People on the move

GRDC Goondiwindi Update fills house + PICS

Liz Wells, March 1, 2023

Around 280 attended the opening day of GRDC’s 2023 Goondiwindi Update held at the Waggamba Community Cultural Centre.

THE Goondiwindi Grains Research Update is back after a three-year absence, and has drawn growers, agronomists and researchers from as far away as Central Queensland and Canberra to be part of the event.

Hosted by the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the two-day program attracted close to 280 people to hear the latest on projects and issues affecting growers in the heartland of Australia’s summer and winter-cropping region.

In opening the event, GRDC grower relations manager northern Vicki Green made reference to the COVID-related suspension of the annual event from 2020 to 2022.

“There is an absolute buzz in the air, with us not being together for the past couple of years, and you can’t put a value on that,” Ms Green said.

While GRDC chair and local farmer John Woods and GRDC managing director Nigel Hart were unable to attend due to the concurrent two-day GRDC Update in Perth, GRDC and its research partners were well represented.

GRDC general manager applied RD&E and Northern Regional Panel member Peter Carberry was among the host organisation’s numbers, as were three others on GRDC’s 10-strong northern panel: West Wyalong grower Roger Bolte, and independent agronomists Peter McKenzie and Graham Spackman.

NGN connects

In his address, Dr Carberry provided some detail on the National Grower Network, a GRDC initiative announced last year.

“It is about creating opportunities for all of you in the room to access the resources GRDC has to invest in localised responsive RD&E to benefit local growers and advisors,” Dr Carberry said.

He said the NGN has put a mechanism in place that allows growers and consultants to approach GRDC in relation to a particular issue, and get a speedy response.

“What we’ve done is create an investment pathway here (so) that our grower relations managers.…need one signature to get investment out of GRDC.”

Dr Carberry said the NGN eliminated the steps needed for larger investments, and GRDC was running forums to help determine issues the NGN could help address via a “nationally consistent” system.

“That opportunity’s in front of everybody here to think about ‘what do I need?’”

He said the NGN followed on from the work done in the southern and western regions by the Regional Crop Solutions Network, and in the northern region by the Grower Solutions Network.

“It’s really being adaptive to what will work.”

Ms Green said GRDC would relish the opportunity to speak with businesses or grower groups on how to deploy NGN.

“Please come to us if you see an opportunity and we can start the discussion.”

Diverse expenditure

Through a combination of grower levies and Federal Government funding, GRDC in 2021-22 invested $177.1M in research, with projects aimed at improving yield and yield stability receiving $70.3M and comprising the biggest chunk of funding.

Dr Carberry outlined the four pillars of GRDC’s soon to be enacted 2023-28 RD&E plan, which relate to harnessing existing potential, reaching new frontiers, growing markets and capturing value, and thriving for future generations.

“We’re already investing significantly in sustainability outcomes, but…we have to be more open and out there in promoting the industry and promoting how sustainable the Australian grains industry is.”

“I think the board in appointing Nigel Hart…signals we really do need to look beyond the farm gate; it’s not just research, development and extension.”


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