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GGA Newswire - February 2016


Dear <<First Name>> <<Last Name>>

Across the GGA Desk

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Welcome to the first Newswire of 2016!

The start of 2016 is also the start of a new project funding agreement for the GGA. The project will continue to be supported by DAFWA, with funding through Royalties for Regions. What will change? In terms of our services to grower groups and stakeholders...nothing much. However we now have a remit to expand the network beyond broadacre into other agrifood industries and take a most active role linking grower groups to supply chain partners. We will also be investigating a new sustainable business model for the project. 

I am excited to announce the appointment of our new Project Officer, Sarah Houston, read more below about her wealth of experience. I am also excited about what we have in store over the next few months - regional meetings, governance training, honours students and more! 

Make sure you stay tuned to Newswire, and get in contact with us at the office or out at events, to ensure you don't miss out on any of the news, opportunities and support.

- Rebecca 

GGA News

Appointment of new GGA Project Officer

New Project Officer, Sarah Houston, commenced work with the GGA in early January, taking over from Tom Lamond. Sarah joins us with a wealth of experience in the agricultural and agribusiness sectors and has a strong focus on communications, facilitation and community development. Originally from Tasmania and having worked during her career around Australia and in Europe, Sarah has now been in WA for 4 years and is looking forward to working with grower groups, researchers and agribusiness networks around the state. As well as assisting in delivering on all project activities at the GGA, Sarah will also be providing support services to stakeholders in the Online Farm Trials project in WA.

Over the coming months, Sarah will be visiting a number of regions for the GGA Regional Meetings, GRDC Research Updates and other industry information and training events. Please make her feel welcome! Contact Sarah on T: 0408 602 269, E:

New GGA Project Officer, Sarah Houston

2016 GGA Regional Meetings coming to a location near you!

Over the next couple of months, the GGA will be hosting their 2016 Regional Meetings in Merredin, Katanning, Lake King and Geraldton. These meetings are a great way to connect grower groups and other industry stakeholders in each region to discuss regional specific as well as general issues affecting grower groups. On the agenda will be group highlights and challenges from 2015, ideas and suggestions for improvements in 2016, and updates from the GGA project team including upcoming opportunities and and industry information.

This year as part of the Regional Meeting, the GGA will run a 1.5 hour workshop 'Understanding Your Stakeholder Network'.  This interactive workshop, facilitated by GGA staff, will help you identify your key stakeholders and influencers to understand where your group should invest it’s time and resources. 

Merredin - Tuesday 16 February
Katanning - Monday 22 February
Lake King - Tuesday 23 February
Geraldton - Wednesday 30 March

Grower group staff and committee are invited and encouraged to the Regional Meeting in your area. Ensure you RSVP to attend!

For more information or to RSVP, contact Rebecca Wallis, T: 6180 5759, E:, or Sarah Houston, T: 6180 5759, E:

Online Farm Trials (OFT)

In 2015, the GGA was selected to co-ordinate GRDC's Online Farm Trials (OFT) project in WA. The OFT project uses the latest technology to improve access to farm trial research in the Australian grains industry, with the overall objective to help improve the productivity and sustainability of farming enterprises.

A number of grower groups throughout WA have already started working with the system or have expressed interest in learning more and undertaking training on how to upload their trial data to the site. This has been a great start, and the GGA is now looking to increase the participation of WA grower groups in the project.

Over the coming months Sarah will be focusing on catching up with interested groups, and offering information, training and support for those wanting to get involved. Also look out for the OFT exhibit at the GRDC Research Updates in Perth (29 Feb to 1 March). 

If you are interested in using the system or finding out more, contact Sarah Houston, T: 6180 5759 E:

Click here to go to the OFT website, where you can also sign up to the quarterly update newsletter.

Honours project opportunity with GGA and UWA

The Grower Group Alliance (GGA) have collaborated with the School of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Western Australia (UWA) to support an honours project which will investigate and quantify the value of Western Australian grower groups to farmers, funders and communities. 

Funding is available for this project through competitive scholarships and the Grower Group Alliance. The project is available to UWA students only.

For further information click here, or contact Rebecca Wallis, T: (08) 6180 5759, E:

Welcome to new GGA partner - Social Impact Consulting

The GGA has recently welcomed a new partner, Social Impact Consulting, who can support group facilitation, strategic planning and stakeholder mapping, as well as farm business planning and proposal writing. For more information on Social Impact Consulting, visit their website or contact Theo Nabin, E:

General News

SEPWA getting back to basics with PA

As part of the ‘Do it yourself Precision Agriculture’ project funded by GRDC, a short booklet ‘Mapping Basics 101’ has been produced to provide growers with simple information on mapping and PA systems, such as how to properly back up data and explanations of commonly used mapping terms.
The project aims to provide industry people with basic technology skills that will encourage ongoing adoption of PA. To access the booklet click here, or contact Alice Butler at SEPWA, T: 08 9083 1165,E:
For more detailed information about PA, check out the GRDC reference guide 'Applying PA – A reference guide for the modern practitioner'.

“Collaborative Charter” signed in Northern Agricultural Region

A number of grower groups from the Northern Agricultural Region have recognised the benefits of working together by signing a “Charter for Collaboration” at a regional groups’ round-table meeting run by NACC in Mingenew during December.

Titled the Northern Agricultural Region Sustainable Agriculture Network (NARSAN), the collaboration aims to magnify the impact of individual groups in order to build a resilient and sustainable agricultural system for current and future generations. To read the full story click here, or contact Stanley Yokwe, E: for more information.

UWA research to improve crops growing on gravel soils

A study into gravel soils by researchers at The University of Western Australia may help farmers growing crops on soils with high gravel content optimise the amount of fertiliser they apply.

The glasshouse study found that the concentration of phosphorus in the matrix of gravel soils from residual and applied fertiliser had a greater effect on wheat growth than the total amount of phosphorus in the pot.

Gravel soils make up approximately 3 million of the 18 million hectares of arable land in south west Western Australia, and forms an important component of soil especially in the high rainfall cropping zone.

To read more about the project, click here, or contact Dr. Ken Flower, T: 6488 4576, E:

Summer weed challenge: paddocks sought for weed research? 

WA grain growers with summer weeds such as button grass, fleabane, sowthistle and tar vine are sought to participate in weed management trials to be conducted by the DAFWA during the current summer season as weeds emerge following rainfall.

The trials would be led by department Principal Research Officer Abul Hashem as part of the project, ‘Improving Integrated Weed Management Practice of Emerging Weeds in the Southern and Western Regions’, funded by GRDC.

The trials aim to increase understanding of the emerging weeds and evaluate the chemical and non-chemical options available to manage them, and would not affect the winter cropping program of participating growers.

To find out more, click here, or contact researchers Dr Abul Hashem, T: 9690 2136, E: or Dr Mohammad Amjad, T:  9690 2249, E:

GRDC Annual Report 2014-2015

The GRDC Annual Report 2014-15 is now available on the GRDC website. The report outlines 2014-2015 Grains Industry Production and GRDC performance. 


Grower Group Updates

16 Feb Liebe Group Trials Review Day Dalwallinu Jenni Clausen, 9661 0570,
25 Feb West Midlands Group Seasonal Updates & AGM Moora Jennifer Bairstow, 9651 4008,
31 Feb - 1 March 2016 GRDC Grains Research Updates Perth Rachel Nash , 6262 2128,
2 March Liebe Group Crop Updates Dalwallinu Jenni Clausen, 9661 0570,
GRDC Grains Research Updates - Yuna Yuna Jenny Thomas, 0467 640 711,
3 March Mingenew Irwin Group
2016 Research Updates & AGM
Mingenew Sheila Charlesworth, 9928 1645,
8 March GRDC Grains Research Updates - Katanning Katanning Kayla Ringrose, 9831 1074,
9 March GRDC Grains Research Updates -  Merredin Merredin Kodie Fulker, 9081 3111,
10 March RAIN Crop Updates Ravensthorpe Elisa Spengler, 9838 1018,
Facey Group Trials
Presentation Evening
Dowerin Bronwyn Dew, 9888 1223,
11 March SEPWA Harvest Review Esperance Niki Curtis, 9083 1125,
WANTFA Crop Updates Cunderdin David Minkey, 0417 999 304
16 March Northern Agri Group
Autumn Updates
Binnu Raylene Burns, 0408 931 924,
Corrigin Farm Improvement Group Trials Update Corrigin Veronika Crouch, 0476 046 100,
17 March Stirlings to Coast Farmers 
Research Update and AGM
Kendenup Heather Adams, 0428 541 051,
North Mallee Farm Improvement Group Updates Salmon Gums Niki Curtis, 9083 1125,

SPAA: Life membership nominations

Do you know somebody that should be recognised for their tireless contributions to supporting and promoting Precision Agriculture?

SPAA Society of Precision Agriculture Australia is inviting members to nominate a fellow PA advocate whose outstanding contributions to precision agriculture to be recognised with life membership.

Nominations are open now until Friday 12 February via the SPAA website, or download the nomination form here.

Carbon Farming Workshop Opportunity

WANTFA, through the Federal Government's Extension & Outreach program, are offering grower groups the opportunity to host a carbon farming workshop. The workshop is looking at carbon farming practices that make farms more profitable. Workshop modules include;

  • Crop nutrition
  • Controlled Traffic Farming
  • Rotations
  • Economics
For more information and to register you interest, contact Jo Wheeler, T: 9670 3121,E: Workshops can be undertaken in March, July/August and Oct/November 2016.

Partners in Grain workshop opportunities in 2016

Partners in Grain (PinG) offer training workshops for grain enterprises in the areas of office management, people management and technology use. 

Grower groups are encouraged to contact PinG to register their interest in running workshops in their regions during 2016. 

For more information click here or contact Erin Green, T: 08 9920 5454, E:

RCSN Zone Meetings for Feb 2016

The next round of RCSN Meetings will be held this month (dates below). To submit your local grains RD&E issues to the RSCN click here.

  • 3 February: Geraldton RCSN
  • 4 February: Kwinana East RCSN
  • 11 February: Albany RCSN
  • 12 February: Esperance RCSN
  • 17 February: Kwinana West RCSN

For more information contact Julianne Hill, T: 0447 261 607, E:

Growing Governance for Great Groups

This is a must attend workshop for those looking to build skills and knowledge in best practice governance to improve the operations of their local grower group, and to hold positions on corporate boards. Completion of this course will provide credits towards AICD Accreditation.

The course covers essential topics such as Roles and Responsibilities of the Not-for-Profit Director and Strategy and Risk

There are 25 registrations available, and will be filled on a first come first served basis. Maximum of four attendees per group.

To register click here, or for more information contact Rebecca Wallis, T: 6180 5759, E:

'Learning for Purpose' program

‘Learning for Purpose’ is an Action Learning program for community service sector organisations in WA, designed to nurture collective leadership capacity for highly motivated champions who seek to make a difference in their organisations and the community they serve.

The program is offered twice in 2016, held at UWA, Perth.

  • Program #1 - 5th April, 10th May, 14th June, 19th July 2016
  • Program #2 - 2nd August, 6th September, 11th October, 15th November 2016

The Action Learning program is proudly supported by BHP Billiton. Limited travel scholarships for return flights and accommodation are available for participants from regional organisations and offices.

For more information and to apply click here or contact Stuart Reid, T: 9420 7223, E: Applications close Monday 29 February. Between 2-5 Individuals from each organisation must apply.

Funding Opportunities

The GGA provides support to grower groups in a range of areas including connecting with researchers and agribusiness, assistance and editing with funding applications and more. For more information or to enquire about our support services, contact the GGA office, T: (08) 6180 5759.

2016/17 MLA Annual Project Call

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) invites preliminary proposals from individuals, organisations or project teams to address the 2016/17 MLA research, development and adoption (RD&A) priorities for sheepmeat and grassfed beef.

For more information click here, or contact MLA, E: Applications close Sunday 14 February.

NACC Farm Demonstrations Round 4

Round 4 of NACC's Farm Demonstration Sites Applications are now open. The project aims to increase the number of landholders establishing demonstration sites and facilitate peer to peer learning in order to increase uptake of practices that will help growers adapt to the challenges facing agriculture and natural resources in the NAR.

For more information click here or contact Sarah Jeffery, E:
Applications close Monday 29 February.

WA NRM Community Capability Grants

The Community Capability Grants recognise the importance of having good organisational and institutional arrangements in place to support the efforts of volunteers and the not-for-profit organisations to which they belong. The purpose of the Community Capability Grants is to support volunteers to improve their capability to undertake on-ground work and to improve the governance and management performance of their community-based organisations.

Applications for small projects up to $10,000 are currently open until Monday 30 May 2016.

For more information and to apply click here.

Changes to GRDC Conference Awards

Following GRDC’s review of conference and sponsorship arrangements, there will be two application rounds each year in January and July to apply for a GRDC conference award. 

As part of the changes, travel and conference attendance awards will no longer be available. Applications will only be accepted if they are sponsorships/contributions for conducting conferences, workshops, seminars, field days or competitions/awards that directly benefit the Australian grains industry. GRDC are especially interested in sponsorship/contributions towards events that can demonstrate a linkage to their four thought leadership pillars; Future Farming, Opportunity, Competitive, and In-Partnership.

For more information or to apply click here, or contact Brittany Wolfhagen, T: (02) 6166 4500, E:

Community Chest Fund ​

The Community Chest Fund (CCF) is a Royaltie​s for Regions small grants program, administered by each of the nine Regional Development Commissions (RDCs). The CCF comprises one-off grants of up to $50,​000 to support small, local demand driven community projects throughout the year.

Contact your local Regional Development Commission for CCF closing dates, to discuss if your project is eligible and to obtain the guidelines and application forms. Further information and contact details for your local RDC can be found here.

Regional Grants Scheme

The Regional Grants Scheme (RGS) is a Roya​lties f​or Regions initiative, administered by each of the nine Regional Development Commissions (RDC). This Scheme seeks to improve economic and community infrastructure and services in regional Western Australia by helping to help attract investment, increase job opportunities and assist in improving the quality of life in the regions. The RGS is a contestable funding round with grants available from $50,000 to $300,000.

Contact your local RDC to assess if your project is eligible and to obtain the guidelines and application forms. Further information and contact details for your local RDC can be found here. Applications close Thursday 17 March 2016.

Rob Ashman Memorial Scholarship

Hassad Australia and the South East Premium Wheat Growers’ Association have combined to support the next generation of agricultural leaders through a new scholarship opportunity, the Rob Ashman Memorial Scholarship. 

The scholarship of of $3500 will support students commencing or currently studying agriculture related fields at university. It is in honour of Rob Ashman who sadly took his life in 2015 after suffering from depression for many years. Rob managed properties for Hassad Australia within the Esperance Port Zone and was also an active member of SEPWA. 

University students studying an agriculture associated degree are encouraged to apply. Applications close on February 19, 2016. Full criteria and further information is available on the SEPWA webpage.

Small Grants for Rural Communities (SGRC)

The Small Grants for Rural Communities (SGRC) program is offered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR). Grants of up to $5,000 are available for projects and activities that offer clear public benefit for communities in rural, regional or remote Australia. Applicants must be not-for-profit community organisations with an ABN or incorporation certificate.

For more information click here

Funding for regional biosecurity groups

Funding is now available for regional biosecurity groups within the South West of Western Australia to help them progress towards self-reliance as a Recognised Biosecurity Group (RBG). The new support funding opportunity complements existing funding from State NRM for on-the-ground activities being carried out by biosecurity groups throughout Western Australia.

Applications close Friday 12 February. For application forms and more information click here or contact Tim Thompson T: 9780 6231, E:

Grower Group Spotlight 

Livestock data research project working closely with grower groups in WA

The Livestock Data Analytics project, led by Dr. Dean Thomas at CSIRO, demonstrates a successful collaboration between grower groups and researchers, and highlights the importance of establishing and maintaining strong industry networks.

Dr. Thomas approached the Grower Group Alliance (GGA) in 2015 in an effort to reach grower groups willing to participate in a CSIRO Agriculture funded project, looking to evaluate livestock monitoring systems used in mixed sheep and cropping enterprises. Through their communication channels, the GGA made a call for expressions of interest from grower groups to become involved in the research, and received an overwhelming response. As a result, three trial sites were selected from Facey Group, West Midlands Group and MADFIG, with these trials finishing up at the end of 2015. Another two trials are set to commence in February 2016 involving West Midlands Group and the West Arthur Trials Group. A final trial is in the pipeline for later in the year at the UWA Ridgefield Farm site.

During the research trials, GPS trackers were fixed on a number of sheep within a mob grazing wheat stubble. The animals’ grazing activities were tracked over a period of about four weeks, in addition to liveweight measurements and sampling of the crop stubbles. With data collected from the different farms across different districts, and from farmer feedback, the project aims to identify the practical benefits that these types of livestock monitoring systems can have on management. 
Sheep carrying trackers during a livestock monitoring trial

“The tracking system allows us to monitor the movements of the sheep as they graze crop stubble in a paddock, giving us insights into their behaviour and preferences” explains Dr. Thomas. “The potential long-term benefits of this information include such things as the development of alert systems, and better management of animal rotations between different paddocks and feed sources”. He emphasizes, however, that the full use of animal behaviour to inform management will likely require complex data analytics, another area that is currently being studied by other CSIRO researchers. 

Growers interested in viewing the data collected in the project are able to view the GPS tracking information in “near-real-time’ online, through a secure website. To access the resource, viewers are first asked to participate in a short online survey which will enable the project team to benchmark current industry understanding and practices in relation to monitoring grazing livestock. There is also the opportunity to make general comments on the system through a web forum where feedback is welcomed.

“We have received great support and some interesting feedback via the online system” says Dr. Thomas. “There has been lots of interest in the trials, and we are looking forward to getting as much feedback as possible from the trials starting in February”.

Outcomes from the trial and surveys will be reported through industry and research publications later in 2016. Results from the trials will lead to new funding proposals that CSIRO will take to industry to accelerate the development of a livestock monitoring system for mixed crop-livestock enterprises towards a commercial product.

Some preliminary results and a discussion around the project will be presented at the West Midlands Group Seasonal Updates in February.

If you would like to view the online data and participate in the collection of valuable industry information through completing the survey visit the CSIRO survey page. Once the survey is complete, you will be sent login details via email within 24 hours as well as the link to the website.

For more information about the trial or survey, contact Dr. Dean Thomas T: (08) 9333 6671, E:

If you would like the GGA to support your collaborative research idea contact the office on (08) 6180 5759.

Calendar of Events

To view the full GGA Calendar of Events click here, or subscribe to the fortnightly email click here.

To view the full Grower Group Alliance Calendar of Events, please go to the GGA Website

If you found this newsletter helpful, please feel free to send it on to your friends and fellow community groups in your area.

People can subscribe to Newswire or contribute by contacting the editor Rebecca Wallis, E:

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Grower Group Alliance
PO Box 1081
Bentley DC, WA, 6983
© 2014 Grower Group Alliance.

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