Birchip Cropping Group Filling the GAPP

Photo credit: Linda Walters, Birchip Cropping Group

In a joint project between Birchip Cropping Group (BCG) and the Victorian State Government, the growth, adoption, production and profit (GAPP) initiative is bringing young farmers together to discuss business and agronomic management issues with the goal of increasing productivity and profitability through the adoption of new technologies and practices on-farm.

The GAPP concept was launched by BCG in 2015 when it established groups of young (and young at heart) farmer discussion groups in five different regions, as well as a women’s group based out of Birchip. Members of these groups meet 3-4 times during the year to discuss agronomy and farm business management, and how they influence each other. Each group is supported by BCG staff and local agronomists.

With the total number of groups increasing to eight in 2016, the GAPP program gives members across different regions access to industry specialists and farm business professionals who are invited to take part in the meetings to share their expertise with growers and answer any questions. This system has proven to be a successful forum which delivers relevant information, challenges cultural practices and encourages open discussion.

Photo credit: Linda Walters, Birchip Cropping Group

So far the GAPP initiative has been well received with farmers using the groups as a vehicle to upskill, and appreciating the opportunity to assess their businesses and discuss with their peers. The groups have been particularly valuable for younger and less experienced farmers wanting to get a better understanding of the things that impact their bottom line.

Examples of topics covered by the group include, cost of production, enterprise mix and risk management, interpreting climatic models, support tools such as Yield Prophet® and Farm4Prophet, pre-emergent herbicides and resistance, soil test interpretation and variety selection.

Meetings can also include crop walks to cover things such as identifying critical crop growth stages, early stage weed identification, weed resistance and integrated weed management options, monitoring for pests and disease and visiting grower’s farms where there may be an issue or something of interest that others in the group can learn from.

For more information on the program contact Linda Walters, Research and Extension Officer, T: (03) 5492 2787, E: