Summer grains set to take centre stage in March

Author: Sarah Jeffrey | Date: 01 Feb 2016

a large field of sorghum grass

The enormous contribution summer grain crops make to the productivity and profitability of Australian farming systems will be in the spotlight in March during the 2016 Australian Summer Grains Conference.

Being held at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast from March 7-9, the Australian Summer Grains Conference will showcase five grains – maize, soybean, sorghum, sunflower and mungbeans - and will attract growers, researchers, marketers, crushers and customers from across Australia.

An exceptional line up of international and Australian speakers will address delegates on the latest innovations in grain production, crop protection and marketing with topics covering farming practices, agronomic research and development, information technology, farm business management, human resource management, biosecurity, product end-use and advances in commodity marketing.

The theme of the conference `securing our future’ is a direct reflection of the grains industry’s on-going quest to improve productivity, product quality and profitability.

Platinum sponsor, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), is at the forefront of delivering productivity and profitability gains to Australian summer crop producers through strategic investments in research, development and extension (RD&E) projects – many of which will be showcased during the conference.

GRDC northern panel chair James Clark said the conference represented an invaluable opportunity to communicate some of GRDC’s key summer crop research initiatives, particularly in the three to eight year investment area timeframes of agronomy, weeds, nutrition, diseases, soils, farming systems and pests.

“This investment is a result of years of engagement with industry over areas which offer the greatest potential to lift productivity or reduce production costs,” Mr Clark said.

“Some of Australia’s leading scientists who are collaborating on GRDC-supported projects will be presenting on the progress, results and benefits to industry of the innovative research work being undertaken to help combat growers’ most pressing production challenges.

“For GRDC’s investment to deliver maximum value at a paddock level, it’s critical that this work is communicated to growers, advisors and the broader grains community and the Australian Summer Grains Conference offers that ideal touch-point with industry.”

Conference chair Maree Crawford said new and emerging technologies would be a major focus of the conference with discussion centering on the potential ramifications for Australian crop production, global food security and on-farm efficiency, viability and sustainability.

“New technology is the way of the future and we’ve seen some massive advances in digital, mechanical and new chemistry technology in recent years,” Ms Crawford said.

“New technology will transform the way we farm and it’s imperative that industry keeps one step ahead of the game in order to reap the benefits of progress at the paddock, processing and marketing levels.

“The speaker line up will be inspiring, entertaining and engaging as well as extremely practical. There’s something for everyone in the program.”

Keynote speakers include nationally renowned science and technology enthusiast Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, rugby league identity Wayne Bennett, United States rancher Kent Martin, Colby AgTech founder Chad Colby, DuPont Fellow Mark Cooper, innovative southern Queensland grower Rod Peterson, Charles Sturt University professor of agriculture Jim Pratley and mental health advocate Alison Farleigh.

The conference will also recognise the contribution of individuals to industry with the GRDC-sponsored Women in Agriculture award, a national farmer award and a national industry award, the Elders-sponsored national industry and farmer award, and Outstanding Contribution to Industry awards for each of the five crop groups.

A highlight of the conference will be the announcement of the Australian Summer Grains Conference 2016 Agronomist of the Year, who will win the prestigious Zoe McInnes Memorial Award Study Tour. The award was initiated in recognition of popular Landmark agronomist Zoe McInnes, who was lost to the industry in a farming accident in 2013. 

Ms Crawford said a new element had been added to the conference program this year in a bid to help growers and advisors navigate the legal components of farm business management.

“To add further benefit to agronomists, farmers and industry we have engaged three respected presenters to conduct a half day workshop on the first conference day, covering the risks and legal aspects of agribusiness, the implications for giving advice and managing both business and family partnership relationships and disputes.”

For more information on conference registration, speakers or agenda visit, click here or keep up to date on Facebook.

Contact Details

For Interviews

James Clark, GRDC Northern Panel Chair
0427 545 212


Sarah Jeffrey, Senior Consultant Cox Inall Communications
0418 152 859

GRDC Project Code GCS10971

Region North