Fodder R, D&E Stocktake

 

AFIA is undertaking a Fodder R, D&E stocktake to understand the ‘who, what, where, when and why’ of fodder-related research underway across Australia.

BACKGROUND

AgriFutures estimates 38,000 properties participate in the commercial production of fodder each year. (Source: 2021-26 AgriFutures Export Fodder Program Strategic RD&E Plan).

The Australian fodder industry invests in Research, Development and Extension (R, D & E) via a levy which is applied to Australian export fodder companies. This investment is managed via AgriFutures through its Export Fodder Advisory Committee. While AgriFutures manages the export fodder levy and associated R, D & E investment, many other fodder-related projects are underway, or have been proposed in Australia, with no overarching analysis or coordination.

Given the Australian fodder industry’s ‘wide reach’ across the agriculture community involving many commodities (grain, dairy, beef, equine etc) it is timely to consider a coordinated and strategic approach. This would ensure that:

  • All fodder-related R, D and E is captured in a central hub.
  • The purpose of research projects and expected outcomes and timeframes are documented.
  • Those undertaking research projects are listed, to identify fodder-related research expertise, ideally with funding source(s).

Such a process would also allow for a collective and coordinated approach, across commodity sectors, to identify R, D & E gaps and develop a list of key R, D&E priorities, recognising the differing needs of commodities.

Undertaking a stocktake of Australian Fodder R, D & E efforts would work to ensure projects:

  • Are based on collaboration, not competition – i.e. research agencies are collaborating, rather than competing for available funds.
  • Avoid duplication – teams are not working in isolation to resolve the same problems. Resources are well allocated. (Attract the best scientific minds/teams available to tackle the challenges – the industry secures the best scientific expertise to address its issues, be that local or global.
  • Focus on industry-wide agreed priorities – ensuring no one small portion of the industry or a subset is directing R, D & E, and the fodder industry (incorporating numerous commodity sectors) is working in collaboration to achieve its R, D and E outcomes.
  • Deliver the ‘best ‘bang for the buck’ from an investment perspective.

TIMING

All input to this project was finalised by 30 November 2023. The final report will be available in early 2024.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

AFIA would like to acknowledge Southern Farming Systems for funding to support this scoping project, via the Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub program