Grains productivity focus of new report

31 May, 2010 12:11 PM
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NEW varieties, better use of technologies and improved soil science are some of the priorities identified by Western Australian growers and consultants as areas which could boost productivity in the grains industry.

These priorities are outlined in the recently released report Harvesting Productivity: ABARE-GRDC workshops on grains productivity growth, produced by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE).

The report is part of the major research initiative "Harvesting Productivity", conducted by ABARE for the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

The aim of the initiative is to better understand the drivers of productivity in the grains industry and how research and development can contribute to productivity growth.

GRDC western panel chairman Neil Young said the reason for the initiative is that productivity growth in the grains industry appears to have slowed over the past decade.

“Drought has been a major reason for this downturn, although other factors have contributed,” he said.

The new report is based on findings from a series of workshops held last year with grain growers and farm consultants in production zones across Australia.

“Participants across the regions suggested that areas which should be targeted in the future to increase productivity include better extension efforts to communicate research findings, the development of better varieties and improving farmers’ abilities to manage risk,” Mr Young said.

“Ultimately, the GRDC plans to use the findings from these workshops and other projects under the 'Harvesting Productivity' initiative to help decide which areas of research to invest in.”

Growers and consultants at the Perth workshops identified the following areas as drivers of future productivity gains:

  • New varieties
  • GPS technologies, zone management and yield mapping
  • Increased knowledge flow to farmers
  • Improved soil science and use of nutrients
  • Using rotations
  • More widespread adoption of zero-tillage farming
  • Diversification
  • Improved understanding and training in sophisticated farming systems
  • Variable rate technology

The Harvesting productivity: ABARE-GRDC workshops on grains productivity growth report is available on the Latest Releases page of the ABARE website, www.abare.gov.au

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