Harness existing potential
Aspiration: Hitting yield and profit targets, across every paddock, every season.
To profitably realise existing production potential across paddocks, farms and seasons, we need to integrate, deploy and adopt what we know or have in the pipeline.
Investment against this strategic pillar will aim to build and protect yield in a way that maximises profitability, assisting growers to adopt solutions considerate of the complex nature of farming systems. An improved understanding of grower behaviours and drivers of adoption will support effective implementation to consistently reach yield targets and manage production risk. Investment should help inform key profit driving decisions, enable growers to respond to seasonal conditions and overcome system inefficiencies to improve average gross margins and manage downside risk. The focus areas under this strategic pillar include:
Right crop and cultivar
Informed sowing decisions are critical to bridging the gap between actual and potential grain yield. Growers require access to fit-for-purpose crops and varieties that are adapted to environment and situation. Information and knowledge of crop and varietal performance and phenology are critical in understanding variety and crop selection trade-offs to inform grower decision making. Pre-breeding and breeding investment that complements private sector activity will continue to be a major focus to address constraints to high value crop area expansion and support incremental yield improvements.
Biosecurity, weed, pest and disease control
Weeds, pests and diseases continue to impact yield, restrict crop choice and inhibit growers’ ability to meet grain receival requirements. Sustainable and
integrated management and biosecurity preparedness will continue to be required to manage endemic and exotic threats. Over the past six decades, grain production has advanced rapidly through the adoption and safe use of synthetic chemistry. But increased regulatory costs, resistance, changing social and market acceptance and challenges in discovery are driving an increased need for new non-chemical approaches to weed, pest and disease control – hailing a new era in plant protection. Investment aimed to accelerate the discovery of new and novel control options and reduce dependence on traditional crop protection chemistries will be important. Recognising the individual responsibility of every grower regarding biosecurity, rapid, accurate and costs-effective detection tools and knowledge to bridge critical gaps will be required to help prepare for and protect the grains industry from current and emerging threats.
Optimise crop nutrition and improve soils
Nutrition is critical in building crop yield and remains one of the highest variable costs for growers, so optimising crop nutrition and efficiency of nutrient use is critical for profitability. Responsible nutrient management also has important implications for sustainability and the environment through nitrous oxide emissions and potential for nutrient movement into water. While much previous research has been undertaken in the area of nutrient management, strategies that increase confidence in fertiliser decision making, optimise return on nutrient spend and minimise losses to the environment will continue to be important as growers incorporate other innovations into their systems.
A focus of the plan will be investment to rapidly deploy solutions that optimise the efficiency of nitrogen use in modern farming systems, including opportunities to further improve biological fixation and opportunities to better match nutrient supply to soil type. Accelerating the adoption of existing amelioration, mitigation or tolerance solutions to overcome the impact of soil constraints on plant water uptake, including soil salinity, sodicity, low pH, aluminium and other nutrient toxicities, will also be a major focus. This includes sharing of knowledge and best practice across the country as well as RD&E to overcome the unintended consequences of amelioration and support adoption.
Systems integration for reliable profit
Greater focus on understanding how innovations may be brought together into the farming system is critical to fast-track development and adoption of applied solutions that meet growers’ needs. Recognising that all growers and farms are unique, and a one-size-fits all approach is not appropriate, investment will focus upon quantifying the value proposition of a range of possible solutions. This work will highlight important considerations and trade-offs to help growers make better decisions, manage risk and have the confidence to adopt and profitably implement practice changes and technologies.
Investment will be targeted at informing key profit driving decisions and practices identified through benchmarking, considerate of whole of business implications and trade-offs in mixed farming systems. An improved understanding of grower behaviours, drivers and barriers to adoption will be applied to tailor farming system investment and extension activities that accelerate the speed and area of adoption of practice changes and technologies.