THE next five years of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has been laid out in its Research Development and Extension Plan (RD&E), which looks to propel growers and the industry forward.
The plan looks at where the GRDC can improve the industry and to "consider what we should start, accelerate, continue, or stop investing in," the report said.
GRDC is currently looking for feedback on its draft plan, created from more than 120 hours of grower interviews, roundtable discussions, workshops, online surveys and email feedback.
Under the 2023-28 plan, GRDC has pledged to invest in RD&E to harness existing potential through core investment to remove inefficiencies, deliver incremental gain, manage risk and maintain grower profitability.
The plan focuses on four strategic pillars: harnessing existing potential, reaching new frontiers, growing markets and capturing value, and thriving for future generations.
The grower interviews undertaken by the GRDC raised some pressing points, such as the importance of pushing towards the next agricultural revolution.
'"Business as usual' won't cut it as we move into a future of tighter margins, uncertain climate, market volatility and changing consumer expectations," a submission said.
"We need better than 'business as usual.'"
In response to this, the GRDC said it would increase grower returns and mitigate risk through allocation of fixed and variable costs to production and profit potential.
It also plans to accelerate the deployment of digital agriculture, automation and robotics to make better decisions, drive precision and efficiency.
"But importantly, in response to industry calls for bolder and more ambitious RD&E, our plan also seeks to deliver the next big breakthrough - the next no-till practice, auto-steer technology, semi-dwarf wheat or profitable break crop - by increasing investment in the discovery of new practices or technologies to reach new production frontiers," the report said.
Throughout the industry, it is recognised that the full potential of crops isn't always realised, and "yield stability is the main game," according to a farmer submission.
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Through education, GRDC hopes to ensure growers are equipped to optimise crop nutrition, manage and improve soils, as well as be proactively prepared for biosecurity threats.
Another key feedback was that GRDC needed to support market access and help farmers better understand market, price and post-farm costs to grow and capture value.
"We need to think beyond commodity prices and consider our grain in terms of its 'value': who wants it, why, and how can we supply the product they'll pay more for?" a submission said.
In response, GRDC said it would create opportunities to add-value or differentiate Australian grain and grain products to provide a competitive advantage or increase grower margins.
Sustainability and climate change were also a topic of discussion, as farmers were concerned about securing their ability to farm in the future - from both a profit and social acceptance perspective.
"Climate change is both a threat and opportunity," a submission said.
"The threat is in dealing with seasonal variability, but the opportunity is in doing things better than our competitors to find a sustainable path to GHG (green house gas) reduction."
GRDC said it aimed to support growers in their transition to alternative energy onfarm and build grower confidence to baseline the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of their enterprise.
A key barrier is information transferal, as many solutions already exist to problems but they "get lost in all the noise of everything else we have to deal with as growers," said a farmer's submission.
Through information sessions, often run by GRDC during the quiet times of harvest, they hope to bridge this information gap and ensure the newest innovations are being utilised on farms.
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