Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC): Extension of knowledge & resources to manage risk and exploit opportunities to improve whole farm profit through successful integration of cropping & livestock enterprises in the GRDC Southern Region

Many grain growers in the GRDC Southern Region would recognise the potential advantages and synergies of integrating both livestock and cropping enterprises into a mixed farming system. Recent low cereal grain prices and strong meat and wool prices have been the primary motivation for some growers to re-introduce or expand the size or intensity of individual livestock enterprises. It is generally recognised that mixed farms are frequently more complex in nature and therefore require a greater range of skills, a higher level of management and additional labour requirement relative to enterprises based upon continuous cropping only.  However, mixed farming systems offer a range of potential benefits including reduced input costs, an ability to reduce climatic and economic risks, greater income diversity, and increased resilience. A key constraint in many cases is the availability and suitability of present livestock infrastructure (e.g. fencing, waters, yards and wool sheds), much of which have not been well maintained, and the considerable generational decline in livestock knowledge, skills and experience.

The significant historic investment of GRDC in the Grain and Graze (G&G) program contributed to major advances in the applied understanding of ways to successfully integrate livestock and cropping enterprises on-farm.  A number of useful and practical tools, tips and resources (e.g. Ag Price Guide, Grain and Graze Risk and Decision-Making Games) were developed as part of the program.

The GRDC seeks to provide growers and advisers across the GRDC Southern Region with information and tools to identify opportunities and strategies to better integrate cropping and livestock enterprises and increase the profitability and resilience of the whole farm business. This will be achieved by conducting extension and communication activities to increase awareness and further extend the research outcomes, tools and information previously generated by the G&G program to build grower and advisor skills and knowledge, and drive adoption of improved management practices. The investment will also include strategic update and improvement of existing tools and resources as detailed in the project outputs.

Funding & Duration

A budget of up to $300,000 is indicated for this investment dependent upon the quality of the application, expected outcomes and the ability to leverage GRDC funds through additional in-kind and cash co-contribution.

This proposed investment would be undertaken over a two-year period from 1 March 2018 to 29 February 2020.


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