[ASC-media] HARVESTING BENCHMARKING: Crop Doctor

BRENDON CANT brendon at iinet.net.au
Wed Jan 16 01:09:34 CET 2008


HARVESTING BENCHMARKING


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Harvest is over and it’s time to relax and enjoy a well-earned break.

 

But during the down time, please consider this: knowledge is power and to
get knowledge, you need information.

 

The grains industry has no simple or direct means of measuring and tracking
the adoption of desirable farm management practices.

 

Yet, to manage a business there has to be information and for this and other
reasons the grains industry has developed a simple system to gather
information about on-farm practices.

 

The National Farm Practices Database Survey is organised, managed and run by
the GRDC, with support of the Grains Council of Australia.

 

Dr Martin Blumenthal and Alan Umbers are developing a grains industry
environmental plan as part of a Sustainable Industries Initiative project
supported by the Australian government.

 

The plan is to identify key issues and the environmentally sustainable
farming practices that will assist growers to deal with them.

 

Mr Umbers has worked to build a database that will assist this by tracking
the adoption of these practices.

 

He describes the database as a powerful tool that allows assessment of the
adoption of farming practices around Australia and enables the industry to
more effectively report on the extent of use of the most sustainable
systems.

 

In return, each grower who provides their farming system data receives a
report showing how their farm and practices compare with others in their
shire and region and the degree of progress made in terms of production and
sustainability.

 

This gives the industry data to chart trends driving productivity and
sustainability and allows for evidence-based responses. 

 

At farm level it allows farmers to see how they compare with others, in
areas including: water use efficiency, yields, rotation, fuel use, area of
pasture and native vegetation, area of soil susceptible to salinity and
erosion and basic soil parameters, such as water holding capacity, pH and
organic carbon.

 

There are few formal means of tracking performance and showing that there is
enhanced sustainability of production and resource stewardship.

 

For example, a 2001 census showed WA had around 80 per cent adoption of
no-tillage and showed significant grain production, even during the drought.

 

Growers are encouraged to ‘have a go’ at the survey. Most questions can be
answered from memory and it only takes 30 minutes or so.

 

For your personalised, detailed and emailed report, visit  HYPERLINK
"http://www.farmingpractices.com/"www.farmingpractices.com and click on Data
Entry Form under Data and Practices in the left column, or the “Download
 Now” link in the main window.

 

About 600 growers, representing two million hectares of information, have
already contributed to the database. As more contribute data, the more
accurate the report will become.

 

Data on fuel and fertiliser use, livestock, tillage and soil types will be
used to develop a greenhouse gas profile for the farm.

 

The information will allow everyone, from farmers, consultants and
researchers to government authorities, to evaluate the industry’s
environmental and production profile and to better identify areas of need.

 

www.grdc.com.au

 


The Crop Doctor is GRDC Managing Director, Peter Reading, Tel 02 6166 4500


Further Information: Alan Umbers, Tel 0428 432 557, 02 6295 9428

GRDC REF: CDDec073.doc/Blumenthal

Brendon Cant & Associates
Public Relations & Marketing 
Suite 5
4 Gugeri St
Claremont WA 6010
Tel 08 9384 1122
The information in this email is privileged and confidential and intended
for the use of the individual named.

 

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