Grain grower raises the bar through innovation

Emerald grain grower Rhys Daniels isn’t satisfied with meeting industry standards — he aims to exceed them.
After completing the Grains Best Management Practices (Grains BMP) program, Mr Daniels developed an action plan to move the family’s enterprise at “Theresa Downs” to Above Industry Standard.
Grains BMP has been running since 2009 and is a joint initiative between Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. (FBA), AgForce and Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. The program helps grain growers benchmark their enterprise against the industry’s best practices and develop an action plan to improve their productivity.
Mr Daniels then attended AskGB and the Tim Neale Innovations Session, where he learnt more about Innovations grants supported by FBA through funding from the Queensland Government.
“The support we received in the Grains BMP Program, combined with the knowledge and advice from the additional workshops gave us the confidence to try something new,” said Mr Daniels.
“We successfully applied for Innovations Funding so we could receive both expert advice and financial support while we conducted our trials.”
Mr Daniels used the funding to purchase 10 years of satellite imagery of the enterprise’s paddocks and engage a consultant to compare the imagery to previous yield maps obtained from their header.
This comparison will accurately show where the enterprise’s most productive and least productive performance zones are on a fine scale.
“We will then test the soils in the different performance zones and determine if there’s an underlying reason for the reduced yields. If there is, then we can consider investing in variable rate applicators.
“If there’s not a significant difference in nutrient requirements across the zones then we’ve avoided investing in equipment that wouldn’t have increased our productivity,” he said.
Soil testing is a fundamental procedure for grain growers but combining it with fine-scale imagery and mapping data is a new way of evaluating productivity and potentially minimise herbicide and fertiliser use.
FBA Chief Executive Officer Paul Birch congratulated Mr Daniels for trialling and evaluating new techniques and is encouraging other grain growers to consider the opportunities the Queensland Government (QNRM) Innovations Funding can provide.
“Grains BMP and the QNRM Innovations Funding have fantastic potential outcomes for our region’s grain growers and anyone interested in tapping into this support is encouraged to contact us to discuss their involvement,” he said.
For more information about Grains BMP or the QNRM Innovations funding, contact FBA on (07) 4999 2800.