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Rural Skills Training

Diversity of courses at your fingertips For many small area landholders, training in rural and agricultural knowledge and know-how has largely been an on-the-job undertaking, but more recently, a diverse offering of courses have become available in the classroom, in the field and online. “The changing agricultural environment has influenced the demand for education services,” says Rural Skills Australia general manager Tony Dwyer. “There is a plethora of agriculture-related courses being offered across Australia, with many shirking traditional formats such as through school, TAFE or Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), agricultural colleges and universities in favour of flexible learning and...

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Driverless tractor wows at major Australian field days

Unveiled last year at the Farm Progress Show in the United States, the New Holland NHDrive concept autonomous tractor wowed crowds at major Australian field days. The tractor is a driverless machine, which can perform a wide range of farming tasks day and night. The Australian market is well known for its early adoption of innovation so it is natural that this technology would be showcased throughout Australia during peak field day season. Bringing the tractor to Agquip, Henty, Yorke Peninsula and Elmore Field Days was part of a roadshow celebrating 100 years of tractors for New Holland. The...

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Capitalising on the quinoa superfood trend

Surging global popularity of the ‘superfood’ quinoa has put the plant front and centre of new research by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation as part of the Corporations New and Emerging Industries R&D program. Quinoa is a gluten-free carbohydrate containing all of the essential amino acids and is a great cooking ingredient. In response to the growing interest in quinoa, RIRDC-funded research has explored opportunities and challenges related to quinoa production and marketing systems across the country to better inform growers of the crop’s potential. New resources have been developed to share insight into the suitability of...

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Owning machinery versus hiring contractors

Should a farmer always own their own gear? What are the alternatives? What is the trade-off between owner-operator performed tasks and hired contractors? These are some of the questions many small area farmers are faced with year-on-year, but some straightforward calculations and considerations can make the decisions a little easier. ‘’When considering whether to buy machinery – especially big-ticket items like tractors, seeders, sprayers and so on, farmers should not only consider the capital cost of the equipment but also consider their seasons, the risk of delays to seeding, spraying or harvest and the associated penalties and then assess...

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Smart farms investment fund launched

In an environment where Australia needs to be increasingly competitive in international trade, and consumers are more discerning than ever, Hort Innovation has launched a multimillion-dollar smart production systems fund. Set to benefit all horticultural growers, the new initiative will comprise investment in projects that increase farm productivity through greater crop intensification, protection and disruption. Hort Innovation chief executive John Lloyd said the grower-owned research and development corporation was looking to partner with suitable co-investors and research providers – such as universities and technology companies – to deliver a host of new projects. “The Australian horticulture industry is stronger...

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