Crops, Pastures & Seed Project

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Case for change

The broadacre cropping, pastures and seed production sectors are undergoing a range of new challenges, which has resulted in a new work methods and skills needs. These include rapid technological advancements, changing product markets and climate ecosystems, evolving global priorities and trade opportunities, demographic movements and numerous other social and economic changes.

Broadacre farmers and seed producers are adopting new production techniques with the potential for higher yields. In addition, farmers need improved capabilities to use new digital technology applications while adapting to climate ecosystems.

Broadacre cropping (which includes cereals, oilseeds, rice, grain legumes, pulses, cotton, pasture, forage, hay and silage) is exposed to a range of factors that affect the productivity and profitability of crops and pastures grown in Australia. Seed quality and selection is one of these. Seed producers need skills and knowledge on biosecurity, to produce seed that is free from diseases and pests. Seed producers also need expertise to selectively breeding varieties of seed for specific characteristics, to offer more sustainable products that perform better in specific environments.

The review of skills standards for broadacre cropping and seed production was identified as a key skill priority in the Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2019-2022 (see page 3).

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project, out of the 2020 Annual Update to the IRC Skills Forecast (see pages 63-65).

The Agriculture and Production Horticulture Industry Reference Committee (IRC) will oversee this project as part of their responsibility to support engagement with the sector, and to ensure the project meets industry stakeholder needs.

Skills Impact will manage this project, consistent with the  2012 Standards for Training Package Development.

Download Project Proposal (see pages 63-65)

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

Project Plan

Australian farmers contribute significantly to global food security and it all starts with the skills to produce and farm quality crops and seed. Farmers and seed producers are responding to increasing global demand for food and fibre, and challenges brought about by changing environmental conditions. They are drawing on the latest technology and science to grow crops which are drought resistant, higher yielding and more nutritious. As science evolves and new technologies are discovered, the skills to produce broadacre crops, pastures and seed are changing. This project will look at job roles in these vital industry sectors to define the unique skills and changing work methods in updated national qualifications and skills standards.

Skills to interpret, operate, and manage new technologies are needed, as digital technologies drive innovations in these sectors. Mapping technology, RADAR and stereoscopic sensors, LIDAR, GPS and satellite imagery are being used to record the volume, mass and moisture of crops, and to assess crop performance and soil characteristics. These technologies support farmers to improve decision-making and planning, boosting yields and profitability. The Agricultural Workforce Digital Capability Framework will be applied by industry experts to define and identify the digital skills requirements for job roles in these sectors.

Skills are also needed to meet a range of physical and quality standards, required for Australian seed to be certified. The skills in seed processing and testing are integral to protecting Australia’s biosecurity, supplying farmers with seed that is free from disease, organisms and pests. In updating national skills standards and qualifications, this project will also focus on how to best embed skills to meet current regulatory requirements for processing and testing seeds.

Project Scope

This project will review the existing units of competency and qualifications related to broadacre  cropping, pastures and seed to define current work techniques and practices. The unit sectors will include:

  • Broad Acre Cropping (AHCBAC)
  • Seed Production (AHCSDP)
  • Seed Processing (AHCSDT)
  • Seed Testing (AHCSPO)

This project will not cover the skills standards for production cropping, which were revised as part of the Horticulture Technology Project in 2019 (read more).

Qualifications Enrolment Numbers

Enrolment numbers in the existing qualifications and skills standards for seed processing and testing will be investigated. The skills in this sector are vitality important for Australia’s biosecurity, as well as the quality of crops and seeds produced in Australia. Reasons for low enrolments will be explored to understand workforce training needs and barriers to training delivery. This issue relates to a broader investigation Skills Impact is currently undertaking as part of our Program to Support VET Reform.

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

Relevant Occupations
  • Farmer and Farm Manager
  • Crop Farmer
  • Crop Farm Worker
  • Mixed Crop and Livestock Farm Worker
  • Grain, Oilseed or Pasture Farm Worker
  • Seed Collection Handler and/or Seed Production Worker
  • Seed Processing Operator
  • Seed Testing Technician
Industry Sectors
  • Cereal (wheat, barley, triticale, millet, corn and oats)
  • Grain legumes and pulses
  • Rice (including wild rice in Northern Aust)
  • Oilseed (canola, safflower, soya beans, sunflower)
  • Cotton
  • Forage crops (brassica, maize, sorghum)
  • Pasture and seed production (lucerne, clover, ryegrass)
  • Poppy and industrial hemp production

Timeline

September/October 2020
Initial scoping

November/December 2020
Development of draft qualifications, skill sets and units

January/February 2021
Drafts available for broad consultation

April/May 2021
Validation of final drafts

June 2021
Finalisation of Training Package components

July/August 2021
Independent Quality Assurance, and Edit and Equity review of Training Package components

September 2021
IRC consideration for sign-off and submission for endorsement

Project Team
William HendersonIndustry Skills Standards Specialist, Skills Impactwhenderson@skillsimpact.com.au
Andrew HorganIndustry Engagement Manager, Skills Impactandrew@skillsimpact.com.au
Ron BarrowIndustry Skills Standard Contractor

 

Opportunities for stakeholder input

Stakeholder input is appreciated throughout the duration of this project. The documents will be drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts and their networks. Opportunities to provide targeted feedback will occur when the draft materials are made available in January/February 2021, and again for validation of final drafts in April/May 2021. However, your feedback is welcomed at any time, and will help us in drafting the qualifications, skill set and units.

It is important that training provides a skilled and flexible workforce for the future. The qualifications, skill sets, and units need to reflect real work experience. So, if you work in the sector, Skills Impact appreciates your input and assistance.

Those working in areas of cropping and seed production and others with knowledge in these fields, are invited to engage with this project.

For industry experts in seed processing and testing, Skills Impact understands that a large amount of Intellectual Property exists in the seeds themselves. This project is not about sharing this commercial information. Instead, it is about defining the skills requirements to produce, process and test seeds – to support the skills development of the future workforce and expansion of the industry.

Please register your interest in project updates and consultation opportunities by following the newsletter subscription link. Alternatively, contact the project manager, Will Henderson on whenderson@skillsimpact.com.au or 03 9321 3526.

Note: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Webinars will be held to replace the face-to-face consultation workshops Skills Impact would usually host around Australia.

Stakeholder Consultation Process

A list of key stakeholder organisations has been identified for this project based on their industry role, size or specialty. Skills Impact will ensure contact is made with each of these organisations to seek their involvement and views on all draft skill sets and units. Consultation is not limited to the organisations on this list, they have simply been identified as the most, likely to have a key interest in the development and outcomes of this project

If you are aware of an organisation that you think should be involved, please contact the project team to ensure they are contacted by us.

Development

The broadacre cropping sector is drawing on the latest technology and science to grow crops and pastures that are drought resistant, higher yielding and more nutritious. A range of factors affect the productivity and profitability of crops and pastures grown in Australia. Seed quality and selection is one important factor. Seed producers are experts at selectively breeding varieties of seed for specific characteristics, to offer more sustainable products that perform better in specific environments. The skills in seed processing and testing are integral to protecting Australia’s biosecurity, supplying farmers with seed that is free from disease, organisms and pests. Digital technologies are also driving innovations in this sector and introducing the need for skills to interpret, operate and manage new technologies. Mapping technology, RADAR and stereoscopic sensors, LIDAR, GPS and satellite imagery are being used to record the volume, mass and moisture of crops, and to assess crop performance and soil characteristics. These technologies support farmers to improve decision-making and planning, boosting yields and profitability. As science evolves and new technologies are discovered, the skills to produce broadacre crops, pastures and seed are changing. This project is looking at job roles in these vital industry sectors to define the unique skills and changing work methods in updated national qualifications and skills standards.

Experts in the sector are being engaged to help inform the content for the draft units of competency. A subject matter expert working group has also been identified and they will be convening at the end of November 2020. They are being consulted on ways to revise the existing existing skills standards to reflect modern practices and the skills to interpret, operate, and manage new technologies.

Development outcomes and next steps

Broad stakeholder consultation is scheduled to commence in January 2021, when draft units will be made available for feedback on this webpage. Your input is welcome, please feel free to register your interest to keep informed of project updates and when draft materials are available for feedback by following the newsletter subscription link below.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation and Land Management’ as your industry of interest.

 

 

 

 

 

Drafts Available

Broadacre farmers and seed producers are drawing on the latest technology and science to respond to increasing global demand for food and fibre, and to produce crops that are drought resistant, higher yielding, and more nutritious. Australian farmers contribute significantly to global food security and the skills in seed processing and testing are integral to protecting Australia’s biosecurity, supplying farmers with seed that is free from disease, organisms and pests. The skills in this sector are changing, as science evolves and new technologies are discovered. Farmers are drawing on mapping technology, RADAR and stereoscopic sensors, LIDAR, GPS and satellite imagery to record the volume, mass and moisture of crops, and to assess crop performance and soil characteristics.

The qualifications and skills standards for broadacre cropping, pastures and seed have been reviewed in consultation with subject matter experts. Several of the units of competency have been revised to reflect the skills needed to work with the latest technology and processes. Subject matter experts have also shared their insights as to why some qualifications and units may have received low enrolments in recent years. They have made recommendations for where units can be merged to better reflect current skills needs. They have also suggested that the skills for seed production, processing and testing could be better supported by adding a specialisation or stream of study for ‘Seeds’ within the Certificate III in Agriculture, and the stand alone qualifications then deleted. The Certificate III in Agriculture is not currently under review, but it is proposed for revision as part of project work in 2021-2022.

Thank you to everybody that provided feedback on the draft qualifications and draft skills standards that were available on this webpage for feedback between 2 February and 21 March 2021.

During this time, feedback was collected via the online feedback hub, consultation webinars and email. The drafts, including any comments made on the feedback hub, are still available for viewing below.

Your feedback will inform further work on the final drafts, which are expected to be available for industry comment and validation in May 2021. A summary of the feedback and how it was addressed in the final drafts will also be available.

Qualifications

Qualifications to support the skills for seed processing, production and testing have had very few enrolments in recent years.

Subject matter experts have suggested that the skills for this work could be better supported by adding a specialisation or stream of study for ‘Seeds’ within the Certificate III in Agriculture. This qualification is not currently under review, but it is proposed for revision as part of project work in 2021-2022. A specialisation would offer learners more flexible training pathways, as they would would have the option to select one or two specialisations. They would also have the option to gain further specialisations in the future by completing additional units, rather than having to undertake a whole additional qualification.

Feedback was invited on whether the contents of the qualifications linked below would be better supported by creating a ‘Seed’ specialisation or stream of study within the Certificate III in Agriculture.

AHC32116 Certificate III in Commercial Seed ProcessingView on training.gov.au
AHC33416 Certificate III in Seed ProductionView on training.gov.au
AHC33516 Certificate III in Seed TestingView on training.gov.au
AHC41416 Certificate IV in Seed ProductionView on training.gov.au
AHC41516 Certificate IV in Seed TestingView on training.gov.au

 

Units of Competency

The following units have been revised to reflect current work practices and training guidelines.

AHCBAC101 Support agricultural crop workView draft unit
AHCBAC201 Assist agricultural crop establishmentView draft unit
AHCBAC202 Assist agricultural crop maintenanceView draft unit
AHCBAC203 Assist agricultural crop harvestingView draft unit
AHCBAC204 Prepare grain storagesView draft unit
AHCBAC301 Conserve forageView draft unit
AHCBAC302 Establish pastures and crops for livestock productionView draft unit
AHCBAC303 Prepare to receive grains and seedsView draft unit
AHCBAC304 Test grains and seeds on receivalView draft unit
AHCBAC305 Undertake preparation of land for agricultural crop productionView draft unit
AHCBAC306 Establish agricultural cropsView draft unit
AHCBAC307 Maintain agricultural cropsView draft unit
AHCBAC308 Undertake agricultural crop harvestingView draft unit
AHCBAC310 Maintain pastures and crops for livestock productionView draft unit
AHCBAC401 Manage pastures for livestock productionView draft unit
AHCBAC402 Plan a pasture establishment programView draft unit
AHCBAC403 Supervise agricultural crop establishmentView draft unit
AHCBAC404 Plan and implement agricultural crop maintenanceView draft unit
AHCBAC405 Supervise agricultural crop harvestingView draft unit
AHCBAC406 Maintain grain quality in storageView draft unit
AHCBAC407 Save, prepare and store agricultural seedView draft unit
AHCBAC408 Manage agricultural crop productionView draft unit
AHCBAC502 Manage forage conservationView draft unit
AHCBAC506 Manage the harvest of cropsView draft unit

 

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

These units have been updated to align with current industry practice. If there is support for the removal of the seed qualifications, these units of competency will be included as electives in relevant agriculture qualifications, as per stakeholder and industry recommendations.

AHCSPO301 Operate a screen cleaner for seed processingView draft unit
AHCSPO302 Operate an indent cylinderView draft unit
AHCSPO303 Operate a gravity tableView draft unit
AHCSPO304 Operate seed modification machineryView draft unit
AHCSPO305 Operate seed treatment machineryView draft unit
AHCSPO306 Operate specialised seed processing machineryView draft unit
AHCSPO307 Handle, package and store commercial quantities of seedView draft unit
AHCSPO308 Sample seed before and after processingView draft unit

 

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

A thorough review of the skills outlined in existing Seed Testing (SDT) units revealed that many were a duplicate of the laboratory testing units found in the MSL Laboratory Operations bank of units.

The skills that are specifically seed related and not covered by the MLS units have been identified. This has resulted in three units being revised and ten units being organised into two new units. The two new units cover the skills required of seed testing in a laboratory, at an AQF level 3, and the skills at an AQF level 4 for advanced seed testing in a laboratory.

 

Unit Code and NameDescriptionLink to View and Comment
AHCSDT3XX Perform quality tests on seedsThis unit is a merger of:

View draft unit
AHCSDT4XX Perform advanced tests on seedsThis unit is a merger of:

View draft unit
AHCSDT301 Prepare a working sampleThe Application statement for this unit has been edited. Minor changes have been made to the Performance Criteria and foundation skills have been added. The Performance Evidence, Knowledge Evidence and Assessment Conditions have also been updated.View draft unit
AHCSDT302 Identify seedsThe Application statement for this unit has been edited. Minor changes have been made to the Performance Criteria and foundation skills have been added. The Performance Evidence, Knowledge Evidence and Assessment Conditions have also been updated.View draft unit
AHCSDT401 Maintain a quarantine approved laboratoryThe Application statement for this unit has been changed. Minor changes have been made to the Performance Criteria and foundation skills have been added. The Performance Evidence, Knowledge Evidence and Assessment Conditions have also been updated.View draft unit

 

The draft documents can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format by clicking here.

A thorough review of the Seed Production (SDP) units has revealed that they duplicate many of the existing Broad Acre Cropping (BAC) units.

Subject matter experts have also identified that many of the skills outlined in the Seed Processing (SDT) units do not align with current job tasks, and they have had no enrolments for the past five years.

For these reasons, subject matter experts have recommended that the units linked below should be deleted.

AHCSDP301 Undertake preparation of land for seed crop productionView on training.gov.au
AHCSDP302 Establish seed cropsView on training.gov.au
AHCSDP303 Maintain seed cropsView on training.gov.au
AHCSDP304 Harvest seed cropsView on training.gov.au
AHCSDP401 Plan and seed crop establishment programView on training.gov.au
AHCSDP402 Supervise seed crop establishmentView on training.gov.au
AHCSDP403 Plan and implement seed crop maintenanceView on training.gov.au
AHCSDP404 Supervise seed crop harvestingView on training.gov.au
AHCSDP405 Inspect a seed crop for quality assurance purposesView on training.gov.au
AHCSDT402 Prepare and maintain a seed reference collectionView on training.gov.au
AHCSDT404 Develop and implement laboratory policy and proceduresView on training.gov.au
AHCSDT406 Undertake internal audits in a seed laboratoryView on training.gov.au

 

The following unit for planning and managing long-term weed, pest and disease control in crops has been reviewed and updated recently, as part of the Ag Biosecurity & Emergency Response Project, so has not received any changes.

AHCBAC509 Plan and manage long-term weed, pest and disease control in cropsView the unit

 

 

Summary of consultation to date

The qualifications and units have been drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts. They have considered feedback that was received out of Workforce Functional Analysis workshops in November 2020. People working directly in the Crops, Pastures and Seeds sector participated and provided information on the skills and knowledge required for job roles and tasks. Thank you to those who provided feedback during these activities.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Agriculture, Horticulture, Conservation & Land Management’ as your industry of interest on the subscription form.

 

Validation

This stage has not yet commenced

Finalisation

This stage has not yet commenced