Farmers consulted in investment round

| Posted Sep 07,2021

Planning for the next round of Soil CRC research investment has begun.

One of the values of the Soil CRC is that we are “end-user driven and focussed”, so we look to involve our farmer groups at all stages of our research.

Recently, we invited our farmer groups to a meeting to provide their input into the priorities for our next round of research projects. The four Soil CRC Program Leaders presented their draft research priorities for discussion and review.

These priorities will inform the next round of research investment which will be opened to Soil CRC Participants in October 2021. This investment round has a budget of about $3 million of funds allocated to it. 

Each of the four research programs has priorities that relate to the milestones in which the Soil CRC is contracted by the Australian Government to meet.

The four research programs in the Soil CRC:

  • Program 1: Investing in high performance soils
  • Program 2: Soil performance metrics
  • Program 3: New products for soil fertility and function
  • Program 4: Integrated soil management solutions.

There were 17 Soil CRC farmer groups that participated in the meeting. The farmer groups were engaged and committed to being involved in the research of the Soil CRC. Bringing our Program Leaders together with end users is a valuable exercise in true collaborative research.

Program Leaders can also play a matchmaking role in the project development stage, so they are an important figure in the establishing a project, ensuring that the right people get connected.

Many of the farmer groups expressed a desire and capacity to be involved in more product testing, field sites and ground truthing. They also conveyed their willingness to be involved in the adoption and extension aspects of Soil CRC research.

The Soil CRC recently entered its fifth year of its 10 years of funding from the Australian Government. The next phase of the Soil CRC sees us move into “peak projects” with a large portfolio of active research projects. Importantly, this leads into a phase of extension and adoption, where our farmer groups will also play a crucial role.

The different perspectives and ideas that different farmer group representatives shared have helped inform and shape the priorities for the next round of Soil CRC research investments.

The next step in the process is revising the priorities including the farmer group input and submitting these to the Soil CRC’s Research and Adoption Committee for approval in September. These will be released in late October and proposals will be due in early February 2022. The Board will approve funding for the successful projects in April with commencement of new projects from July 2022 onwards.

This is just one example of how the Soil CRC is connecting research and industry, ensuring that our research meets the needs of end users.