A hugely diverse range of Australia’s agricultural industries are represented by twenty three leading young primary producers and managers awarded prestigious Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarships for 2017.
These new Scholars will undertake cutting edge research into agriculture and fisheries across the globe using a $30,000 bursary for a 16-week program of group and individual travel during 2017.
The scholarships were announced during the awards dinner at the recent Nuffield Australia National Conference, held in Adelaide, South Australia, where 300 delegates from primary industries gathered to network and hear the latest research findings.
Industries represented include rice, chicken meat, grains, fisheries, eggs, wine, livestock, wool, dairy, cotton and horticulture.
Global study tour research topics selected by the 2017 Scholars are wide-ranging, from balancing consumer concerns in egg production, prawn nursery technology, precision agriculture and the way forward for daughters and women in agriculture.
The total number of Scholars in Australia has now exceeded 400.
The 2017 Scholarship winners and their investors are outlined below and you can read more via their online profiles.
New South Wales
- Mark Groat, from Beelbangera near Griffith, has been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the RIRDC/Rice Research Committee. He will investigate rice grown under aerobic or non-ponded conditions in both the tropical and temperate zones. In particular, how rice can be included in crop rotation, the challenges of production and agronomy, and importantly, the supply chain logistics necessary to combat the inefficiencies associated with rice production in small areas.
- Jessica Pitkin from Singleton, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by RIRDC/Chicken Meat Research Committee. She will investigate environmental sustainability and a whole systems approach within the poultry industry, with a specific focus on alternative bedding sources and spent litter utilisation.
- Claire Osborn Booth from Geurie near Dubbo, has been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Rabobank. She will investigate two components of the transfer of farming businesses and their assets, mainly: If we focus on the transfer of knowledge rather than the transfer of the certificate of title or the shares in the family company, can we generate better outcomes for both the retiring farmer and the entering farmer?, and; Is the younger generations’ failure to enter or expand into farming linked to a lack of finance and business literary, and if so, how can the Australian context overcome this?
- Daniel Kahl from Wee Waa in the Namoi Valley receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Cotton Australia and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation. Daniel will investigate where the next generation of farm managers will come from and how quality candidates can be attracted to a career in farming.
- Stuart Tait from Mandurama, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Meat & Livestock Australia Ltd. He will investigate integrated beef and cropping systems, encompassing all facets of a farming operation combining beef cattle and broad-acre cropping; including dual-purpose grazing crops, soil and nutrient management, productivity optimisation and grazing management.
- Felicity McLeod from Wentworth in western NSW receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Australian Wool Innovation Limited, The Woolmark Company. Situated halfway between Broken Hill and Wentworth on the Great Anabranch Creek, Felicity will investigate how to increase income potential through diversification in Far-Western grazing enterprises, looking at utilisation of the natural resource base, flexibility in species mix and multi species infrastructure.
- Glenn Wormald from Guthalungra near Bowen, has been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. He will travel to successful prawn nurseries throughout the world and bring their knowledge and experience back to Australia where nursery technology is yet to be implemented.
- Alexander Nixon from Drillham near Roma, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by GRDC North. He will investigate how to make broad acre farming more sustainable, thereby avoiding many of the current issues faced by the industry.
- Luke Bradley, from Springsure (near Emerald), receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by GRDC North. He will travel to world-best farming enterprises with the aim to reignite Australian leadership in precision agriculture.
- Matthew Fealy from Mareeba, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Woolworths. He will investigate how the use of robotics in horticulture has the opportunity to revolutionise the industry.
- Daniel Meade, from Garvoc (near Warrnambool), receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the William Buckland Foundation. He will investigate industry representation and the importance of agriculture to rural communities. He plans to closely examine the most successful agricultural bodies in the world and the learning opportunities that may apply to the Australian agriculture context as a result.
- Chris Monnier, from Mornington, is awarded a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the Australian Egg Corporation Limited. He will investigate egg production systems, in particular, balancing consumer demand, population and consumption growth across cage, barn and free range systems.
- Brendan Hehir, from Wyuna (near Kyabram), receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation. He will investigate how to maximise the spread between the price paid for milk and the cost of milk production. His study will encompass a broad analysis of the best techniques and practices from around the world, enabling local farmers to adapt solutions for their own businesses.
- Tobias Bekkers from McLaren Vale, has been awarded a 2017 Nuffield Scholarship supported by Wine Australia, to explore world best practice in the marketing of fine wines directly to consumers. He seeks to understand how high-end brands both within and outside of the wine sector identify and interact with their target market.
- Jonas Woolford from Streaky Bay (near Port Lincoln), receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) and Nuffield South Australia. He will investigate cohesion between primary industry, community and government for the effective co-management of natural resources in the inherently complex seafood industry.
- Jamie Heinrich, from Parndana (on Kangaroo Island) in South Australia, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Primary Producers SA. He will investigate the key factors needed to attract and retain young people in the sheep industry. Jamie believes the industry has a bright future, but needs the right young people in the right places to help get it there.
- Cameron Kruckow, from Katherine, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the Australian Agricultural Company and ANZ Bank. He will investigate improving cattle grazing on his employer’s northern grazing operations by looking at different grazing strategies, including cell, rotational and time control, and how these are used internationally
- Lara Ladyman, from Katanning in Western Australia, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the CBH Group (Western Australia). She will investigate the ‘Future of Food’, from the lab to the paddock to the plate, which she says is about the technologies or drivers of change that will shape how, and what, we will be farming and eating in the future.
- Katrina Sasse, from Morawa (near Geraldton) has been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the GRDC West. She will research ‘the way forward for daughters’ and investigate strategies to encourage young women, particularly farmer’s daughters, to play an integral role in the continuity of family farm businesses, enabling them to survive and help rural communities thrive.
- Bao Duy Nguyen of Walkaway (near Geraldton), receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited. Bao will investigate the field of protective cropping in horticulture in low tech greenhouses, with an emphasis on monitoring technology and water sustainability practices.
- Robert Arvier, from Penguin (near Devonport), receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Westpac Agribusiness. He will investigate the economic and agronomic feasibility of the re-establishment of a sugar beet industry in South Eastern Australia
- Matthew Gunningham, from Mawbanna (near Burnie), receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the Australian Dairy Conference and Nuffield Australia. He will investigate people management and motivation, specifically how to build great teams in agricultural enterprises, many of which are getting larger and more geographically spread.
- Duncan Macdonald, from Yolla (near Burnie), receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Bonlac Supply Company and the Sylvia and Charles Viertel Foundation. He will investigate new collection and processing options for dairy data – how autonomous farm monitoring and decision making through low cost sensors and smart processing can improve farm efficiency and profitability.
More information from the 2016 Nuffield Australia National Conference, including photos, videos and reports will be available in the next couple of weeks.