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Commencement date

8 August 2016

Completion date

12 August 2016


This project aims to investigate the farming systems in the Ord River Irrigation Area in Kununurra, Western Australia (WA).

Funding Provider

Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)

Project lead organisation


Liebe Group, GRDC, and local growers

Project background

Over the last 18 years, growers in the Liebe Group region have experienced numerous below average rainfall seasons including four severe droughts. To remain profitable, it is important to identify that achieving sustainable farming systems in an increasingly volatile climate requires strategic and proactive R&D. The process identifies major threats and weaknesses to farming systems in order to develop a strategy that assists farmers in these issues.

This R&D strategy is driven by knowledge gaps; to develop this strategy requires strategic thinking, which is difficult when conventional logic tells growers to stay within the confines of our current research.

In light of this requirement, the Liebe Group has identified that insight into alternative systems and a chance to think outside the current boundaries would be beneficial. Farming systems, such as those implemented in the Ord irrigation area, typify situations where growers demonstrate high levels of innovation to overcome numerous on-farm issues in volatile conditions. While systems in the Ord area are different to the Northern Agricultural Region (NAR) of WA, growers face similar agronomic, management and marketing challenges, giving them a chance to critically analyse their own production systems.

The key learning objectives for participants in this tour are:

  1. Being able to compare and contrast alternative farming systems to their own system, and in doing so formulate innovative ideas for potential future research in the Liebe Group area.

  2. Being able to define critical success factors of alternative farming systems, including agronomic, management, and marketing techniques.

  3. To recognise and understand the processes and challenges in developing new crops and supporting agronomic packages.

  4. Recognise the importance of strategic thinking, including the fostering of innovation and progression.


Observing Ord River Irrigation Area growers pioneering a food industry in a hostile Kimberley environment will provide external insight into how our own farming community could expand their knowledge and apply it to their local farming systems. The Liebe Group membership has a strong involvement in setting research and development priorities, with a focus on identifying gaps in knowledge, and barriers to adoption of new technologies. Liebe Group R&D goes about devising strategies to assist farmers with their adoption and implementation processes.

Results and Reports

This project was funded by GRDC.

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