Sustainable grain production courses sow the seeds of expertise for tomorrow's harvest

Author: | Date: 13 Oct 2010

Sustainable grain production courses sow the seeds of expertise for tomorrow’s harvest

• GRDC-funded sustainable grain production course invests in tomorrow’s industry experts in southern region
• Participants educated in the ever-increasing complexities of modern grain production and marketing

Future grain growers and other industry personnel are being equipped with the knowledge, skills and expertise to enable them to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
Funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), the innovative Sustainable Grain Production course is being offered as a Graduate Certificate or Diploma through the University of New England (UNE). 
The course provides specialist training in grain production and marketing to increase the ability of growers and others to thrive in a highly competitive and increasingly regulated environment.
Craig Birchall, Lecturer in the School of Environmental and Rural Science at UNE, says the ideal of maintaining profitability and productivity whilst conserving and enhancing natural resources poses significant challenges for today’s growers.
“Sustainable farming techniques, particularly in terms of the efficiency with which we use land, water, nutrient and energy resources in agricultural production, will be vital in overcoming the challenges of today and the future,” he said.
“This course provides future agricultural advisors, consultants, agronomists, grain handlers, researchers and growers with the knowledge to prosper long term.”
The Sustainable Grains Production course is taught by distance education, with residential schools in regional centres in the GRDC Southern Region, such as Horsham, Wagga Wagga and Adelaide.
The course covers four core study areas:
• Grains production: plant breeding, crop morphology and physiology, soil characterisation, health and management, tillage systems, plant nutrition, water management and precision agriculture
• Crop protection: weed, disease and pest management, pesticide resistance, chemical application and pesticide legislation, grain quality and product integrity, grain industry biosecurity
• Grains and environment: ecology and sustainability of grains systems, crop and pasture rotations, environmental impacts and management, native vegetation and soil conservation, legal issues, property management and planning
• Grains industry systems: quality assurance, occupational health and safety, human resource management, socioeconomics of grain production, grain processing and products and marketing and finance
The course is jointly co-ordinated by people experienced in research and extension in the Southern Region, Neil Fettell in Condobolin and Felicity Harrop in Bendigo. To find out more about these courses, contact Craig Birchall on 02 6773 2721/0427 327 721, Neil Fettell on 02 6895 1008 or Felicity Harrop on 03 5442 3629.

Editor’s notes:
• For more information contact Porter Novelli on 03 9289 9555 or email
• GRDC Project Code: UNE00015 -
• This media release and other media products are available via

GRDC Project Code UNE00015

Region South