We currently farm 350ha of black alluvial soils, mainly focusing on sorghum and barley with mungbeans or chickpeas occasionally rotated in if we have high feathertop rhodes grass pressure. A typical rotation would be 2 years of sorghum, followed by a short or long fallow into barley depending on the seasonal conditions.
I took part in the Australian Grain Leaders Program (AGLP) in 2021. While our cohort didn’t get to meet in person due to issues with Covid-19 and border restrictions, I found the program extremely valuable in boosting my confidence as a leader within our industry but also within my work as a Territory Sales Manager (TSM) with Pacific Seeds.
The opportunity to meet and work with others from our industry across Australia, understanding the challenges they face from a farming perspective but more importantly, challenging ourselves to step outside of our internal comfort zones under the support and guidance of program facilitator Jo Eady were some of the highlights. It gave me to confidence to step up to mentor new TSM’s within my role, which I never would have done prior. I’m also looking for ways to become more involved with the wider grains industry, as part of the next generation of farmers stepping up to be part of the change for the future of our industry.
For our business, short term input pricing is one of the biggest issues as we try to maintain our profit margins. Market access for the sorghum in our region is also a concern and focus. As feedlots move to preference white grains such as wheat & barley over sorghum, we rely more heavily on China as an export market. If China were to pull away from sorghum, our ability to market and obtain good pricing would drop quickly. Given the volume of sorghum grown in the northern region, this would have a huge impact on the profitability of many farming businesses.
One of the highlights for us has been the opportunity to buy land. When we first started, we were 100% share farming & now are at around 40%. Another great part of AGLP was Jo pushing me & giving me to confidence to put a figure on how much land we need to farm for me to move away from having off-farm employment & move to full time farming. At the moment it looks like for us that figure is between 650 – 1000ha. We are continuing to work toward that opportunity.