Conservation Agriculture in 2030 WEBINAR

10am to 3pm, Monday 22 June 2020 

Presented in partnership between the Australian Farm Institute and the Sydney Institute of Agriculture

Conservation agriculture has transformed Australian farming, delivering productivity increases alongside environmental improvements. Anticipating emerging risks and potential impacts to this system is vital if conservation agriculture is to continue delivering transformative outcomes.  

What might conservation agriculture look like in 2030? 

Due to the impacts of COVID-19 on travel and gatherings, part 1 of the Conservation Agriculture in 2030 Conference was conducted as an ONLINE WEBINAR from 10am to 3pm on Monday 22 June. Part 2 of the conference, which will be held face-to-face, has been postponed until later in the year (date TBC as the situation unfolds).  

The recording the Conservation Agriculture in 2030 WEBINAR is now available: 

Purchase here (non-members) | Access here (members only) | Contact us (SIA members & attendees)

Webinar overview:  

The webinar addressed the current state of conservation agriculture and emerging threats to best practice, the evolution of new practices and systems, and the policies and strategies needed to ensure that Australian farmers can continue to farm in a profitable, productive and sustainable fashion. View Agenda.

Webinar speakers: 

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10:00am – IntroductionRichard Heath
10:10am – David Jochinke
10:25am – Professor Stephen Powles
10:40am – Richard Dickmann
10:55am – Session 1 Q&A 
Facilitator: Richard Heath
11:20am – BREAK
11:35am – Michael Walsh
11:50am – Lindsay Bell
12:05pm – Angela Pattison
12:20pm – Session 2 Q&A
Facilitator: Alex McBratney
12:45pm – BREAK
1:15pm – David McKeon
1:30pm – Tony Single
1:45pm – Fiona Best
2:00pm – Session 3 Q&A
Facilitator: Richard Heath
2:25pm – ALL SPEAKER Q&A
Facilitator: Katie McRobert
Facilitator: Richard Heath
3:00pm – CLOSE

Lindsay Bell

Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Agriculture and Food

Lindsay Bell (PhD, B.Agr.Sci) is a Principal Research Scientist with CSIRO, Toowoomba, Australia. His research focusses on improving the sustainability and resilience of farming systems in Australia. He currently leads a program of research using both experimental and modelling approaches to examine how probable modifications to farming systems impact on system water-use-efficiency, nutrient-use-efficiency, crop pathogen populations and soil attributes.

Lindsay is particularly interested in the potential to better integrate crop and livestock systems for improving soil function and nutrient supply to crops as well as farm resilience. Lindsay has published over 50 journal articles and is regularly invited to present to farmer and industry audiences across Australia and internationally.

Fiona Best

Chief Executive Officer, Birchip Cropping Group

Fiona Best returned to BCG in November 2019 as CEO, after 9 years working in the education sector teaching agriculture. In her position as CEO, Fiona will work to bring relevant agricultural research and extension opportunities to farming communities by attracting investments to improve the prosperity of broadacre farming locally, regionally and nationally. Fiona is excited to be back at BCG because of the large part we play in our community and our role supporting farmers to be viable and prosperous. She is proud of BCG’s achievements and contributions over the last 28 years and has a strong desire to contribute positively to the ongoing journey and evolution of the group. After growing up on her mixed enterprise family farm, cropping and producing sheep. Fiona studied a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne.

Richard Dickmann

Head of Public and Government Affairs ANZ, Bayer Australia Limited

Richard Dickmann is responsible for Public and Government Affairs for Bayer in Australia and New Zealand. Richard has worked with Bayer for more than 25 years, including a 19 year international career, in 5 countries, in a variety of marketing, technology scouting and sustainability roles.

Richard is focused on strengthening dialogue on the critical role of innovation in meeting the sustainability, food supply and health challenges, and opportunities, faced by Australia today.

From a southern Victorian farming background, Richard obtained and Honours Degree in Forestry from Melbourne University and a Master’s Degree in Agriculture, focusing on satellite remote sensing, from the University of Sydney. Richard is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Richard Heath – Host/Facilitator

Executive Director, Australian Farm Institute

Prior to joining the AFI, Richard Heath was Associate Professor of Agronomy and Farm Management at the University of Sydney and before that was involved in a large family farming business in North West NSW. Richard is a director of the Grains Research and Development Corporation and sits on the Advisory Committee for CSIRO Agriculture and Food. He is a Nuffield scholar and was a director of Nuffield Australia.

David Jochinke

President, Victorian Farmers Federation

David Jochinke is a third generation farmer who operates a family property at Murra Warra (30 km North of Horsham) producing various broadacre crops and finishing prime lambs.

At Longerenong College, he studied a Diploma of Applied Science and in later years, had the honour of being awarded scholarships for Nuffield Australia and the Australian Rural Leadership Program.

For over a decade he has been heavily involved with the local VFF district that led to being elected as the last VFF treasurer and chair of the Finance Committee as well as Vice President from 2012–2016.

Professor Alex McBratney – Host/Facilitator

Director, Sydney Institute of Agriculture & Professor of Digital Agriculture & Soil Science

Professor Alex McBratney holds BSc, PhD and DSc degrees in soil science from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and the DScAgr degree from the University of Sydney for research in precision agriculture. He has made major contributions to soil science and agriculture through the development of the concepts of Pedometrics, Digital Soil Mapping and Precision Agriculture. 

After completing his PhD work at Rothamsted Experimental Station in the UK, Alex spent seven years with CSIRO Division of Soils in Brisbane. Alex joined the University of Sydney in 1989. He is currently Director of the Sydney Institute of Agriculture and Professor of Soil Science. He is Editor of the global soil science journal, Geoderma. He is heavily involved with the activities of the International Union of Soil Sciences and the global digital soil map project, GlobalSoilMap. In 2014 he was awarded the VV Dokuchaev medal by the International Union of Soil Sciences, which is the highest honour in the soil science discipline. Currently he is helping to develop and promote the concepts of global soil security and digitally decommoditised agriculture.

Alex is a very experienced research supervisor who has successfully supervised 30 PhD students. He holds Discovery and Linkage grants from the Australian Research Council and several from the rural research and development corporations, most notably the Grains Research and Development Corporation. In 2016, Alex was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, and has been listed by Thomson Reuters as a Highly Cited Researcher.

David McKeon

CEO, Grain Growers Limited

David McKeon is CEO of Grain Growers Limited, an industry representative body for Australian grain farmers at a national and international level. Dave is passionate about strong grower representation and ensuring the right policy and industry settings provide an environment for profitable and sustainable farm production. Dave has held senior positions with National Farmers’ Federation and the Department of Agriculture. Dave has worked on mixed farming operations and stays connected through his family’s property in western NSW. Dave holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) and Bachelor of Agribusiness, along with a Diploma of Government, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Angela Pattison

Plant Breeding Institute, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Sydney

Dr Angela Pattison is a plant breeder and researcher from the University of Sydney’s Narrabri Campus. Her background includes management of field-based projects breeding for heat and drought tolerance of wheat and chickpea, and food potential of triticale breeding lines. Her current research includes developing the production system for native grains such as native millet and mitchell grass from paddock to plate. She is working closely with farmers, Aboriginal groups, food processors and governments to develop a system which is economically, environmentally and culturally sustainable.

Professor Stephen Powles

Professor, School of Agriculture & Environment, University of Western Australia

Professor Stephen Powles is a global expert on crop and weed science and herbicide resistance. He has published 250 research papers and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering. He is a Director of the Grains Research & Development Corporation and is a grain producer.

Tony Single

Director, Tigah Farming

Tony Single is a director of Tigah Farming, a family owned business, based 50 kilometres east of Coonamble NSW. Predominantly a grain enterprise, Tony along with his parents John and Mary, and wife Sharon crop 4500 hectares, along with running a cattle trading enterprise. Following university, where he studied farm management, Tony worked as a trials agronomist with Agritech (now Kalyx) for four years before returning home to the family business. Tony is a long term supporter of the Grain Orana Alliance holding board positions and is currently its deputy chair. GOA is a farmer and advisor driven grower solutions group, which with GRDC funding ensures research is driven from the ground up, ensuring Central West NSW levy payers have access to locally validated research. When it comes to cropping, Tigah Farming’s ethos is ‘Farming with probability’ – holding a long-term view that they need to maximise the return from every millimetre of rain. Practically this involves being moisture responsive and maintaining balanced crop rotations through the use of both winter and summer planting opportunities, a zero tolerance approach to allowing weed seed set, where practical and utilising integrated weed managment techniques to prevent and manage herbicide resistant weed populations. Zero-till has been practiced on Narratigah since the late 1980’s and maintaining ground-cover, even in drought, has been a priority of the farming system.

Michael Walsh

Associate Professor and Director of Weed Research, University of Sydney

Michael Walsh is an Associate Professor and Director Weed Research at the University of Sydney. Michael completed his B.Sc. at the University of Western Australia, M.Sc. from La Trobe University, Melbourne and PhD from the University of Wyoming. He joined AHRI in 1999 where he worked on herbicide resistance in wild radish and the development and introduction of harvest weed seed control systems. Michael has spent 20 years working on weed control techniques for conservation cropping systems and believes that the recent advances in technology have now enabled the use of a range of alternatives.