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Countryman (Western Australia)
February 27, 2014
More innovation needed for agriculture to prosper
Grains Research Development Co-operation chairman and NSW farmer Richard Clark says WA farmers are a great example of the industry's prosperity, but Australian agriculture needed to invest in improvement tor for the nation to prosper.
Mr Clark is from Tulloona, on the black soil floodplains of NSW, where he and his wife Barbara run an intensive 1340ha specialist grain enterprise, focusing on summer and winter cereals, pulses and oilseeds.
He has relied on minimum-till farming since the early 1980s and controlled traffic farming since the 1990s, now completely using zero-till farming practices.
I believe that family farming is the future of farming in Australia, Mr Clark said.
We're going through the constant change required of family farms.
Mr Clark said because of investment in research and development it was now possible to grow wheat in more places.
In 1974, when my father passed away, people said you would never grow wheat west of the Newell Highway, he said.
Now they are growing wheat 250km west of the Newell Highway.
Mr Clark said that was solely due to farming system improvements and research and development in agriculture.
GRDC was trying to, and in his view was, succeeding at being a very local organisation with national horsepower behind it, he said.
I think one of the ways we can operate best is by making sure we extract value from the scale and to identify the priorities at a very local level, he said
Mr Clark said the GRDC could maintain a connection with farmers in their area and their priorities the local connection.
We're constantly focusing on new priorities, he said.
At the moment we're putting a very big effort into frost in trying to solve that very limiting factor, which affects so many farmers.
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