People on the move

People on the move in the grain and cropping sector

Grain Central April 23, 2021

Who is on the move in the Australian grain and cropping industry? Catch up with our latest update of industry appointments, rewards, retirements and achievements.

  • New Pac Seeds territory manager for WA
  • O’Neill appointed Daybreak Cropping CEO
  • Inaugural GrainGrowers director program participants announced
  • Birchip group team effort
  • Mylne takes on deputy role at CCDM
  • McColley heads Case advanced farming
  • Cleland appointed chief biosecurity officer
  • Funding for grain traceability research

PACIFIC Seeds newly appointed Western Australia territory manager Dan McGrath.

New Pac Seeds territory manager for WA

PACIFIC Seeds newly appointed Western Australia territory manager Dan McGrath relocated with his family from New Zealand to be part of what he believes is the golden age of Australia’s $63 billion agriculture industry.

“Australia is seeing investment from paths that wouldn’t traditionally invest in agriculture or that may have shied away in the last 20 years and now they’ve come back,” Mr McGrath said.

“People are moving some of their money away from mining and into agriculture, and it’s a brilliant space to be in because that’s where innovation comes from.

“I came back to Australia to work for a really innovative propriety seed company – Pacific Seeds have a really great pipeline, it’s healthy, it has good people, it’s grounded.

“They’re feeding the world, they’re innovative with how they approach this, and they’re good at it.”


O’Neill appointed Daybreak Cropping CEO

WARAKIRRI Asset Management, one of Australia’s largest Agriculture investment managers and operators, has announced the appointment of Dale O’Neill as chief executive officer of Daybreak Cropping – a national broadacre cropping business managed by Warakirri.

Daybreak Cropping CEO Dale O’Neill.

Established in 2016, Daybreak Cropping acquires broadacre cropping farms, employs local expertise to operate them and improves farm productivity by investing in technology, soil amelioration and supporting infrastructure.

Mr O’Neill recently joined the firm from Burra Foods where he spent the past 11 years as General Manager Commercial.

More broadly, he has over 20 years leadership and management experience in various senior roles across both corporate and privately held Australian agribusinesses.

Based in Melbourne, the role reports to Warakirri’s head of cropping and diversified agriculture, Adrian Goonan.

Daybreak Cropping currently owns seven large-scale cropping aggregations covering over 75,000 hectares in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and WA.


Inaugural GrainGrowers director program participants announced

EIGHT growers from across Australian have been selected as the inaugural participants for the GrainGrowers OnBoard grower director program.

The OnBoard program was developed by GrainGrowers after recognising the depth of talented growers capable of making significant contributions to the sector, yet lack of grower applicants for industry boards and committees.

The program comprises of hard and soft skills training by expert facilitators as well as funding participants to complete the Australian Institute of Company Directors course.

Bruce Watson

Successful applicants for the 2021 program are:

  • John Bennett, Lawloit, Vic
  • Ashleigh Brooks, Dimboola, Vic
  • Claire Booth, Geurie, NSW
  • Megan Gooding, WA
  • Kate Gunn, Curlewis, NSW
  • Sam Heagney, Mungindi, NSW
  • Tracy Lefroy, Moora, WA
  • Bruce Watson, Parkes, NSW

“Congratulations to the growers selected, we are really excited to have such an excellent cohort for our inaugural intake of the OnBoard program. We are proud that GrainGrowers is able to implement innovative initiatives like this, recognising and creating opportunities for growers,” GrainGrowers chair Brett Hosking said.

“We received so many outstanding applications, this was not an easy decision. Every grower who applied was a worthy candidate for the program and I hope will apply again in the future.”


Birchip group team effort

THE Birchip Cropping Group’s (BCG) newest team member is James Taylor who is taking on a research agronomist role.

Raised on a mixed farm near Serpentine in north west Victoria and an Agricultural Science graduate from The University of Melbourne, Mr Taylor joins BCG from a role with MLA (Meat and Livestock Australia) in the Sheep Genetics team where he supported sheep breeders to get the most out of out of genetic evaluation.

In his research agronomist role he will be involved in the North Central NVT (National Variety Trial) sites, ‘Fodder for the Future’ and soil carbon research.

“I was attracted to the way BCG links research to adoption of new practice on farm. This job will allow me to have a good balance between the practical and theoretical aspects of research. The location is also attractive. Birchip is a great town to live in and close to home,” he said.

James Taylor

Meanwhile, BCG staff members Alison Frischke and Chris Cook have been recognised for 10 and five years of service respectively.

BCG chief executive officer, Fiona Best, said Ms Frischke was a key contributor in both extension and research outputs for BCG.

“While she is known primarily for sharing her extensive sheep management knowledge, Alison also provides valuable input across much of BCG’s work including member engagement, event delivery and recently, the Natural Capital Project,” she said.

Ms Best said Mr Cook was an essential member of the technical staff at BCG.

“He is responsible for delivering BCG’s operational activities in the field including sowing, spreading, spraying, harvest and maintenance of BCG equipment. Chris also contributes to BCG with his photography. Many of the paddock-level images you see in BCG publications are taken by Chris.”


Mylne takes on deputy role at CCDM

THE Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM) has announced the appointment of Professor Josh Mylne to the role of deputy director.

Most recently appointed to The University of Western Australia’s School of Molecular Sciences, professor Mylne brings extensive academic and research experience to CCDM and has an impressive list of achievements, publications and awards.

In the new role he will help lead the execution of research programs and policy that align with and support the strategic research objectives of the CCDM, a co-investment between the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Curtin University.

Josh Mylne


McColley heads Case advanced farming

SEAN McColley has been appointed the new product manager for Case IH’s Advanced Farming Systems in Australia and New Zealand.

Based in Toowoomba in southern Queensland, Mr McColley grew up on a cotton farm at Moree in north west NSW and has worked extensively in the cotton industry.

One of his key roles will be raising customer awareness of Case IH’s AFS Connect technology that enables two-way data transfer between the tractor/machine and the farm office computer, reducing overlaps and input costs.


Cleland appointed chief biosecurity officer

ROBYN Cleland has been appointed as the new chief environmental biosecurity officer for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Deputy secretary of biosecurity and compliance, Andrew Tongue, said Dr Cleland brought a wealth of experience and expertise to the role.

“Dr Cleland has held senior leadership roles in the Australian Public Service for over a decade now,” Mr Tongue said.

“She has worked across the portfolios of Agriculture, Health and Environment, working in policy, compliance and regulation. Her scientific expertise spans biosecurity, plant health, biotechnology, food, ecology and agriculture.

“The role of the chief environmental biosecurity officer is to liaise between government and the community to raise awareness and build Australia’s capacity to manage biosecurity risks.

“This is a hugely important role, charged with protecting Australia’s unique wildlife, our way of life, and our status as a clean, green exporter of high-quality food.”

Dr Cleland has worked with State and Territory jurisdictions, NGOs and the community across a number of national regulatory schemes and has extensive experience in engaging with diverse stakeholders across contentious issues.

Before she joined the APS, she was a research scientist at the University of Cambridge, the University of Sheffield and the Australian National University.


Funding for grain traceability research

THREE Federation University Australia researchers have been awarded $260,000 from the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment to further research into the traceability of the Australian grain export supply chain.

Associate Professor Shyh Wei Teng, Professor Manzur Murshed and Dr Paul Pang from Federation’s School of Engineering, Information Technology and Physical Sciences (SEITPS) will use the latest funding to address critical gaps in Australia’s grain export supply chain by studying and developing a trusted blockchain-based traceability technology.

Digital traceability technology is fast gaining significant attention in our national food industries.

The funding will also further research into relevant food safety assessment techniques from physical, visual and organic chemical traits.

The program is part of the Federal Government’s Modernising Agricultural Trade agenda to support the target of a $100 billion agricultural sector by 2030.



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