CROP research in the tropical north needs to be driven by growers according to Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC), chairman, Bruce Finney.
Speaking at the Northern Food Futures conference in Darwin, Mr Finney called for a interactive process whereby growers could come together to raise their crop research concerns.
“We would really like to see a forum or process, by which we could engage and really understand those needs,” he said.
“That is the way we have really operated for over sixty years as a cotton industry, it is grower driven, so we are looking for those opportunities to engage.
It has really followed the commercial drive of individual businesses and farmers experimenting
“This conference is fantastic, but how do we do this in an ongoing fashion.”
Mr Finney said any such forum would need to be grower driven, not put in place by the research and development corporations alone.
“I think the growers need to form the forum that works best for them,” he said.
“We don’t want to be piecemeal in our approach, we don’t want to be missing people that have an interest because we don’t know them.”
Mr Finney said while he understood the geographical challenges of bringing people together from across tropical Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory, it was still important to forming a two way conversation.
It’s often not about the money, it is about the talent and how we share that resources between established and new areas
“We would love to see a process where growers came together across the north and informed us of their research needs,” he said.
“And equally help us in communicating the current research and the results from research to all those people interested in growing the north.”
Mr Finney said a northern investment needed to be strategic.
“It’s often not about the money, it is about the talent and how we share that resources between established and new areas,” he said.
Mr Finney said while there was a number of pathways through which the RDCs build collaborations, he felt when it came to developing northern Australia the best start was a conversation.
“I think in this instance it is about starting with conversations,” he said.
“Talk to the RDC that aligns best with your cropping or production interest.”
Mr Finney said the CRDC had a 20 year history of investment in northern Australia, with about $7 million invested over 25 projects.
“It has really followed the commercial drive of individual businesses and farmers experimenting,” he said.
“We have a new strategic plan and a strategic interest in supporting the improvement in productivity and profitability through optimised farming systems and sustainable development is a key part of that.
“Some of the investments we anticipate are around testing and providing information on the social, environmental and economic viability of new farming systems.
“That could be in northern Victoria, it could be in northern Australia, we are committed to doing that.”
- Sharon O’Keeffe travelled to the Northern Food Futures conference as a guest of major sponsor ANZ.