A leading Australian agricultural research group has encouraged grain farmers nationwide to join its revamped National Farming Practices Database, an online central repository containing detailed growing reports and productivity updates.
Growers are also being urged to contribute information to the database, as part of the initiative directed by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), which is a joint venture between the federal government and the Grains Council of Australia.
"Once a grower has entered their information — a process which takes about 20 minutes — they will receive a comprehensive report showing productivity and sustainability information for their own farm," said project coordinator Alan Umbers.
"It gives comparisons and productivity information for the farm as well as district, regional, state and national farming indicators," he said.
The project coordinator said the database will allow farmers to monitor their natural resources management and adjust their procedures if required.
"Given the new government's priority regarding sustainable farming practices, it will be very important for grain growers to demonstrate the substantial progress their industry has made towards sustainability," said Peter Reading, GRDC managing director.
The announcement has been timed to coincide with an upgrade to the database, which according to project coordinator Umbers, is now more user friendly.
"Growers can now fill in data-forms specific to their particular state, and we've also refined the reports to provide more relevant information," he said, adding that growers are often required by state and local authorities to fill in detailed surveys on conditions and sustainable practices, which can be a time consuming process.
"Our aim is to have growers enter their seasonal information once a year on the National Farming Practices Database. If they are contacted by other organisations seeking information, they can simply direct them to the database ... we can reduce duplication and save growers a bit of a headache," said Umbers.