Mixed farmers in low and medium rainfall zones across Australia’s southern and western regions will be the major beneficiaries of a significant new collaborative research initiative.
The project aims to lift average farm profit by 10 per cent and halve farmers’ economic risk through the adoption of novel pasture legumes.
Grains Research and Development Corporation is leading the $16million project, which is focused on delivering gains to mixed farming operations in Victoria, South Australia, southern NSW and Western Australia.
GRDC received more than $5.5million through the Rural Research and Development for Profit program to invest in the project, which will comprise five integrated programs of work: legume selection, cropping systems, livestock systems, economics and farm modelling, and extension.
GRDC soils and nutrition (south) manager Stephen Loss said the project would develop recently discovered pasture legumes and innovative management techniques that benefit livestock and crop production and promote their adoption by mixed farmers.
‘‘This project is designed to boost the resilience of mixed farms — through the successful incorporation of pasture legume species currently not widely grown — in areas where average annual rainfall is less than 400mm,’’ Dr Loss said.
Among the benefits expected to flow from the project are increased livestock production and crop yields, improved whole farm business performance, enterprise flexibility, reduced inputs and enhanced resilience to frost, drought and variable prices.
At least 3500 farmers will be directly involved in research and extension activities during the project.