Birchip founder honouredThree win GRDC Nuffield awardsGround Cover mirrors industry advance

In recognition of excellence: Ian McClelland, left, receives his "Seed of Light" award from the GRDC"s southern panel chairman, Ian MacKinnon

The ongoing success of the Birchip Cropping Group (BCG) in improving the profitability and viability of farmers in Victoria"s Mallee and Wimmera regions has been recognised with the presentation of the GRDC"s "Seed of Light" award to the BCG"s founding chair, Ian McClelland.

The GRDC"s "Seed of Light" Award recognises excellence in grains R&D communication, and was presented to Mr McClelland at the 4th Crop Science Congress in Brisbane by GRDC southern panel chairman Ian MacKinnon.

Photo: In recognition of excellence: Ian McClelland, left, receives his "Seed of Light" award from the GRDC"s southern panel chairman, Ian MacKinnon.

Mr McClelland has been chairman of the BCG since its formation in 1993. With his brother Warwick, he farms properties totalling 7800 hectares in the Birchip, Mortlake and Swan Hill districts of Victoria.

He is a board member of Marcus Oldham College at Geelong, an honorary Senior Fellow of the Institute of Land and Food Resources - Crop Production (Melbourne University), and in 1998 was the recipient of the Hugh McKay Innovators Award for Excellence in Agriculture and Resources.

Mr MacKinnon said BCG had become one of Australia"s leading farmer-owned and driven groups, and now had a membership of more than 500 families covering northwest Victoria, South Australia and NSW.

"Much of the success of BCG can be attributed to Ian," Mr MacKinnon said. "The group"s aim is to improve the profitability and viability of all farmers in the region, resulting in prosperous businesses and industry contributing to prosperous towns, pride in the region and a commitment to furthering the good of the community.

"Over one four-month period in 2003, BCG attracted more than 3000 visitors to its trials and projects.

"The BCG"s direction towards excellence has largely been a result of Ian"s leadership, vision, enthusiasm and constant concern for enhancing the productivity of Australian graingrowers."

GRDC Program 6

top of page

Deep tillage and nutrition, cropping rotation"s impact on yield and precision agriculture are a few of the areas being studied by the winners of the three GRDC-sponsored 2004 Nuffield Scholars.

They are Mark Branson, from Stockport, SA; Simon Turnbull, from Warren, NSW; and Mark Modra, of Port Lincoln, SA. Their awards were announced on 8 October in Canberra.

Together with eight other winners from around Australia, these Nuffield Scholars will undertake a six-week study program next year that will see them tour Australasia, Europe and North America before they pursue individual study programs based on their own interests.

The Australian Nuffield Farmers Scholars Association chairman, Brendon Smart, said:

"We are focused on developing the practical, managerial and commercial capacities of each scholar to enable them to be better farmers and to make a significant contribution to the future of Australian agriculture."

GRDC Research Code: NUF00007, program 6

top of page

This December issue marks several milestones for Ground Cover, achieved over the past 12 months.

Firstly it represents a move from five to six issues a year; a significant step up to reflect the need to maintain a high level of coverage of the increasing activity and innovation that is occurring in the grains industry.

It is also 12 months since Ground Cover started being published by Coretext Pty Ltd and its team of experienced science and grains industry writers under editor Brad Collis.

In that time there has been a distinctive change in style and direction aimed at reflecting the increasing professionalism that now exists at all levels of the grains sector.

Ground Cover has set out over the past 12 months to create a platform for the industry"s brightest thinkers and innovators, to champion the science and research taking place in laboratories and on farms and to provide everyone in this industry with a sense of belonging to a community - a community of professionals.

Vic DobosGround Cover is managed by Maureen Cribb and Vic Dobos (left) in the Product and Service Delivery (PSD) Program, which is responsible for communicating research activities to growers, and for promoting the rapid adoption of research outcomes.

This vital communication role has been enhanced by the changes made to Ground Cover, and the enthusiastic feedback from growers and other industry professionals has demonstrated that Ground Cover is becoming increasingly valued.

In the coming year Ground Cover, and its specialist supplements covering specific areas of research and innovation, such as Precision Agriculture (August issue) will continue to develop through enhancements in design and content.

Through the PSD program, the GRDC is committed to excellence in its delivery of all services, particularly R&D information, to the grains industry - one of the most exciting sectors of the Australian economy and the Australian community.

For more information: Inquiries about PSD and Ground Cover can be directed to Vic Dobos, program manager, GRDC, 02 6272 5525.
GRDC Research Code: COR00003, program 6