Considering the possibilities in farming

Chair's Breakfast Michael Robertson
Louisa Ferrier

The future of Australian farming was the topic of discussion at the BCG Chair’s Breakfast on Thursday the 5th of October, with guest speaker Dr Michael Robertson, CSIRO’s Director of Agriculture and Food.

CSIRO is Australia’s national science agency with research ranging from technology and space to plant sciences, natural disasters, food production and environmental impact, with few research organisations in the world as wide-ranging.

Dr Robertson’s presentation was about How farming might be re-thought and he explained how CSIRO conducts research which “supports existing industry and works to create new ones”.

The 45 attendees were encouraged to consider the possibilities in farming, with Dr Roberston asking: “Where does your mind go to if cheaper energy was available on farm or in the production of urea?”

“Or instead of having large machinery on farm, swarms of smaller bots were used to apply herbicides, fungicides and fertiliser as they are in China,” Dr Robertson added.

Other current areas of research include investigating alternative end uses of low-quality cuts in the meat industry, where traditionally, 80 per cent of carcass value is only made up from 20 per cent of the product.

He noted three current projects that included BCG; the high impact long coleoptile in wheat research, canola establishment and the RiskWi$e project.

Other relevant CSIRO research projects were discussed including one based in Queensland that is looking to quantify the social benefits of grower groups and another, the Digital Agriculture Service, a free resource for farmers which has mapped every paddock in Australia.

BCG Chair John Ferrier thanked the audience for their attendance and Dr Robertson for making the trip from Perth to share his expertise.

In closing the event, BCG Senior Research Manager, Dr Yolanda Plowman remarked on the obvious synergies between CSIRO and BCG and how the ethos of people, profit and planet are clearly shared common goals: “We have a great history of collaborative work with CSIRO and I hope this continues into the future.”

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