McFadyen advocates practical research to combat challenges
Author: Ellen McNamara | Date: 17 Dec 2015
Andrew McFadyen is a firm believer that there’s a solution for every challenge.
With a lifetime of experience in the northern grains industry, he’s encountered his fair share of production challenges but at the same time, he has seen the enormous contribution that practical and targeted research, development and extension (RD&E) makes to the development of effective solutions.
Mr McFadyen grew up on his family’s property at Lake Cargelligo and is now based at Coolah in central western New South Wales as cropping manager and agronomist for the Paspaley Rural portfolio of properties.
His agronomy background and infectious enthusiasm and passion for the grains industry have led to an involvement beyond the paddock with former roles on the Central East Research Advisory Committee and NSW Farmers Coolah branch, current roles as a board member and chair of the Grain Orana Alliance and a recently appointed member of the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) northern panel.
“I’m passionate about the grains industry, its innovation, resilience, potential profits and I am also inspired by the people,” he said.
“I grew up on the family farm, and have kept my boots dusty for 16 years as a private and now corporate on-farm agronomist and I have to say the challenges and opportunities across both sides of our industry are not dissimilar.
“This experience prompted me to put my hand up to join the panel, and hopefully the knowledge I have gained in different roles over the years can be used to help drive innovation and research in our industry.”
Mr McFadyen sees Australia’s capacity to supply high quality and nutritious food to a growing global population as an unprecedented opportunity for the northern grains industry into the future.
“Other opportunities lie in further developing our cropping and herbicide technology and furthering the pathology and entomology knowledge and expertise that we’re exposed to,” he said.
“By really analysing how we can improve and innovate across all the elements that go into growing a crop, I believe the opportunities are endless.
“Our research and extension professionals are second to none and with the guidance support of the panel I believe RD&E will drive our future profit.”
Maximising future profit will hinge on the development of workable long-term solutions to key challenges such as “where to now” with zero till systems and the escalating issue of herbicide resistance, according to Mr McFadyen.
“The evolution of minimum and zero till has been critical in providing us with the ability to capture and store soil moisture, reduce erosion and grow crops with confidence, but now we have the conundrum where we are seeing herbicide resistance increasing.
“So the herbicides that allowed us to set up our no till cropping systems are now starting to break down and that’s a huge challenge to us as growers, advisers and researchers.
“We need our systems to be profitable of course, but they also need to be sustainable. Our herbicides need to be effective and we need to preserve our valuable soils.
“The panel has no one important role, we need to be the glue between all the elements of our essential RD&E to ensure the GRDC charter is met, and that our research can become a tool in the shed for the growers.”
For more on Mr McFadyen’s involvement on the GRDC northern panel, follow the link on the GRDC YouTube channel.
0427 002 162
Ellen McNamara, Cox Inall Communications
0429 897 129