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GRDC invests in Nuffield scholarships to boost grain business capacity

Nuffield scholar for 2018 Boyd Carter, of Wubin in Western Australia, will study how growers can prepare for increased autonomous technology on-farm with the aim of producing a how-to manual for farmers. This will help facilitate improved business management.
Photo: GRDC

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is supporting the next crop of grain industry leaders by investing in growers leadership capacity.

These leaders are fundamental to a strong grains industry, capable of championing policies that directly affect not only a growers profitability, but also the increasingly important need for social licence.

GRDC head of corporate affairs Kylie Dunstan says the corporations long-running support of the Nuffield Australia Farming Scholars initiative was an important investment in leadership.

The GRDC supports up to three farming scholars each year, recognising the importance of ensuring our leading farmers get the chance to travel and study, she says.

Importantly, the scholars communicate their leanings back to other growers.

"This is both through traditional and social media, as well as participation in the GRDC updates.

Many graduates of this program will go on to add value to the grains industry through their participation in GRDC grower panels, networks or boards.

Ensuring the grains industry has a pool of skilled leaders is vital for its enduring profitability and success.

Nuffield Scholars undertake research across the globe using a $30,000 bursary for a 16-week program of group and individual travel.

Boyd Carter, WA

2018 Nuffield Scholar of Wubin in WA, grower Boyd Carter - pictured above - says during his Nuffield scholarship he studied the 'robotic revolution' and what growers can do to prepare for increased autonomous technology on-farm.

Mr Carter, who co-manages 12,000 hectares of owned and leased land near Wubin, in the eastern central wheatbelt of WA, says following his studies he aimed to write a manual to help growers incorporate autonomous technology into their businesses.

Stuart McDonald, NSW

2018 Nuffield Scholar from Canowindra in NSW, grower Stuart McDonald, says he used his 2018 Nuffield scholarship to research how continuous cropping with the aid of livestock can be sustained in a high-rainfall environment.

Operating a based mixed-farming business with sheep, cattle and cropping on 1363ha, Mr McDonald believes planting winter grazing crops for livestock feed can enhance soil mineral and nitrogen uptake in subsequent crops.

Mr McDonald sees continuous cropping with livestock production as an opportunity to extend pasture productivity, reduce overgrazing, decrease financial risk and enhance whole-farm profit.

2018 Nuffield Scholar Stuart McDonald, from Canowindra, NSW.

2018 Nuffield Scholar Stuart McDonald, from Canowindra, NSW. Photo: GRDC

Dylan Hirsch, WA

2018 Nuffield scholar of Latham in WA, grower Dylan Hirsch, says his time was used to research financial risk-management systems in variable climates by comparing multi-peril crop insurance to other systems of financial risk management. This included weather derivatives, index insurance products and diversifying locations of cropping areas.

Mr Hirsch, who grows 6180ha of wheat, canola, barley and lupins, says he hopes the development of financial risk-management systems might open up capital required to invest in agronomic improvements and to increase production.

2018 Nuffield scholar Dylan Hirsch, from Latham, WA.

2018 Nuffield scholar Dylan Hirsch, from Latham, WA. Photo: GRDC

A the annual Nuffield conference for 2018, the 2017 GRDC scholars - Alexander Nixon, of Drillham in Qld; Luke Bradley, of Springsure in Qld; and Katrina Sasse, of Morawa in WA - presented their study findings.

The 2019 GRDC Nuffield Scholar is grower Andrew Sargent, of Crystal Brook in SA.

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