Mackillop Farm Management Group, a provider of research and extension for agricultural systems, used Round 2 funding of $70,000 to establish the Limestone Coast Cropping Cluster (LCCC) aimed at better understanding the opportunities and risks that exist within the cropping industry on the Limestone Coast. The Group investigated new and innovative crops and strengthened collaboration and engagement with the cropping sector to build knowledge, best practice and innovative thinking.
An industry-led steering committee was formed to drive a number of key cluster objectives, including:
- Breaking down barriers to effective communication between smaller grower groups and the wider Limestone Coast industry.
- Developing a better understanding of the current cropping industry and the opportunities that exist, through new and innovative crops.
- Continuing to engage those involved in the cropping sector to build knowledge and understanding of best practice production and innovative thinking.
- Identifying inefficiencies and common problems across the production system and building on projects such as, the use of moisture probes in the dry-land cropping system.
Funding from Round 2 of the Cluster Program was used to engage staff and help with the organisation of a strategic planning workshop, establish and foster networks with small farmer groups across the Limestone Coast, filter information into a central steering committee, identify and develop strategic projects for LCCC in relation to moisture probes and work on financial business development.
“Developing new and existing collaboration at micro and macro levels across the region have been a real benefit for the industry and is leading to better decision making within the cropping and pasture industry.” - Charlie Crozier, Project Manager, Limestone Coast Cropping Cluster.
The majority of farm businesses in the South East are mixed farms and a major issue identified is the need for better producer skills development, with the aim of improving individual business profitability.
The project has strengthened collaboration across the region and helped to raise awareness of the importance of soil moisture probes for business decisions. As a result of funding the LCCC is able to collaborate with the LCRMC to look at value adding their successful financial management workshops.
The LCCC will continue to engage and collaborate with existing industry groups, key stakeholders and government and educational agencies by utilising the skills and expertise developed through the Cluster Program.
Further information on the Limestone Coast Cropping Cluster can be found by visiting: www.mackillopgroup.com.au.