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Newsletter: NSW Report

By Guy Hebblewhite, 2013 Scholar and Chair

December 2018

At the time of writing this report in November 2018, season conditions across NSW have marginally improved with some rain in September, however warmer temperatures and hot winds have placed most of the state not looking forward to summer.  Most areas have been hand feeding livestock for almost 12 months and in some areas even longer.  Hay supplies have been exhausted from close states with most now coming from WA and NT.  Northern and some southern parts of the state have managed to jag a crop which will be keenly contested come harvest.

As a result, most farmers and potential Nuffield scholars were otherwise preoccupied with the drought and decided to not pursue a scholarship this year.  The two days of state interviews normally was reduced to one day in 2018 with 12 interviews taking place.  Five  NSW scholars were chosen to head to Nationals.  Four were chosen by the selection panel based on their merits with two formally awarded from NSW due to scholarship availability issues.  A very frustrating process when numbers were already the lowest for a long time.

AGM and Tour – March 2018

Our AGM was hosted at Orange in March and thanks must go to 2015 Scholar Fiona Hall for a great itinerary. The tour group visited the new GATE facility in Orange and learnt about all things Agtech.  Also on the itinerary was The Agrestic Grocer, Applegate Juice factory, Fiona & Bernard Halls Cherry Farm, Mandagery Creek Venison and Ross Hill Wines.

We also had a great regional tour dinner at Ross Hill Wines where we heard from Rob Napier – Napier Agrifutures, Stuart Tait (2017 Scholar), Dougal Gordon (Dept of Ag) and JJ Quigly from SparkLabs Cultiv8 incubators.

2017 NSW Presenting Scholars

I would like to congratulate the 2017 NSW Scholars for presenting their Nuffield reports in Melbourne and completing the academic requirement.  Well done to all and the next stage of Nuffield awaits.

Mark Groat – from Beelbangera (near Griffith), received a scholarship in recognition of his work on rice. This award is supported by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation’s (RIRDC) Rice Research Committee.

Daniel Kahl – from Wee Waa received a scholarship supported by Cotton Australia and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation and investigated where the next generation of farm managers will come from and how quality candidates can be attracted to a career in farming.

Jessica Pitkin – from Singleton received a scholarship supported by RIRDC/Chicken Meat Research Committee. She investigated environmental sustainability and a whole systems approach within the poultry industry, with a specific focus on alternative bedding sources and spent litter utilisation.

Claire Booth – from Geurie (near Dubbo), received a scholarship supported by Rabobank. She investigated two components of the transfer of farming businesses and their assets.

Felicity McLeod – from Wentworth, was supported by Australian Wool Innovation to investigate how to increase income potential through diversification in Far-Western wool enterprises.

Stuart Tait – from Mandurama (near Cowra), was supported by Meat & Livestock Australia.  He investigated integrated beef and cropping systems, encompassing all facets of a farming operation combining beef cattle and broad-acre cropping; including dual-purpose grazing crops, soil and nutrient management, productivity optimisation and grazing management.

2018 NSW Scholars

I would like to congratulate the 2018 NSW Scholars who were awarded their scholarships at the 2017 National Conference in Darwin.  They will present their findings in 2019. They include:

Emma O’Flaherty from Griffith, who was supported by AgriFutures Australia (previously known as the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation). Emma is studying the factors that contribute to the laying of floor eggs across different nesting systems.

Sarah Bolton from Southgate is supported by Dairy Australia and the Australian Dairy Conference. Sarah is researching how best to rear dairy calves so as to integrate successfully into the beef supply chain.

Sarah Silvyer from Eccleston is supported by the NSW Department of Primary Industries. She is investigating how producers can optimise trust in their brand by leveraging a culture of continuous improvement.

Stuart McDonald from Canowindra is supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).  He is researching how continuous grain cropping with the aid of livestock can be sustained in a high rainfall environment.

Martin Gransden from Orange is supported by Wine Australia to study alternative wine grape varieties that can be introduced to the Australian wine sector, which currently relies on traditional varieties.

2019 NSW Scholars

I would also like to congratulate the 2019 Scholars who were awarded their scholarships at the 2018 National Conference in Melbourne.  These scholars will travel next year, and include:

Thomas Moore from Tenterfield, who receives a scholarship supported by the Royal Agriculture Society of NSW Foundation (RASF). Through his research, he will investigate innovative housing methods to promote the growth of Australia’s free-range egg industry.

Christina Kelman is an organic horticulture producer from Wallacia, west of Sydney and receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Hort Innovation’s Vegetable Levy.

The support shown this year to Nuffield NSW by our main investor, The Royal Agricultural Society Foundation (RASF), appears likely to continue and we thank them very much for their kind support.

In conclusion I would like to thank 2014 Scholar Nicki Mann as Vice Chair, and 1997 Scholar Liz Riley as the new Secretary who succeeded Bruce Watson (2009 Scholar) at the Orange AGM.  Bruce was outstanding on the executive as Secretary.  Thanks also to  2015 Scholar Andrew Freeth as Treasurer for your work throughout the year engaging the alumni and help in selecting new scholars.

I wish all Nuffield members a successful and safe year on the farm and in your travels.


Guy Hebblewhite

2013 NSW Chairman

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