2023 Farmer of the Year award for excellence in technology
Fourth-generation Australian farmer Ray Taylor was announced as the winner of the Award for Excellence in Technology at the Farmer of the Year Awards 2023, which took place at Parliament House in Canberra on 20 June 2023. These awards recognise excellence in farming across Australia and include other prestigious awards, such as the Farmer of the Year Award, which was won by Tess and Andrew Herbert.
- Award for Excellence in Technology winner Ray Taylor the fourth-generation farmer renowned for his use of innovative technology, is dedicated to teaching the next generation.
- The family farm started with Ray’s great-grandfather, who bought a block of land on the creek behind Mitchelton State School just outside Brisbane.
- Taylor is known for excellence in agricultural research and for using new technology to overcome challenges.
- According to Taylor, the biggest challenge for his farming operation is adverse weather conditions such as drought, which he is trying to overcome by using dam covers and digital irrigation.
As a farmer, Ray Taylor is known for using innovative technology, although he says that his main passion is teaching farming practices and farming business to young people in the industry. He believes that this teaching is the best way to secure the future of the farming industry in Australia and promote a love of farming in generations still to come.
Belief in teaching the next generation
Ray loves producing high-quality food for people to enjoy, and he is passionate about passing his skills and knowledge on to the next generation. His aim is to ensure the excellence of the Taylor family produce continues across generations. This ability to pass on farming acumen started with Ray’s great-grandfather, who bought a block of land behind Mitchelton State School, outside Brisbane, after World War I.
That land was passed on to Ray’s grandfather and father. His father bought additional properties in the area and expanded the business. Today, Ray’s father, William, and his Uncle Keith are still in the business, together with Ray himself, Jeff and Wayne Taylor, and members of the next generation of Taylors, John, Ryan, Luke, and Sam.
Ray is keen to work with the younger members of the family to bring new technologies and efficiencies to the business in order to continue producing excellent produce.
Challenges as well as good times
This adoption of technology is helping the Taylor Family to overcome challenges. One challenge is difficulties in sourcing and employing workers. However, the Taylor family is able to use PALM scheme workers to pick crops. So, the major challenge the business faces is the weather.
Ray has spoken about the farm’s program of storing water ahead to overcome problems caused by drought. He has also spoken about the farm’s pilot of dam covers to reduce evaporation and its use of computerised irrigation to monitor soil moisture. This work on water conservation has allowed the farm to save 15-20% solely on water consumption from five or 10 years ago.
In addition, carbon levels on the farm have been raised by two or three points. This rise has changed the soil from white and porous sand to a richer and darker colour. This change has led to healthier crops that have a longer shelf-life.
The Taylor family is proud of these improvements. The impressive levels of technical innovation and change also played a central role in Ray Taylor receiving his accolade at the Farmer of the Year Awards for 2023. This is something that gives him an immense sense of achievement.