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Address at the Australian National Field days, Orange



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ADDRESS BY THE MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRY, THE HON.

P .J. NIXON, M.P., AT THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL FIELD DAYS,

ORANGE, WEDNESDAY 14 NOVEMBER 1979. .

IT?

I AM PLEASED TO BE HERE TH IS AFTERNOON TO ANNOUNCE THE NATIONAL

WINNERS OF THE LAND NATIONAL FARM INNOVATION AWARD.

T he RURAL ECONOMY IS CURRENTLY IN A STRONG PO SITIO N , WITH FARM .

INCOMES IN 1979/80 REMAINING HIGH FOR THE SECOND YEAR RUNNING,

Av e r a g e in c o m e p e r f a r m , a t $28,400, is f o r e c a s t b y t h e Bu r e a u

o f Ag r ic u l t u r a l Ec o n o m ic s to e q u a l l a s t y e a r ' s h ig h l e v e l , Ru r a l

e x p o r t s , a t $7,400 m i l l i o n , w il l b e 24 p e r c e n t a b o v e t h e p r e v io u s

r e c o r d , .

T he Bu r e a u f ig u r e s i n d i c a t e t h a t farm in c o m e w il l r e a c h a r e c o r d

l e v e l i n t h e y e a r 1979/80, r i s i n g from $10,610 m i l l i o n i n 1978/79

TO $11,125 M ILLIO N i n t h e c u r r e n t y e a r . . . . ■ · ■

" .

Ov e r a l l , t h e s e a r e m o st s i g n i f i c a n t and p l e a s in g f ig u r e s . T h e r e

i s no d o u b t t h a t t r a d e i n i t i a t i v e s t a k e n b y t h e Go v e r n m e n t t o

e x p a n d s a l e s o p p o r t u n it y h a v e gone a lo n g way to w a r d s b r in g in g

ABOUT THE RECOVERY IN THE RURAL INDUSTRIES. TH IS INCREASE IN RURAL

INCOME IS AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT IN THE RECOVERY OF THE TOTAL

Au s t r a l ia n e c o n o m y, b e c a u s e fa r m e r s a r e n o t o n l y a b l e to p a y o f f

THEIR DEBTS, BUT IN MANY CASES PURCHASE V IT A L NEW MACHINERY, REPAIR

THEIR PLANT AND BUILDING S, PAINT THEIR HOUSES - ALL OF WHICH HELP

L IF T THE ECONOMY TOWARDS RECOVERY. ; *, '

■ . ' ■ " ■ >: * . 1 .

...72

One o f t h e f a c t o r s m e n t io n e d i n t h e Bu r e a u o f Ag r ic u l t u r a l Ec o n o m ic s

REPORT IS THE CONCERN ABOUT R IS IN G COSTS FACING FARMING PEOPLE,

I SHARE THAT CONCERN. ΪΗ Ε WHOLE QUESTION OF TACKLING R IS IN G COSTS

. IS FUNDAMENTAL TO THE GOVERNMENT'S ECONOMIC THINKING - OUR NUMBER

ONE PRIO RITY MUST REMAIN THE FIGHT AGAINST INFLATIO N.

IT OFTEN GOES UNRECOGNISED THAT AUSTRALIA IS'O NE OF THE MOST .

E F F IC IE N T AGRICULTURAL PRODUCERS IN THE WORLD, AND THERE IS NO

DOUBT THAT ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL REASONS FOR TH IS HAS BEEN THE

DEVELOPMENT OF OUR OWN FARM MACHINERY.

Ov e r t h e y e a r s , in n o v a t io n h a s a l w a y s b e e n an o u t s t a n d in g f e a t u r e .

o f Au s t r a l ia n r u r a l i n d u s t r i e s . 'F rom t h e e a r l y d e v e l o p m e n t o f

THE STUMP-JUMP PLOUGH THROUGH TO THE MODERN BROAD SCALE CULTIVATION

AND HARVESTING EQUIPMENT, AUSTRALIAN FARMERS HAVE SHOWN, THEMSELVES

TO BE CAPABLE OF ADAPTING SUCCESSFULLY TO THE CHALLENGES OF / . .

AGRICULTURE.

I n n o v a t io n i n a g r ic u l t u r e can b e s t b e t h o u g h t o f a s a c o m b in a t io n

OF TECHNOLOGY AND TECHNIQUE. ΪΗ Ε ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGY AVAILABLE

TO AGRICULTURE HAVE BEEN SUBSTANTIAL IN RECENT YEARS, ΪΗ Ε

DEVELOPMENT OF LARGE CAPACITY TRACTORS WITH SUCH OPTIONS AS FOUR

WHEEL DRIVE AND ARTICULATED STEERING HAVE BEEN MAJOR FACTORS IN

THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR CROPPING INDUSTRIES. RELATED DEVELOPMENTS,

INCLUDING A IR SEEDERS AND AIR-CO NDITIO NED CABS, A SSIST FARMERS

TO CROP VERY LARGE TRACTS OF LAND WITH MAXIMUM E F F IC IE N C Y .

- · ■ · - ■ ■ - ■ - ....................... - - · - ' "" ’ ■ - ■ j f r ^ · - "

Pe r h a p s a l e s s o b v io u s form o f in n o v a t io n t h a n t h e t e c h n o l o g ic a l

ADVANCES HAS BEEN CHANGES IN TECHNIQUE. FARMERS W ILL CONTINUALLY

SEEK WAYS TO EFFECTIVELY REDUCE COSTS, AND TECHNIQUE (OR MANAGEMENT]

. . .73

PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN T H IS , WlTH THE PROSPECT OF;CONTINUING FUEL

PRICE RISES IN THE YEARS AHEAD, A C R ITIC A L ASPECT FOR SUCCESS W ILL

BE METHODS FOR INCREASING FUEL EFFIC IEN CY, CHANGES IN FARMING ■ ' :i . · ' "

TECHNIQUE SUCH AS REDUCED TILLAGE OPERATIONS AND THE ADOPTION OF

FU E L-E F FIC IE N T TRACTOR-IMPLEMENT COMBINATIONS MAY BECOME

INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT. .

T r a c t o r f u e l econom y i s an o b v io u s e x a m p l e o f t h e im p r o v e d .

CONSERVATION OF RESOURCES MODERN MACHINERY ALLOWS.

No t a s o b v io u s how ever a r e s uc h d e v e l c p e m e n t s .as i r r i g a t io n s y s t e m s

WHICH SUPPLY THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF WATER TO THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE

RIGHT TIM E , AND PESTICIDE SPRAYING EQUIPMENT WHICH USES LESS

CHEMICAL MORE EFFECTIVELY.

I n RECENT YEARS THERE HAS BEEN A DEVELOPMENT IN MANY AREAS. TO

INVOLVEMENT IN GROUP SCHEMES WHICH COVER THE OWNERSHIP OF

EQUIPMENT AND, TO A ^ESSER EXTENT, A SYNDICATE APPROACH TO THE

WHOLE FARM OPERATION,

Ma n y o f t h e s e g ro ups h a v e b e e n e f f e c t iv e i n r e d u c in g b o t h t h e

CAPITAL AND OPERATING COSTS OF THEIR ENTERPRISES - AN EFFECTIVE

MANAGEMENT STRATEGY GIVEN THE D IF F IC U L T IE S THE COST/PRICE SQUEEZE

HAS CAUSED TO FARMERS IN RECENT YEARS.

T he e x t e n s iv e c r o p p in g in d u s t r ie s a r e n o t t h e o n l y o n e s w here

MACHINERY IS IMPORTANT. THERE HAS BEEN A SWING TO MECHANICAL, -■ ■ . . . . . ■ * ; r

HARVESTING IN THE WINE GRAPE INDUSTRY AND ALSO IN THE PRODUCTION

OF OTHER HORTICULTURAL CROPS.

T he b a s ic r e a s o n for t h i s t r e n d i s t h e n e e d t o m a i n t a i n fa r m

PROFITS AGAINST R IS IN G LABOUR COSTS,

It i s l ik e l y t h a t Au s t r a l ia n fa r m e r s w il l b e c o m e in c r e a s in g l y

DEPENDENT ON TECHNOLOGICAL AND MANAGEMENT INNOVATIONS DURING

t h e 1980's, St u d i e s u n d e r t a k e n b y t h e Bu r e a u o f Ag r ic u l t u r a l

Ec o n o m ic s i n d i c a t e t h a t t h e r e a l c o s t o f m an y it e m s o f fa r m

m a c h in e r y h a v e i n f a c t d e c l in e d o v e r t h e p a s t d e c a d e , A

c o n t in u a t io n o f t h i s r e a l p r ic e f a l l w il l m ean t h a t t h e t r e n d

to w ar ds in c r e a s e d m e c h a n is a t io n a n d l a r g e r s c a l e s o f o p e r a t io n

CAN BE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE,

T h e r e w il l a l w a y s b e some f a r m e r s who a d a p t a n d in n o v a t e m ore

r e a d il y t h a n o t h e r s . Ho w e v e r, o nce a t e c h n iq u e , id e a or new

t e c h n o l o g y h a s b e e n shown to b e p r a c t ic a l a n d p r o f it a b l e ,

FARMERS W ILL RESPOND TO THE OPPORTUNITIES VERY QUICKLY. I t IS

ESSENTIAL THAT THE FIRMS WHICH SUPPLY THE INPUTS TO AGRICULTURE

MAINTAIN AN ADAPTIVE AND COMPETITIVE OUTLOOK,

I t NOW GIVES ME GREAT PLEASURE TO ANNOUNCE THE WINNERS OF THE

La n d Na t io n a l Far m I n n o v a t io n Aw a r d .