GRDC is one of the world’s leading grains research organisations responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing research, development and extension to deliver improvements in production, sustainability and profitability across the Australian grains industry.
Nuffield Australia 2020 Scholarship winner
Mitchell Henderson from Berriwillock in Victoria, receives a Nuffield Scholarship with support from the Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC). Mitchell will use his scholarship to research alternative fertiliser and weed control measures for grain producers.
Managing his family’s 8,000-hectare broadacre cropping business, Mitchell produces wheat, barley, lentils, field peas and oaten hay, while another part of the family business supplies 1.5 million free range birds to Hazeldene’s Chicken.
Recognising the double benefits his business receives by using the phosphorus-rich chicken manure as fertiliser and the potential to feed chickens their own grain, eliminating freight costs, Mitchell believes there is an opportunity for Australian growers to get more for their grain.
“The current cost of grain production in Australia is US$169 per tonne, while in Russia and Ukraine it is US$120 per tonne. As an industry, we need to find ways to raise the value of our produce and I want to investigate diversification and integration as pathways to achieving this,” Mitchell said.
“If we can use our grain closer to where it is produced, for example, by on-site milling for chicken or other stock feed, then we can limit freight costs and obtain natural fertiliser benefits from manure, as well as obviously minimising business risk through enterprise diversification.”
Mitchell will visit the United States, Canada and Brazil to explore their large-scale cropping and feed mill industries, as well as Europe and Ireland to understand the role strict environmental regulation plays in food production systems.