Innovation needs a change

View From the Paddock


Calliope cattle producer, Will Wilson.

Calliope cattle producer, Will Wilson.

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What is innovation, and why is it always presumed producers are afraid or reluctant to implement or partake in its rollout?

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What is innovation, and why is it always illustrated in a manner that presumes we as producers are afraid or reluctant to implement or partake in its rollout?

If we look back in time it can be seen that things that are developed can create prosperity for producers and make life easier and more efficient.

If we reflect on how things were done in the early days, development was seen as a must so Australia could ride on the back of rural industry.

For instance, access to water and the ability to store enough to avoid animal stress or the ability to utilise land more efficiently, was at the top of the producers’ needs and expectations.

Things like this were not seen as innovation but part of developing the infrastructure to provide a prosperous future.

My father, Rod Wilson, who we unfortunately had to say goodbye to since my last article, spent his life experimenting with ideas and concepts to improve production and workplace health and safety.

Not all of these were successful but it didn’t mean he stopped trying.

Some of these were windmills and poly pipe for pumping rods – these have since been deployed and commercialised across most sub-artesian bores in Australia and now aren’t seen as innovation but as part of our operations.

He also enjoyed hydraulics and it has been introduced into nearly every machine on Calliope Cattle Co and in particular our stock crate, which carries the design of the full width ramp now utilised in all stock creates around Australia.

New things for industry aren't forever and we don’t need to be traditionally attached to the current and this is why industry is now utilising things such as solar as an alternative to windmills.

We as Australian producers are terrible for becoming traditionally attached to the past, but as history dictates, we are naturally innovative people.

As you look around the world we are dropping the ball when it comes to being at the cutting edge of industry.

Up until now, our product (beef) sits proudly atop butchery and supermarket selves as a clean, sustainable product and we didn't get there because our forebears saw innovation as a scary thing.

It needs to be embraced into our operations so we can sustain what they so proudly built for ourselves.

I’m not sure whether it’s time we expanded the English terminology used for new things to prevent 80 per cent of rural people running for the hills as soon as we mention a concept of change to what they see as normal.

There are exciting and different times ahead for us all but if we continue to be stuck in the past or take a traditionalist attitude about change, there won't be any more modern history created, because we haven't exposed ourselves to anything worth mentioning.

 – Calliope cattle producer, Will Wilson

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