Resilient and profitable grain enterprises the focus of SA forum
Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 07 Aug 2018
Opportunities to generate profit growth within South Australia’s grain growing enterprises will be explored at a farm business forum this month.
The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is hosting a Farm Business Update on August 17 at Glenelg where topics such as emerging technologies, climate-based decision-making, whole farm enterprise economics, maximising mixed farming returns and the economic role of export hay within farming systems will be on the agenda.
GRDC Grower Relations Manager – South, Darren Arney, says the Farm Business Update will be an important forum for discussing the economic implications of practice change by growers and adoption of new technologies.
“Beyond the day-to-day tactics that growers employ to address agronomic issues on-farm, opportunities exist for growers to build profitability through new strategic approaches to their farming systems,” Mr Arney said.
“The rationale for change must be underpinned by economic considerations, and those factors will be very much a focus of this Farm Business Update.”
Futurist Paul Higgins will be the opening keynote speaker at this year’s forum where he will discuss emerging technologies and understanding their fit and likely impact within the State’s grains industry. Mr Higgins, of Emergent Futures, will guide those attending through the process of understanding how an emerging technology could have relevance and application to an individual business.
The role of climate uncertainty in growers’ on-farm decision-making will be the focus of a presentation by consultant Barry Mudge, of Barry Mudge Consulting, who will discuss the impact of speculation when it comes to making critical decisions about the season.
Evaluating how to maximise returns in a mixed farming system with livestock will be explained by South Australian Research and Development Institute (a division of Primary Industries and Regions SA) researcher Jessica Crettenden. Ms Crettenden will detail outcomes from a nine-year study (a GRDC investment) at Minnipa on the Eyre Peninsula which examined the impact of grazing in a low rainfall environment on crop/pasture production, soil health and returns.
The importance of using a whole farm economic perspective in understanding all the ways that farming systems decisions impact across a business will be outlined by David Cann of La Trobe University who will refer to a study of the value of long fallow in the Victorian Mallee.
Anashka Farms’ Tom Robinson will discuss the use of stripper fronts and disc seeding in creating resilient farming systems, while the contribution of export hay as a risk management strategy in farming systems will be explored by Mike Krause from P2P Agri.
A panel comprising Sam Trengove (Trengove Consulting), Michael Moodie (Moodie Agronomics) and CSIRO’s Rick Llewellyn will provide insights into an investigation of the methods and return on investment of soil amelioration practices on sandy soils to achieve long-term improvement of production capacity.
They will discuss outcomes from trials and economic analysis of the work undertaken, and will participate in a question and answer session which will include a focus on amelioration strategies growers can employ to improve productivity from sandy soils.
Closing keynote speaker will be Alison Kennedy from the National Centre for Farmer Health who will provide practical insights on dealing with and managing stress when faced with uncertainty or adversity.
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