CSBP Fertilisers, part of Wesfarmers, was founded in in 1910, and in 2023 is proud to celebrate the centenary of its investment in agricultural trials and research. Today, CSBP delivers reliable supply of its locally-developed range of fertilisers tailored to WA soils and growing conditions, and its Fertcare® accredited team supports growers with the best advice in relation to the profitable and sustainable production of crops and pastures.
2024 Nuffield Scholar
Scholar to help growers capitalise on changing rainfall patterns
Laura Bennett is not one to shy away from data in agricultural operations. She is the precision agriculture manager for Warakirri Cropping, helping collect, analyse and utilise data to make better management decisions across the company's 165,000ha of operations. But it was a forecast that rainfall could decrease by up to 20 per cent in WA's grain belt in the next decade that caught her attention and pushed her to apply for a 2024 Nuffield Scholarship.
Laura's Scholarship is supported by CSBP Fertilisers.
"Australia is at the forefront of climate change, with volatile weather, higher temperatures and declining winter rainfall creating difficult conditions for dryland grain farmers. This affects farm profitability and productivity, particularly in continuous cropping systems that rely on grain as a single source of income."
Laura says there are ways farmers can adapt their systems to manage the risks that come with changing rainfall patterns and capitalise on the opportunities of climate change.
"Building healthy soils with more carbon, advancing decision making, execution skills and operational efficiency, manipulating crop canopy growth through nutrition and varietal selection, and using precision agriculture to understand and treat variability can all help."
As part of her Scholarship, she will travel to see dryland continuous cropping systems in areas also facing climate risk, including Argentina, Canada, Turkey, Spain, France, the US and northern China.
"I'm looking forward to learning from progressive farmers and agronomists who are leading change on the ground and maintaining success in difficult seasons. I also hope to speak with local researchers and climate analysts in different countries to determine what they may be discovering and observing locally, and to interview plant breeders to understand what is coming in their pipelines."
Laura says the research is of particular interest to her, given her future lies in grain farming in Western Australia. I aim to become more involved in my partner's broadacre cropping business going forward and will one day manage the operation alongside him. Our goal is to be as sustainable as possible so we can continue to farm for generations to come, so it’s that personal involvement that drives me to build on the research that's already been done in this area, and to share the findings of my scholarship to help other growers do the same."
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