Scholar seeks management insights

By Dairy News

Farm manager Shannon Notter from Carlisle River has been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.

She will investigate the key factors affecting farmer uptake of the information necessary to maintain a profitable dairy business, in an environment characterised by variations in price, climate and cost of production.

Ms Notter solely manages her family’s seasonal calving dairy farm, located 40 km from Colac. Her vision for the 500-cow operation is to focus on improving productivity of cows and grass, simplifying management and improving efficiencies to create a sustainable and profitable business.

“The key factors recognised for maintaining profitable dairy businesses include technical efficiency, cost control, management capability, tactical flexibility, farm financial management and investment decisions, farm system and size,” she said.

“Controlling costs and making the most of resources available are also a major source of creating higher returns.”

Ms Notter hopes her research in Ireland, China, India, Brazil, Argentina and Chile will identify potential new management practices and insights to herd size, exports and trading and subsidies and tariffs, that can be applied to the Australian dairy farming industry to further boost profits.

Her overarching aim is to provide farmers with processes and decision tools to make small changes in management practices that are instrumental to the success of their businesses.

She is one of 24 Australian primary producers and managers from a diverse range of backgrounds and with interest in a broad range of study topics who have been awarded Nuffield Scholarships for 2018, showcasing the depth and breadth of Australian agriculture.

The 2018 Nuffield Scholars will undertake research and visit leading enterprises and agribusinesses within their respective industries across the globe, using a $30 000 bursary for a 16-week program of both group and individual travel.

Scholarship winners were announced in September at the annual awards dinner, as part of the Nuffield Australia National Conference in Darwin, where hundreds of delegates from the agricultural supply chain gathered to network and hear the latest research findings from the 2016 returning scholar year group.

This next wave of scholars takes the total Nuffield alumni to more than 420, and represent a diverse mix of Australian industries including chicken meat, cotton, dairy, fisheries, horticulture, grains, livestock and wool.

They will explore a wide range of study topics, including multi-peril crop insurance in variable climates, a data collection program to collate fishing data, automation in the horticultural industry and strengthening the business acumen of family-owned northern beef enterprises.

After returning from their global study tours, each scholar will share their new insights and knowledge with other producers and stakeholders in their industries and communities.

Nuffield chief executive officer Jodie Dean said the scholarships had helped to build the capacity of young leaders within Australia’s food and fibre industries for more than 67 years, positioning them at the forefront of best practice and innovation.