‘Ag is on the up’ — WA industry booming creating more opportunities than ever

Shannon VerhagenCountryman
Cunderdin kids Javan Trewarn, 3, and his brother Enzo, 6, had a great time at Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days.
Camera IconCunderdin kids Javan Trewarn, 3, and his brother Enzo, 6, had a great time at Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days.

If you ask around about the state of agriculture in WA at the moment, there is a general consensus that it is an exciting time to be in the industry.

It was only fitting, then, that the theme of Dowerin GWN7 Machinery Field Days this year was “World of Opportunity”.

WA’s grain growers are expecting what is tipped to be a record breaking 20 million tonne harvest after smashing records last year despite having some of the lowest rainfall on record.

Ask many farmers and it just proves how far farming has come — from precision agriculture to agronomy, science, data, new technologies and changes in practices.

And while COVID-19 threw a spanner in the works for many sectors, agriculture has kept ticking along and over the past 18 months the $10.7 billion industry has been booming.

Machinery sales are up 67 per cent in value and 34 per cent in volume in the 2021 financial year, with seeding equipment, tractors and harvesters in high demand, as well as second-hand machinery.

Employment is on the up, with businesses putting on more staff to cope with the demand and offering more traineeships to youngsters looking to try their hand in the industry.

GrainKing director Lenny Trewarn said there were more opportunities than ever, with the Cunderdin-based family business increasing staff by 50 per cent.

“Ag is on the up — it’s incredible,” he said.

“This year and next year are going to be huge.”

His boys Enzo, 6, and Javan, 3, loved seeing all of the machines at Field Days and were pretty excited to see the big John Deere machinery at the AFGRI site.

“The boys have grown up loving machines — petrol heads,” Mr Trewarn laughed.

“They were ecstatic to come to Field Days ... and they always come to work and see the machines.”

Roesner managing director Jeff Roesner.
Camera IconRoesner managing director Jeff Roesner.

The Field Days offered insight into the varying career paths agriculture provides, from agronomy and science to agribusiness, machinery and manufacturing.

There was also a shearing display in the ram shed so people could watch it in action.

Goomalling grain grower Jarna French said agriculture offered a special lifestyle for young families.

“The kids get to go out and play and learn on the farm — it promotes family,” she said.

“And during COVID-19, not much has changed for us.”

Dowerin District High School student Amber Richards, 11, said she loved living on a farm and helping out with the sheep work.

Roesner managing director Jeff Roesner is the third generation of his family to run the company — which manufactures fertiliser spreaders for WA and over east — and his sons had followed suit. Since his grandfather started manufacturing in 1961, they have made 10,000 units.

“Both of my boys are working in the business and for kids who like the outdoors, I think it’s a fantastic career,” Mr Roesner said.

“Particularly with precision agriculture, they can still play with their devices — even on the tractor.”

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