Supporting EP growers in tackling cropping challenges

By GRDC Southern Regional Panel member & Ag Excellence Executive Officer, Mark Stanley, Port Lincoln (SA)

Farming on Eyre Peninsula (EP) can at times be bitter-sweet. The rewards can be abundant but farming here is a pursuit saddled with challenges.

In my role as a member of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Southern Regional Panel, I fully recognise the obstacles confronting grain growers in this region, and beyond.

Which is why I am keen to see more progress being made to help growers tackle issues such as soil constraints, herbicide resistance, input cost management and growing crops that meet market demands, ultimately making farm businesses more sustainable.

The main issue on EP in terms of yield potential is soil constraints. We have a variety of soils on the peninsula so we have issues with sodicity, highly erodible non-wetting sands and duplex soils. Sand over impenetrable clay layers causes water logging issues in the south.

GRDC investments in research and development are focused on helping growers overcome such constraints.

Other pressing issues are sustainability of our farming systems in relation to herbicide resistance, and maximising the efficiency of inputs to grow our crops, particularly nitrogen. We have projects on EP that are addressing these issues.

My background in working with and supporting grower groups has been a highlight of my career. These farmer-driven organisations are filling an even more important role at the local level in the development and extension arena as government resourcing becomes increasingly tight.

My role as a Panel member is to represent growers in this region by bringing regional issues to the attention of the GRDC. It’s a two way conduit – communicating from the region to the GRDC and then from the GRDC back to growers.

I will be using my experience and networks to raise and prioritise issues, to make sure they are appropriately considered for GRDC investment.

From a mixed farming background, I have extensive experience in field crops development and extension and more recently in natural resources management within the State and Commonwealth Governments and with industry.

I currently operate my own project management business, Regional Connections, and I’m contracted to lead a large carbon farming outreach and extension project with the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture. I also provide executive leadership and strategic support to Ag Excellence Alliance, supporting farming groups across SA.

I am on the board of the Eyre Peninsula Agriculture Research Foundation and I’m a committee member of the Lower Eyre Agricultural Development Association.

I encourage growers in my region and beyond to make contact with me should they have an issue they wish to raise with the GRDC, by phoning 0427 831 151 or emailing To view a YouTube video about my role and background, please visit