profit through knowledge

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1 profit through knowledge

2 R&D Providers Funders Producers Policy Developers Proposals LWA MLA GRDC R&D Programs profit through knowledge A Collaborative approach Grain & Graze fosters a cooperative R&D approach to sharing information. This approach will encourage a wider adoption and application of existing knowledge by mixed farmers The transfer of R&D knowledge, tools and training to mixed farming businesses by research and development agencies is difficult when those agencies operate independently. This is especially so for the integration of R&D knowledge into whole-farm management and for the even greater demands presented by complex mixed farming enterprises. The Grain & Graze program is a partnership involving genuine collaboration between three leading industry and government rural research and development organisations. The program s three partners - Meat & Livestock Australia, Grains Research and Development Corporation and Land & Water Australia will invest $12 million funded by levies paid by farmers and the Commonwealth into Grain & Graze during the next five years. The program is the first producer- owned broker of whole-farm R&D knowledge, tools and capability for broadacre, mixed farmers to receive collaborative funding from the agencies. It is expected that Grain & Graze will also drive new research and development, often by building on existing projects, particularly those that research the financial and environmental impact of management practices on farms, farmers and their catchments. The bottom line: profit through knowledge.

3 Knowledge you can bank on More pasture, more grain and more sheep. Higher productivity during the pasture phase of a grain-sheep farming operation is a key outcome of management practices advocated by Grain & Graze. Grain & Graze is a unique, new research-based program that shows mixed farmers how to make more profit from crops, pastures and livestock, and at the same time, protect the condition and diversity of plants and wildlife. Greater use of deep-rooted pastures, and perennials in rotation with crops will assist producers to increase farm profit while helping to address major environmental problems such as salinity and soil acidity. Grain and Graze seeks to answer the following relevant questions: Q1: Which combinations and rotations of livestock with annual and perennial crops, pastures and other vegetation will; Increase profit through variable seasons and commodity prices, Reduce excess leakage of nutrients and water and increase production, Maintain, if not improve, soil condition (e.g. acidity, structure and erosion), Maintain, if not improve, on-farm biodiversity contributions Help to achieve catchment targets for the condition of natural resources? And Q2: What information, decision support tools, learning processes and incentives are needed to help address these issues and implement appropriate responses? The program will focus strongly on the challenge of how best to establish cropping and pasture rotations that can maximise meat and wool production, cropping yields and water use efficiency.

4 Indicates broadacre, mixed farming region A healthy bottom line About 90% of properties in the mixed farming zone of southern Australia farm some combination of wool, meat and crop production. It is estimated that the whole-farm knowledge shared by Grain & Graze will enable broadacre, mixed farmers to add at least an extra $5000 to net farm income per farm after five years. An increase in profit and productivity of the amounts aspired to by Grain and Graze across Australia s mixed farming belt could add as much as $100 million to the value of the nation s farm output. Grain & Graze will drive on-farm change to help achieve the following outcomes: A 10% increase in mixed farm productivity; driven by a 5% increase in grain yields and a 10% increase in livestock production Improved, or at least stable, condition for the natural resources on mixed farms; in line with regional or catchment targets Confident and knowledgeable mixed farmers, making decisions, using management tools which sustain production and promote biodiversity. To achieve these outcomes Grain & Graze will be delivering innovative R&D knowledge, management tools and training which enhance the financial and environmental health of mixed farms. It is expected that research, tools and training will involve consideration of: Pest and weed control Livestock performance Crops, pasture production & rotations Soil assessments, prediction of acidification rates and erosion Nutrient and water mass balances Modelling of performance under different environmental (e.g. climate) and financial (e.g. commodity price) situations Linking of farm to catchment impacts Tools to manage climate variability.

5 Sharing whole- farm thinking Grain & Graze will be hands -on There is a demand from mixed farmers for new whole- farm knowledge. They seek to better understand how their management of cropping and grazing affects profit and the environment. An important feature of Grain & Graze will be the substantial participation of farmers with researchers and catchment planners to design and implement onfarm trial and demonstration sites may also showcase incentive programs. The trial and demonstration sites may also showcase inventive programs run via the catchment groups. A key series of regionally based research sites will be linked nationally via ongoing communication and will be run with the support of local farmer groups. The sites will follow the same protocols for data gathering, analysis and modelling. They may also link with catchment modelling programs and investigations to map environmental risks at the regional level. Grain & Graze has specific and relevant objectives: More profit for mixed farmers (especially from the pasture phase in rotations) Better water quality (e.g. reduced re-charge by incorporating deep-rooted pastures) Enhanced condition and diversity of plants and wildlife (on farms and across catchments). These activities will be supported by a network of regional facilitators and a suite of extension and communication tools.these tools, which will draw upon knowledge from prior research and new findings from the program, will be developed by program partners to enable farmers to quickly apply the latest whole-farm knowledge for mixed farming systems. These extension and communication tools may include: Fact Sheets, Ute Guides & Training / Reference Manuals A web-site with contact links, fact sheets, reports, and decision support tools Forums, field days and farm walks for producers, researchers and catchment planners Industry / catchment programs delivering the knowledge and incentives needed for on-farm change Media releases and journal articles. More specifically, in the short term, these tools include the development of a Prograze module for mixed farming systems and enhanced extension packages for the management of selected pasture species, including lucerne and deep rooted annual pastures.

6 profit through knowledge Program Timetable Stage /02 Program Foundation Business & Operations Planning Strategy and Budget Development Identify R&D Knowledge Gaps Formalise Partner Roles & Funding Stage /03 Program Development Prepare Communication Strategy & Tools Consult with Prospective Program Partners Develop Extension & Training Modules Finalise Operations & Arrangements Stage /04 Program Launch Initiate Regional Research Projects Organise Farmer Groups & Networks Coordinate Field Days & Trial Sites Distribute Key Information Products Develop a baseline of Grain & Graze practice Generate Farm to Catchment initiatives Identify and support specific R&D Investment Themes Develop and Initiate Integration Actions Stage /05, 2005/06, 2006/07 Program Operations 2004/05 Increase Farmer Groups & Networks Identify R&D Knowledge Gaps Review On-Farm Trial Outcomes Drive On-Farm Adoption & Change 2005/06 Increase number of Farm to Catchment Initiatives Review and Strengthen Producer Network Update Industry Training Programs Support Producer Review of On-farm Trials Incorporate Knowledge from non-g&g projects - into G&G packages 2006/07 Evaluate the Economics of Emerging Farming Systems Monitor On-farm Adoption and Change (against baseline) Update Industry Training Programs Support a Range of Reviews of Program Initiatives Recommend Revisions to Farm Practice Recommend Revisions to Catchment Management. Stage /08 Program Wind-up & Review Monitor On-Farm Adoption & Change Commission New R&D Projects Issue Report on Program Outcomes Review Partners Agreements, Funding The mission To provide mixed farming enterprises in southern Australia with new, "whole farm" knowledge, tools and capability to adopt management changes that will increase production of crops, pastures and animals while maintaining or enhancing biodiversity and the catchment resources which sustain them. So, how do you get involved? Researchers, farmers and catchment groups are welcome to get involved with Grain & Graze. Grain & Graze is already consulting with Catchment Management Boards and farming systems groups across Southern Australia to identify the opportunities for collaborative regional activities under the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality. Grain & Graze will also involve active collaboration with the CRC for Plant-Based Management of Dryland Salinity. State and Federal departments and agencies, such as FarmBIS and the Natural Heritage Trust, which can provide funds and knowledge to and agencies wanting to contribute to Grain & Graze, are welcome to contact the program partners. Further information: Tel. (02) Tel. (02) Tel. (02)

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