You are reading: Farmers share on-farm research success stories in new booklet

Farmers share on-farm research success stories in new booklet

Farmer stories that demonstrate the utility of rigorous on-farm experimentation in improving profitability have been released to the Australian grains industry. Author: CCDM Media Release Mar 28, 2024 Read Time: 3 minutes

Farmer stories that demonstrate the utility of rigorous on-farm experimentation in improving profitability have been released to the Australian grains industry.

The new ‘On Farm Experimentation Grower Case Studies’ booklet is a result of the On-Farm Experimentation project led by Curtin University’s Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM) and highlights the value of farmer-led paddock-scale trials using farm equipment to find solutions to nutrition management.

Project leader and CCDM researcher Dr Julia Easton said the research team worked with three farmers from Merredin, Nyabing and Kojonup in co-designing, developing and analysing their paddock-scale experiments.

“When talking about translation of research into practice change, it is well known that farmers learn best from other farmers,” Dr Easton said.

“That’s why case studies such as these are so important, where growers can share their positive experience in experimenting on farm, and help other growers do the same, leading to significant practice change throughout the industry.

“Thanks to this project we can now progress the development of a simple online tool that allows growers and their advisors to visualise, analyse and experiment with their own data and own equipment.”

CCDM Director Professor Mark Gibberd said on-farm experimentation has become an important element of practice change, where on-farm experiments address problems in a manner that optimises the utility of research outcomes.

“By engaging farmers from start to finish, undertaking the experiments at large scale with farm implements and embracing the impact of natural variation within the production system, the results are directly applicable and amenable to meaningful economic analysis,” Professor Gibberd said.

“In short, the research outcomes are trusted, applicable and adoptable.”

The case studies follow the experiences of three growers who each had a nutrition problem they wanted to solve.

Each of the growers saw significant value in spending time on getting the right advice and experimental set-up to ensure results can be used to increase profitability.

Merredin grower Mick Caughey said being part of the On-Farm Experimentation project enabled him to look closer at Variable Rate Technology, with many growers in his region not using it due to the low rates typically used to manage nutrition in his area.

“But it does make a huge difference. We’re using the same amount of fertiliser, but we’re using it a lot differently than we have previously; we can accurately target areas cost-effectively that need different rates,” Mr Caughey said.

Results from Mr Caughey’s on-farm trials, his reaction to the results, as well as the experiences of Nyabing grower Ty Kirby, Kojonup grower James Heggaton and former advisor from CSBP fertilisers Luke Dawson are now available in the online version of ‘On Farm Experimentation Grower Case Studies’, found here:

Chief executive of Food Agility CRC, Dr Mick Schaefer, said; “The recently launched Agri-Analytics Hub is one legacy of this project, which will see growers use a web-based platform to account for natural variation in the landscape. This ensures analysis gives a clear answer on best practice.”

“Food Agility is proud to partner with the participants of the projects to deliver data-driven solutions to ensure a profitable and sustainable future for Australian agricultural production,” added Dr Schaefer.

More information on the Agri Analytics Hub can be found here:

CCDM is a national research centre co-supported by Curtin University and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

This work was funded by the Food Agility CRC, Curtin University, the State Government of Western Australia through the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Innovation and Science and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, and NGIS Australia. The work was also supported by CSBP and leading farmers from the WA wheatbelt.

Want to receive latest news and updates direct to your inbox?

Fields marked with * are required.
By clicking the button you confirming that you agree with our following Terms and Conditions.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.