Elders agronomist returns from U.S. horticultural study tour
Elders Bairnsdale agronomist, Noel Jansz, has recently returned from a tour of the United States gaining key insights into their agronomy industry and practices.
As Elders’ 2014 Employee of the Year Award, Noel was recognised for his focus on clients and innovation as well as a 40 per cent growth in earnings, granting him a $10,000 study tour prize.
Covering eleven U.S. states in three weeks, Noel visited a range of horticulture companies, farms and research centres including Monsanto, Bayer Biologics, John Deere and Company, and Syngenta.
Describing the experience as eye opening, Noel says that there are some major differences between the U.S and Australian agriculture systems.
“America is a big country with a lot of water so it’s much easier to farm, even in the desert areas like California,” says Noel.
“Labour and fuel costs are much lower which is an advantage, and there is a large focus on microorganisms with fertiliser, chemical and seed companies,” he said.
Whilst Noel doesn’t think that the U.S. has any better farming practices than Australia, he says that they are slightly more technically advanced.
“The U.S. are more heavily involved in R&D with a larger focus on GMO crops, but they also have less application restrictions,” he says.
General Manager – South Zone, Malcolm Hunt, says that being exposed to international markets is important for ensuring that Elders continues to be on the front foot in the industry.
“Innovation and improvement is a priority for our business moving forward and we want to instill this attitude in our people,” says Malcolm.
“Agronomy in particular is a developing industry so it’s important for us to keep our eyes open to new developments to ensure that that we are leveraging the most modern and effective practices for the benefit of our clients,” he said.
On returning to his branch, Noel says he has gained a greater perspective on what international companies and farmers are looking towards for the future of agriculture. His visit cemented key trends in maximising crops and exposed him to how foreign industries operate.
“My study tour was an incredible opportunity that has given me a greater understanding of the next big things in our industry,” says Noel.
“I gained a lot of knowledge that I’m excited to share with other agronomists in the network,” he said.
“Always being open to learning is such an important part of my role. It’s crucial for our industry to continue to learn from others and grow through innovation for the future.”
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