A WORD FROM THE CHAIR: Business Not as Usual

It seems our lives are on pause coping with COVID-19, however, in the agricultural space, we are endeavouring, with the modification of on farm operations, to continue to produce food for Australia and the world.

The workload on farm recently has been as normal as possible, with the grading of lambs and dispatching to the supermarket and ensuring that livestock are well fed and healthy. For those who are shearing and crutching it will present challenges with physical distancing, protecting contractors and their staff, as well as ourselves, from coronavirus while adhering to guidelines set out by the government and relevant authorities.

We are sowing vetch as part of the cropping program, as well as ensuring that the paddocks designated for pulse, cereals, oilseeds are in the best possible condition for seeding.

Logistics and the procurement of chemical, fertiliser and fuel are basically in place to plant the crop, however, securing our in-crop supply of chemicals and nitrogen for this season could present challenges for achieving the best possible outcome for crops.

Of benefit to the farming industry is the increased commodity prices, for those holding onto last year’s grain, and the projected prices for the coming season are looking promising as well.

The exception is the wool industry, which is suffering due to lack of consumer demand. Logistics and the process of wool scouring to produce yarn throughout the world will be reduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the past two months, our way of life has dramatically changed, to an extent we could not have predicted. The social impact on how we interact and communicate with family, friends and the wider community and the way we conduct business has changed. No face to face meetings, no sports events, no parties.  We will see long term change that will challenge us, but the positive outcome will be new opportunities to be creative and innovative, not only in the agriculture industry, but in communities, in medical science and business development.

BCG are doing everything we can to ensure that our 2020 trials and extension program continues, but this will look different from how it has in the past. Many employees are working remotely, and all upcoming events and meetings have been moved online. Sowing for the trials program started this week, with members of the research and operations teams split into teams of three. These teams will not change, in-person interactions between the teams have been minimised and recommended social distancing practices are being carried out by all members of staff. These new strategies have been put in place to allow the team to run the 2020 trials program, without putting them at risk of infection.

Tough times bring us back to what is important in our lives. Our family and friends, our health, our community, our business and us supporting one another.

On a personal level, I hope you and your families are safe and well.

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