If you are an Australian grain grower or adviser keen to expand your horizons, the good news is you can now apply for financial support for study tours that can help to generate new knowledge.
Popular Grains Research and Development Corporation's (GRDC) Grower and Adviser Study Tours, which were previously offered through two rounds each year, are now being offered and assessed on a continuous basis.
"The GRDC invests up to 50 per cent of the cost of these tours that favour groups pursuing a clear learning objective that will lead to practice change on farm," GRDC senior manager grower extension and communication Luke Gaynor said.
"The GRDC has moved to a continuous investment cycle for all research, development and extension investments. Study tour opportunities will now also be offered on a continuous basis, aligning with the investment process."
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Mr Gaynor says the GRDC is committed to generating leadership, innovation and education in the grains sector.
"These study tours will support growers and advisers to undertake study tours or related travel to gain new knowledge, learn new skills, build relationships and leverage GRDC's research investments," he said.
"Applications needs to demonstrate how proposed tours are aligned with the GRDC's purpose of investing in research, development and extension (RD&E) to create enduring profitability for Australian grain growers and how it fits within GRDC's RD&E Plan 2018-2023 https://rdeplan.grdc.com.au/.
"The criteria does not include providing support for groups to attend conferences or attend training, although conference attendance may be considered as part of a study tour application.
"It is a requirement that 75 per cent of group participants are growers."
Support may be considered for individuals who hold leadership positions in the Australian grains industry, and where the activity supports outcomes proposed in the Capacity and Ability Framework (for guidance see page 22 of GRDC'sRD&E Plan) and the benefit of GRDC support flows to the industry as a whole.
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Agronomy Focus consultant Quenten Knight, who is based in Esperance, WA, was among a group of growers and agronomists who participated in a GRDC Grower and Adviser Study Tour in 2018 that visited New Zealand's high rainfall Canterbury Plains area.
He is now encouraging other growers and advisers to apply for financial support for intended tours.
"Study tours are invaluable and allow you to meet growers and researchers, who are who are willing to share their experiences," Mr Knight said.
"This knowledge can help to fast track learnings that can be implemented or adopted in our farming systems to make them more productive, profitable and resilient.
"Study tours also build strong networks that can lead to continued learning and extension of information long after the trip has finished."
During the tour to the Cantebury Plains, Mr Knight's group investigated the management strategies involved in producing hyper-yielding cereal crops, including irritated systems.
Hyper-yielding wheat crops in the Canterbury Plains grainbelt can achieve yields of up to 16 tonnes per hectare, although more commonly the average yields are about 10 to 12t/ha.
"Obviously an irrigated system for cereals isn't practical for WA's broadacre cropping systems, but meeting with these growers was an inspiration and gave the tour group food for thought," Mr Knight said.
Following the group's return from New Zealand, a '10 Tonne Club' was formed to promote grower and adviser discussion to help implement tour learnings, with the aim of achieving 10 t/ha cereal yields amongst the study tour participants.
More information about the study tour to New Zealand's Canterbury Plains is available in a GroundCover™ article.
For more information about the GRDC Grower and Adviser Study Tours, visit the GRDC website.
GRDC Project Code GAD9175698