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Manage risk & opportunities to improve farm profit through integration of cropping & livestock in the Southern Region
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The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is a statutory corporation established under the Primary Industries Research and Development Act 1989. It is subject to accountability and reporting obligations set out in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. It is responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing research and development, and delivering improvements in production, sustainability and profitability across the Australian grains industry.
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 investment facilitated change, delivering increased efficiency of crop and pasture rotations, practical and applied knowledge regarding the grazing of crops and stubbles, and assisting to better inform decisions in complex mixed farming systems. Whilst the latest findings from this research and the tools and resources developed by G&G were promoted during the extension phase of the program, additional communication and extension is required to raise awareness and drive broader grower adoption. An initial review of past communication products and extension activities, pathways and methods employed to disseminate information as part of G&G extension phase is proposed as an informative first step to inform and target future extension and communication activities. This review would help identify gaps, additional geographic areas to target with novel extension methods, and guide the delivery of targeted communications to promote adoption among new audiences of growers and advisors across the GRDC Southern Region.
The ability of growers and advisers to understand and capture opportunities to build and utilise a more robust feed base through improved integration of cropping and livestock enterprises is limited by access to existing information. Useful data on the dry matter production (growth rates and seasonality) and average feed value of common pastures, winter crops, and other feed sources (e.g. hay, stubble and grain types) has been generated as a result of existing R&D investment. However, the production, availability and value of feed bases on a farm depends on the farming system and seasonal conditions, and collating and making existing research outcomes more widely available would assist growers to understand the value of feed resources and to better match these to animal requirements. Quantifying the available feed source for a number of different rotations and seasons would enable growers and advisors to estimate their potential livestock carry capacity and performance, and understand the financial impact of a range of scenarios. The ‘C Farm’ decision-support tool was constructed as part of the G&G program but it is recognised that this could be further developed and upgraded to meet the identified needs of growers and advisors. This should include a comparison of the quantity and quality of feed bases across a range of farming systems and seasons and determination of the relative effects on livestock carrying capacity and performance and overall farm proft. It is important that the practical implementation and usefulness of this and other relevant tools and resources are disseminated to growers and advisors to inform decisions and management and hence further extend research outcomes from the G&G program for maximum impact.
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.
By October 2019, an additional 300 growers and advisors across the GRDC Southern Region will be aware of, understand and have the confidence to implement on-farm new information, tools and strategies to better integrate cropping and livestock enterprises and increase the profitability and resilience of mixed farming businesses.
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. The GRDC is focused on delivering value to Australian grain growers; therefore, your application must demonstrate fair market value.
Applying for GRDC investments is now done using the GRDC Grains Investment Portal. Once registered, users can visit the Portal anytime.
To register as a user, please visit https://access.grdc.com.au/
- Click on the register button at the top right side
- Complete the Registration Form. Fill in all the fields: your email address, a password and the captcha. Your password must be alphanumeric with at least one special character (i.e. not a letter or number. Click register to continue the process.
- Registration is confirmed by the system sending an email to you, with details to complete the registration process.
- Once the registration process is complete, you can sign in and review all investments open for tender.
Once you have located this investment, you can commence the application process by completing the details for each field available, until you reach “Submit Application” on the last page.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact Denni Greenslade – Business Support Team Leader via email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the online support function available.
1. The Applicant must be a single legal entity or recognised firm of partners.
2. The Applicant must be financially viable. For the purposes of this condition, “financially viable” means that the Tenderer has not had any of the following events occur in respect of it:
a. a meeting of creditors being called or held within the past five years;
b. the appointment of a liquidator, provisional liquidator or administrator within the past five years;
c. the appointment of a controller (as defined in section 9 of the Corporations Act (2001)), or analogous person appointed, including in respect of any of its property within the past five years;
d. a failure to comply with a statutory demand in respect of the payment of any debt;
e. an inability to pay debts as they fall due or otherwise becoming insolvent;
f. becoming incapable of managing its own affairs for any reason;
g. taking any step resulting in insolvency under administration (as defined in section 9 of the Corporations Act 2001);
h. entering into a compromise or arrangement with, or assignment for the benefit of, any of its creditors, or any analogous event.
3. The Applicant and any proposed subcontractor must be compliant with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012
4. The Applicant must include in its application details of any known circumstances that may give rise to an actual or potential Conflict of Interest with GRDC in responding to this procurement. The Applicant's response will be taken into account in the evaluation
1 March 2018 to 29 February 2020
By portal submission only at https://access.grdc.com.au/