GRDC report highlights farm practice trends

Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 29 Jan 2013

close up of wheat crops

A new Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) report provides an insight into on-farm practices used by grain growers Australia-wide.

GRDC farm practices project manager Jan Edwards, who co-authored the Farm Practices Survey Report 2012, said it outlined the adoption of key management practices, including in Western Australia’s central; eastern; mallee/sandplain; and northern agro-ecological zones.

“The GRDC invests about $150 million of grain levies and government funds each year in research, development and extension (RD&E),” she said.

“Of this, about $37 million is invested in farming practices RD&E to provide grain growers with better tools and information to enhance farm profit and sustainability.”

The publication is the second of its kind following a national survey of growers carried out by GRDC and Kaliber Research to capture information about farming practices in use on grain and mixed farms across Australia.

Ms Edwards said the report provided baseline data to monitor and evaluate which farming systems and practices were working well and where ‘gaps’ were evident.

“The report is a key source of information for identifying future investment opportunities to drive productivity, profitability and sustainability improvements on grain farms,” she said.

GRDC western grower services manager Darren Hughes said the report showed the percentage of farm income from winter cereals had decreased in parts of WA and Central Queensland, while showing an increase in other areas.

“Also, the percentage of wheat in the cropping mix has increased in many regions of Australia, notably in the central and eastern areas of WA, as well as in the eastern states,” he said.

Dr Hughes said most WA growers surveyed estimated the presence of subsoil constraints in more than 30 per cent of their crop.

Specific practices detailed in the GRDC Farm Practices Survey Report 2012 include:

  • matching land use to land capabilities;
  • reduced or no-tillage;
  • stubble retention;
  • crop rotation with pastures, oilseeds and pulses;
  • controlled traffic and precision agriculture;
  • nutrient budgeting and soil testing;
  • use of soil conditioners;
  • sowing dates;
  • managing water use efficiency; and
  • water budgeting.

To download the report, visit


PHOTO CAPTION:  The GRDC Farm Practices Survey Report 2012 shows the percentage of farm income from winter cereals has decreased in parts of WA, and Central Queensland, while showing an increase in other areas.

For interviews:

Jan Edwards, GRDC Farm Practices Project Manager
02 6166 4500

Darren Hughes, GRDC western grower services manager
0409 249 420


Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827

GRDC Project Code KAR00002

Region West, North