The importance of Science in Agriculture

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Science is vital to the future of agriculture and producers need to play a role!

This was a clear message that came from Professor Dennis Poppi at the very first combined producer business group meeting Bush Agribusiness held in October. The meeting was one of the highlights of 2020 for Bush AgriBusiness and brought together like-minded producers from across Queensland for two days of learning, discussion and networking.

Starting the two day conference, Professor Poppi detailed what the scientific process is, how it has evolved, and how agriculture has played a large role in its development (see Rothamsted). Whilst the scientific process is imperfect and can take a long time, robust research and the scientific process play an important role in providing the solutions to key problems facing the industry. With such a broad range of problems facing the industry, Professor Poppi admitted that “scientists are generally terrible at identifying commercially relevant research questions.” This is where the role for producers begins, with the most in-depth knowledge of what drives the performance of the bottom line. Hence, to best capitalise on research and the capabilities of scientists, producers need to bring researchable questions to the table.

Addressing future industry challenges will require robust science that is performed by competent scientists that have the ability to develop a logical argument which can be presented to the public. Professor Poppi summarised this well stating “rebutting arguments with long term data is most effective”, the role of science in developing this long term and bullet proof data is vital to addressing challenges facing the agricultural industry.

A key message from the discussion was that the scientific process is as relevant today as it has ever been, and even though they may speak different languages, good producers benefit from good scientists, and vice versa.

Other topics covered over the two days included, managing your lending relationship, practically managing work health and safety, a big picture perspective on the red meat industry in Australia and the fundamentals of ruminant nutrition. The groups also heard about research on probiotics, the management of a successful modern dairy and got a perspective on managing a business at the other end of the supply chain from McDonalds Australia.

Bush Agribusiness producer groups consist of profit focused pastoral businesses who come together to exchange knowledge, ideas and experience in an open environment. Current group members manage around $0.75B of assets and have average performance equivalent to the top 25% of industry. If you’d like to know more about our groups, or how to start one in your region contact Ian or Karissa or visit

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