Farm profits in spotlight at summer grains conference

Grain Central, June 26, 2019

WHAT does a futurist, an ‘unbreakable’ farmer and the Betoota Advocate have in common? They will all be presenting at the 2019 Australian Summer Grains Conference on the Gold Coast in Queensland on July 8-10.

While engaging key speakers are a feature of the event, the conference will primarily showcase five grains – maize, soybean, sorghum, sunflower and mungbean – and will attract growers, researchers, marketers and customers from across Australia.

The theme of this year’s event, ‘Enduring farm profitability’, is a direct reflection of the grains industry’s on-going quest to improve productivity, product quality and profitability.

International and Australian speakers will address delegates on the latest innovations in grain production, crop protection and marketing, with topics covering farming practices, agronomic research and development, information technology, farm business management and advances in commodity marketing.

Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) grower relations manager – north, Susan McDonnell, said the conference offered summer grain growers, farm advisers and the broader grains community a valuable opportunity to stay informed.

GRDC grower relations manager Susan McDonnell said the 2019 Australian Summer Grains Conference would offer grain growers, farm advisers and the broader grains community a valuable opportunity to stay informed. (Photo: GRDC)

“The enormous contribution summer grain crops make to the productivity and profitability of Australian farming systems will be in the spotlight in July during the 2019 Australian Summer Grains Conference,” Mrs McDonnell said.

“The conference represents a valuable opportunity to communicate some of GRDC’s key summer crop research initiatives, particularly in agronomy, weeds, nutrition, diseases, soils, farming systems and pests.

“Some of Australia’s leading scientists, who are collaborating on GRDC research investments, will be presenting to growers, advisers and the broader grains community the research results that aim to help combat the most pressing challenges on-farm.”

Conference committee vice chair and farmer from Warra in Queensland, Brendan Taylor, said the conference was a “must-attend” event for growers.

“The Australian Summer Grains Conference brings together all aspects of the summer grain industry, allowing farmers to get the latest information on topics including breeding, farming systems and markets from both local and international speakers. It’s also a great place to catch up with farmers from other regions”, he said.

This year, the conference will be opened by guest speaker Paul Higgins from Emergent Futures.

Professor Higgins is a nationally-recognised futurist who makes predictions for the future based on current trends.

He has a degree in Veterinary Science, a Bachelor of Animal Science (research) and a Masters’ degree in Strategic Foresight.

Prof Higgins will be sharing his thoughts on future disruptions to business models and how the grains industry should be thinking longer term.

Warren Davies, otherwise known as ‘The Unbreakable Farmer’, is another guest speaker at this year’s event. Mr Davies will share his journey of piecing back together his life and the lessons in resilience, persistence and determination he learnt along the way.

The closing plenary speakers will be Clancy Overell and Errol Parker, editors for The Betoota Advocate which is well known for its satirical articles on current news and social observations.

Betoota Advocate editors, Clancy Overell and Errol Parker.

Based in the Queensland Channel Country, The Advocate and its editors, pride themselves on reporting upon the news and current affairs without fear or favour.

Since making the transition to the online space, the paper has grown from strength to strength, boasting more readers than publications like The Australian and the Fin Review, without having to desert their regional base.

This year the conference has several international speakers including Victor Campanelli, from the Paschoal & Campanelli Group in Brazil.

The Paschoal & Campanelli Group is currently one of the largest beef cattle confiners in Brazil, where annually they slaughter about 60,000 head of cattle.

The Group also produces a large quantity of wet grain silage to meet the food demand for the confinement cattle.

Mr Campanelli is the current president of the group and often presents in the United States on the Digital Ag work they perform at their Santa Rosa Farm which is the Trimble Farm Lab in Brazil.

Other international speakers include Fred Bellow from the University of Illinois who will be presenting on corn and soybean success and Rafael Cano from Stoller Brazil who will be discussing biological solutions.

Australian farmers are well represented on the program including Oscar Pearse, Bryce Camm, Luke Bradley and James Hayllor, along with many respected researchers, agronomists and industry participants.

The GRDC Conference Gala and Industry Awards Dinner on the evening of Wednesday, July 10, is the final event of the conference.

Winners of numerous awards will be presented on the night, including the Zoe McInnes Memorial Agronomist of the Year Award, the Ben Coleman Memorial Farmer, the Rising Star Award, Women in Agriculture Award and the Elders Innovation in Technology Awards for both Farmer and Industry.

The third State of Origin rugby league match will be shown on a big screen throughout the evening.

The Australian Summer Grains Conference is being held at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast from July 8-10.

For more information or to register for the event go to




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