Insights into farming in a highly regulated environment

image of Keith Norman
Leading international agricultural consultant Keith Norman will address the GRDC Grains Research Update, Perth, on how growers from the UK are operating in the face of strict environmental controls.

The realities of producing grain in a highly regulated environment will be one of the broader industry topics put under the microscope at Western Australia’s premier grains research forum in 2020.

Leading international agricultural consultant Keith Norman, from the United Kingdom, will address the subject as one of the keynote speakers at the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Grains Research Update, Perth, which will be held at Crown Perth on February 24 and 25.

Mr Norman is an independent consultant who previously worked as Velcourt’s technical director. He supported the leading farming company’s UK team of 45 farm managers in crop production technology, and managed its in-house research and development activity for 30 years.

Awarded Farm Adviser of the Year in the UK’s Farmers Weekly awards in 2013, he has worked on various overseas farming activities in Spain, France, Germany, Zambia, Russia and the Ukraine.

GRDC Western Region Panel chair Darrin Lee says the UK farming sector is subject to some of the world’s strictest pesticide use regulations and environmental controls on farming.

“Keith will provide our local audience with an understanding of how regulatory controls can impact on grain producers’ freedom to operate in our modern farming systems,” Mr Lee said.

“Keith will explain how UK growers have adapted and are operating in a practical way within that regulatory framework, which is perceived by much of Australia’s agricultural sector as onerous.

“He will also provide insight into potential versus actual grower yields being achieved in the UK, and comment on the magnitude of this ‘yield gap’, key constraints causing it and how these constraints are being tackled.

“Keith will address the expected impact of climate change on grain farming in the UK and in Europe, and changes growers are subsequently making to their strategies and farming systems.”

In addition to the GRDC Grains Research Update, Perth, Mr Norman will speak at GRDC Grains Research Update events in other parts of Australia – at Wagga Wagga (February 18-19), Corowa (February 20), Bendigo (February 25-26) and Bannockburn (February 27).

The two-day Grains Research Update, Perth, is an important source of agronomic and industry information and resources, and a key opportunity for interaction between advisers, growers and other industry personnel.

This year, the cost of attending has been reduced to encourage even greater participation from industry and growers.

The maximum price will be $300, for which participants will receive two packed days of information with more than 50 presenters talking about the latest research results and innovations to assist on-farm profitability.

More than 40 concurrent sessions will be held over the two days on important issues impacting on grower profitability – ranging from specific crop agronomy, nutrition management and weed control through to frost and soil constraints.

Extended focus sessions on the second day will cover: coping with climate change, external crop protection challenges and how to implement integrated pest management systems on farm.

The GRDC Grains Research Update, Perth will be followed by five regional one-day GRDC Grains Research Update events at the following WA locations:

  • Kwinana West, Corrigin Recreation and Events Centre – February 27
  • Kwinana East, Merredin Regional Community and Leisure Centre – February 28
  • Geraldton Zone, Yuna Community Centre – March 6
  • Albany Zone, Jerramungup Sports Centre – March 11
  • Esperance Zone, Lake King Hall – March 12.

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