A significant shift away from growing the “best” crop to growing the most “profitable” crop will define the future for the grain industry, according to Arthur Gearon.
The fifth-generation grain grower from Queensland’s Darling Downs brings a strong economic focus to his new role on the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) northern panel.
Based at Chinchilla, Mr Gearon operates Bealla, a 1500ha cropping and cattle property with his wife Nikki and parents Paul and Naureen.
The young grain grower said innovative research and new technology were driving change in the paddock with family-owned grain enterprises becoming increasingly more strategic and focused on improving yields and, in turn, profitability.
“The grains industry is vibrant and will be vital for food production into the future, but the strength of that future really lies in our ability to adapt to challenges such as climate change and variable markets,” he said.
“Being at the forefront of Australia’s global grain industry is an exciting place to be, and being part of the GRDC northern panel enables me to be at the research front as well, helping drive change and improve profitability into the future.”
Mr Gearon said research development and extension were critical to the future of northern grains production.
“Producers are constantly being pushed at both ends in producing grain and making a profit. The only driver there to push them forward and progress is research and developing that on farm through extension is crucial,” he said.
“One area of particular interest to me is herbicide resistance and how we, in a research sense, pursue that issue and identify what solutions are open to us.
“It may not be in a drum, it may be a new form of technology potentially robotics, microwave or steam, and that has the capacity to be a major game changer for agriculture and grains.”
Mr Gearon said as a young producer with a family history in the sector and a diverse network of contacts he was keen to utilize and develop his skills as part of the GRDC northern panel.
“The panel needs to listen, to be the eyes and ears of the GRDC on the ground,” he said.
“We will be a focused voice back to the GRDC so producers are being heard and at the same time, we will be making sure the GRDC’s work is getting back to the producer and being applied on farm.”