Redox recognises that one of the major challenges of the future will be farm productivity and ultimately food security. At Redox we employ Agronomists to help farmers improve crop yields, maximising production and reducing costs. We spoke to Ian Gardener about a day in the life of a Redox Agronomist.
How does Redox fit into the industry?
Redox is a supplier of a large variety of products and fertiliser growing media. Through my role as an Agronomist, I help deliver advice to farmers on how to get the best results for their crops using Redox products. We work with the farmer’s local rural retailer to ensure our products are easily available to them. In turn, maintaining an effective network for Redox, within the crop production and protection industry.
Can you explain what your typical day is like?
Being an Agronomist is all about problem solving for farmers and re-sellers. In many instances they don’t know what to ask or what they need, so it’s my role to identify and advise farmers on what they need for better results. I evaluate crops, construct programs for addition rates of fertilisers and give advice about related Redox products which might help with their yield. Due to the nature of the role it takes a considerable amount of time and research to uncover the farmer’s issues.
My typical day is never the same, and varies from day to day. One day I will physically walk the crops and get an idea, while other day’s I will be on the phone giving advice. Due to the tyranny of distance, a large portion of my role is either travelling or on the phone. This is good as it gives me flexibility and variety in my days. Sometimes it’s easy to give advice, and other times I will need to be in the office to do some research and get back to them.
What are the most fulfilling aspects of your role and career?
The most fulfilling aspect of my role is producing good yield - I get good results. For instance, when working on a Raspberry crop, it took only 18 month to yield 25 tonnes per hectare. The farmer acknowledged that he couldn’t get that amount out of his crops. Another crop of Blueberries only took me 3 months to turn the yield around. It’s mostly about chemistry and chasing yield!
For my career, Redox has opened a lot of opportunities for me and created experiences I otherwise wouldn’t have had- I’ve seen lot of the country, experienced different temperature zones (tropical, etc.) and soil types (latitude and longitude).
What are the misconceptions about Agronomy?
A reoccurring misconception is that farmers expect the miraculous to happen, such as double yield and increased pack out rates, and they want it as cheap as possible. Sometimes I need to give them a breakdown of what is reasonably possible. I undertake a lot of research in my role, so I’m confident in my programs and advice.
One thing that is not considered is that it all takes time, especially in soil. To be successful and produce the best yield you need science, experience and (that gut feeling) intuition. It’s not an easy quick process.
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