in and adoption of research findings.
This science is vital to the accurate interpretation of trial results and forms the analytical basis for GRDC projects like the National Variety Trials (NVT).
This type of analysis is invaluable at a paddock level. It enables growers to weigh up their crop and varietal options against the backdrop of their individual production environments.
Utilising the available science to make farming system and crop management decisions not only gives a sound basis on which to manage and minimise production constraints, it is one of the best ways to maximise yield and therefore gross margins.
It’s an area that organisations like the GRDC has invested heavily in over the past 20 years, generating a wealth of trial data and extension initiatives which ensure that the science and `best management practice’ recommendations for all major crops produced in the northern region are comprehensive and easily accessible.
The GRDC is driven by the aim of delivering dollars to growers’ pockets through targeted and effective research, development and extension – the challenge is for growers to capitalise on this investment by using the science to raise the bar on production and profitability.
Caption: Jules Dixon, GRDC northern region panellist.
Jules Dixon, GRDC northern region panellist
0429 494 067
Sarah Jeffrey, Senior Consultant, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827