Local grain growers: win an overseas study tour worth $20,000

Posted by Janice Wong on 21st May 2010

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has launched a national program and competition offering growers a unique opportunity to visit some of the world’s leading grains research facilities. The program was made to recognise the achievements of the Australian grain-growing industry over last two decades, which includes improvements in farming practices, grain varieties, products and services that have positioned the nation’s growers at the forefront of global production.

The GRDC’s The Way We Were campaign encourages growers across the nation to step back in time and review the progress they have made.

In doing so, growers could earn themselves one of three overseas study tours to Syria, Russia, Mexico and the USA, each to the value of $A20,000.

The Way We Were program involves a search for growers’ personal stories and anecdotes about how their farming practices and the very landscape on which they operate have changed over the years, particularly as a result of industry investment in research and development.

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GRDC chairman Keith Perrett said substantial changes had occurred over recent decades.

“Many of these changes and improvements are a direct result of grower levies and funding from the Australian Government being invested by the GRDC in vital research and development,” Mr Perrett said.

“But a return on the investment of their levies in research and development is not always obvious, especially when that return is not immediately visible.

“In some instances, research projects are conducted over many years and the eventual benefits to growers from initial investment on their behalf can take significant time.

“Yet, in many cases, the return on investment is quite substantial – in terms of economic, environmental and social benefits.”

Mr Perrett highlighted a number of examples within the area of new and improved varieties.

“Yields have improved and costs to growers have reduced thanks to Cereal Cyst Nematode resistance in cereals and breeding for resistance to other diseases such as stem rust in wheat, ascochyta in chickpeas and beans and blackleg in canola.

“In terms of practices, GRDC’s involvement in no-till seeding systems through its support of no-till associations and field research has also had a positive impact, along with its support of growers groups throughout the country.”

Research and extension of delayed nitrogen application, which has benefited growers in the higher rainfall areas, was another example of return on investment by GRDC.

Mr Perrett said The Way We Were program and competition was designed to provide a platform for recognising the changes in the Australian grains industry over the 20 years since GRDC’s inception.

“Reflecting on the industry’s gains from a grower’s personal account of changes and advances at a grass-roots farm level provides a very real picture of just how far the industry has come over the past two decades.

“The Australian grains industry helps feed Australia and the world – the achievements of this industry, and the dedication and innovation of Australian grain growers, are worthy of recognition and acknowledgement.

“It’s time for the industry to celebrate its tremendous progress, and to capture this progress we’re giving Australian growers the opportunity to tell their stories.

“So, I urge growers and their families to gather around the kitchen table, get out the photo albums and the farm records, and to have a chat about how much things have changed on their properties and in their lives.

“I think many will be amazed when they take stock of the differences that have evolved over that time.”