Grain farmers talk business

VICTORIAN grain farmers learnt about robotic technologies, overseas markets and family farming on Wednesday at the Grains Research and Development Corporation business conference.

The conference took place at the Bendigo Racecourse and included talks from six industry experts, Australian Farm Institute executive director Mick Keogh and former AFL coach Stan Alves who talked about achieving and maintaining success.

Other topics included how to attract the next generation of farmers to agriculture, the opportunities presented by Asian markets and making decisions with seasonal changes.

Organiser Gavin Beever said the conference provided farmers with strategic insights into industry trends.

"It focuses on opportunities to improve their productivity and profitability," he said.

Grain farmers Andrew Wall from Raywood and Russell Hocking from Prairie said they were attending due to their interests in economics and investments.

"The land is getting dearer and dearer," Mr Wall said. 

"I'm thinking about expanding and wanted to hear Nuffield scholar John Gladigau speak."

Mr Hocking said he was keen to pick up as many tips as possible on a range of topics.

"There's a big focus on Asia and the opportunities there," he said.

"Expanding markets will help the industry and it's good to hear farmers' perspectives."

The farmers said there was a big demand in China for high-protein wheat, which created opportunities for Australian farmers. 

But they also said higher land prices meant returns relative to the cost of purchasing land were smaller.

Mr Wall said one option he was exploring was partnering with retired farmers who had land to spare.

"It's about thinking outside the square," he said.

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