John Bennett is a grain grower at Lawloit, between Nhill and Kaniva in Victoria’s medium rainfall zone West Wimmera region.
John’s background is very much all farming. Once he completed his VCE he became a partner in the family business and was involved in that business until 1995 when he and wife Allison decided to venture out on their own.
They now run a mixed farming operation across diverse soil types. The farming system is 70% to 80% cropping, with cereals, oilseeds, legumes and hay being grown.
John has broadened his agricultural experience and knowledge over the years by visiting and working on farms in other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, France and North America.
A member of the Birchip Cropping Group (BCG) Wimmera Advisory Committee, John joined the GRDC Southern Regional Panel in September 2015, having been approached to consider applying for a position.
“I had been involved with the GRDC’s Regional Cropping Solutions Network (RCSN) and I enjoyed the process of that. I enjoyed the interface between farming and the issues and actually seeing the issues being addressed,” John says.
“I wanted to contribute something to the industry which I am actually very passionate about and I was at a stage where I thought I could do that (become a Panel member). For me, it was about contributing.”
John has long recognised the important role the GRDC plays in delivering positive outcomes for growers through its targeted investment in research, development and extension.
“I have always been really pro GRDC and I think they’re one of the best things that we’ve got going for us as farmers. I attend the grains research Updates and I love reading 'Ground Cover' to keep up to date with the latest developments in the grains industry and to read about what other growers are doing to advance their farm enterprises.”
In terms of cropping challenges prevalent in his own region, John says weeds are the “perennial issue” confronting growers.
“Herbicide resistance is an issue we’ve been struggling with for the past 10 to 15 years. Other constraints of concern are climate variability, rising costs and frost.”
John says all aforementioned issues are being addressed by the GRDC through significant research program investments.
John has a strong desire to see the agricultural sector promoted as an exciting career path for young people and to see research and development investments promote resilient and sustainable farming systems that ultimately deliver more profit to the farmer.
He encourages growers who are experiencing problems within their farming systems to bring these issues to the attention of the GRDC, either through their local RCSN members, their nearest Panel member or by contacting the GRDC directly.
M 0429 919 223