CRCNA Reference number: A.2.1819105
Total project value: $1,581,959
CRCNA funding: $ 299,989
GRDC funding: $300,000
Project length: 3 years
Completion date: June 2022

Participants:

  • Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF)
  • Fry Bloodline TM Trust

Research locations:

  • Georgetown, QLD

Summary:

This project will work with existing and new grain growers, and the agribusiness sector, within the Gulf River catchments to develop local cropping systems and agronomic skills.

Within the Gulf River catchments of north Queensland there is limited experience and knowledge around the performance and profitability of potential dry land and irrigated broadacre grain crops that could be grown. An understanding of the variability in this performance is critical in providing local landholders and potential investors with the knowledge and assessment of risk needed to develop appropriate grain cropping systems for the region.

The project team will work with existing commercial growers and agribusinesses, and landholders considering the growing of broadacre crops within the Gilbert catchment. A reference group (comprising landholders, agribusiness stakeholders, Etheridge Shire Council, CRCNA and Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and other cropping research project leads) will be established to provide guidance on the crop choices and agronomic questions to be addressed in the replicated field trial site within the Gilbert (Forest Home) and the on-farm commercial scale demonstrations established with collaborators in the Gilbert catchment.

Expected outcomes and impact:

  • Enhanced knowledge around the performance of grain crops of interest within the farming systems within the Gulf Rivers region – this will include an understanding of crop choice, agronomic practices, yield potential, yield variability and profitability.
  • Improved agronomic skill amongst landholders and their staff undertaking cropping within the region – this will enable achievement of the yield potential identified for the most promising grain crops within the region
  • The potential improvement in GDP of grain cropping in this region is conservatively estimated to be around $10 to $50 million p.a. from irrigated cropping alone (based on gross margin of $1000/ha and cropping areas of 10,000 to 50,000 ha).
  • Diversification of the agricultural sector in this region will increase the number of jobs within the region (for irrigated production this could be in the order of 4 FTE per 1000 ha – around 40 to 200 jobs directly).