People on the move

People on the Move in the grain industry

Grain Central, August 21, 2023

Cotton Australia board. Arthur Spellson, Bernie Bierhoff, Matt McVeigh, Angus O’Brien, April Cavanagh, Bruce Connolly, Fleur Anderson, Adam Kay; Front: Rob Dugdale, Nigel Burnett and Liz Stott. Photo: Cotton Australia.

  • Winners announced at Cotton Collective
  • Changes on GRDC panels
  • Connolly, Cavanagh join CA board
  • Awards for SunRice growers
  • CBRE appoints Harrison, Shaw

Winners announced at Cotton Collective

The cotton industry’s top awards for 2023 were announced at the Cotton Collective Awards Dinner in Toowoomba early this month.

Brookstead growers Johannes and Scarlett Roellgen from Tyunga Farms were named the 2023 Bayer Cotton Growers of the Year, with fellow Darling Downs grower Daniel Skerman, representing Skerman Farms at Dalby, taking out the AgriRisk High Achiever award.

The Roellgens have been growing cotton continuously on their farm for 29 years and this year produced 1100ha of both irrigated and dryland cotton.

Despite the challenges of drought and floods over the years they have consistently improved their yields, and are reducing chemical use through the application of feedlot manure and insect pest management.

They have also increased their water efficiency through laser levelling of their fields to improve flood irrigation, while investing in lateral move over the top irrigators to further enhance water effectiveness.

Bayer Cotton Grower of the Year winners Scarlett and Johannes Roellgen, with (at left) Tyunga Farms team member Bob Larkham and agronomist Liz Lobsey, with Bayer sponsor Mark Dawson (right) at the Cotton Collective Dinner and award ceremony. Photo: Cotton Australia

Mr Roellgen acknowledged Toowoomba-based agronomist Matthew Holding for helping to drive efficiencies and for bringing together a local group of farmers who have reduced their combined nitrogen applications to 40 percent below the industry average.

“We also found the Cotton Australia best practice standards program myBMP to be extremely helpful,” Mr Roellgen said.

AgriRisk High Achiever of the Year went to Skerman Farms, which runs 2000ha, including 100ha of irrigation, on Fassifern at Dalby. Skerman family members involved are: Daniel and Chloe, Ross and Merryll, Luke and Michelle and Josh and Amanda.

The Skermans use soil coring and EM38 soil mapping to monitor moisture to ensure the best outcomes, and actively map cotton quality to highlight variations between paddocks so they can respond appropriately.

CRDC Chris Lehmann Young Cotton Achiever of the Year Award went to Gold Coast-based fashion designer Emma Bond who promotes cotton and cotton designs through her own label Madi and Pip.

CSD Researcher of the Year Award went to Jamie Hopkinson from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in Toowoomba.

Dr Hopkinson has managed the industry Silver Leaf Whitefly resistance testing program for over 13 years.

The Incitec Pivot Fertilisers Service to the Cotton Industry Award went to renowned Moree agronomist Peter Birch.

“Peter has played a critical role throughout his 40 years in the industry, actively encouraging and supporting staff to grow with B&W Rural, the organisation he started in partnership with Peter Weal in 1990,” Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay said.

“He has mentored a large number of agronomists and young growers for over 30 years, individuals who are now making a considerable impact throughout the cotton regions of New South Wales and Queensland.”

Changes on GRDC panels

The Grains Research and Development Corporation has announced changes to all three of its panels, effective September 1 for a two-year period, to help guide priorities for research, development and extension investments to deliver enduring profitability to grain growers.

In the Northern Region, NSW and Qld growers will be represented by four new and five returning members.

CQ agronomist Belinda Chase is one of three new GRDC Northern panel members.

New to the Northern panel are: Central Qld agronomist Belinda Chase; Blackville, NSW, agronomist and grower Sarah Ball; Qld-NSW border region agronomist Jo Weier, Mungindi, and Henty grower Murray Scholz.

GRDC Northern Panel chair and Chinchilla grower Arthur Gearon acknowledged the enormous contribution of outgoing members Liverpool Plains, NSW, agronomist Pete McKenzie, CQ agronomist Graham Spackman, and Orange, NSW, rural financial expert Adam Tomlinson.

“On behalf of GRDC I would like to thank them for the commitment, invaluable insights and the enthusiasm they brought to their roles,” Mr Gearon said.

“They devoted significant time and effort to representing the views, issues and research priorities of NSW and Queensland growers and should be proud of what they achieved.”

Returning Northern panellists are: West Wyalong grower and deputy chair Roger Bolte; Parkes district grower Bruce Watson; Riverina grower Roy Hamilton; NSW researcher Georgina Pengilley; and Qld agronomy engineer Fernanda Dreccer.

Tasmanian organic grower Peter Damen has joined GRDC’s Southern panel.

New to the Southern panel are: South Australian adviser Neil Fisher; Victorian grower and researcher Patricia Flynn, and Tasmanian organic farmer Peter Damen.

GRDC Southern Panel chair and Rutherglen grower Andrew Russell acknowledged the three outgoing members.

“We say farewell to Lou Flohr, John Midwood and Simon Burgess, who have all made outstanding contributions to the grains industry through their involvement with the GRDC Southern Region Panel,” Mr Russell said.

“On behalf of GRDC I would like to thank them for their energy, passion and commitment to ensuring they accurately and effectively represented the views and priorities of growers across the three states.”

Returning Southern panellists are: Dimboola grower and extension specialist Prudence Cook; Birchip grower Tim McClelland; Burra agro-ecologist and grower Ruth Sommerville; Port Lincoln research agronomist Andrew Ware; Cummins grower Michael Treloar; and Melbourne-based researcher Michelle Watt.

Bencubbin grower Nick Gillett has joined GRDC’s Western panel.

In the Western Region, WA growers will be represented by a panel with two new members: Bencubbin grower Nick Gillett and Calingiri grower John Young.

In welcoming the incoming members, GRDC Western Panel chair Darrin Lee recognised the significant time, effort and commitment of those panel members who were stepping down.

“We say farewell to my longstanding deputy chair Jules Alvaro and well-known researcher John Blake, who have both made outstanding contributions to the grains industry through their involvement with the GRDC Western Region Panel,” Mr Lee said.

Returning Western panellists are: Perth-based agronomist Craig Brown; Esperance agronomist Quenten Knight; Perth-based wheat breeder Daniel Mullan; Wickepin grower Gary Lang; Coorow grower Juliet McDonald; Perth-based researcher Richard Williams, and Calingiri grower Suzanne Woods.

Connolly, Cavanagh join CA board

Northern Territory cotton grower Bruce Connolly and southern NSW grower April Cavanagh have joined the board of Cotton Australia, while Bob Dall’Alba has retired from the board after close to 15 years.

Following Cotton Australia’s annual general meeting held at the 2023 Cotton Collective in Toowoomba earlier this month, Fleur Anderson and Matt McVeigh have been reappointed for a further three years.

Ms Cavanagh has significant experience in financial services, agriculture and manufacturing was approached last year to fill a casual vacancy and was elected to the role.

The new board voted to reappoint Nigel Burnett as chair and appointed grower Liz Stott as deputy.

Awards for SunRice growers

Winners of the 2023 Rice Industry Awards were announced in Griffith earlier this month.

SunRice chair Laurie Arthur with C23 SunRice Grower of the Year Award winners Robert and April Andreazza.

Now in its fifth year, the awards showcase the best in the rice-growing business and highlight innovation in production and irrigation methods, as well as water efficiency.

The C23 SunRice Grower of the Year Award went to Robert and April Andreazza of Willbriggie, just south of Griffith.

“It’s important to recognise the best of the best, and Robert and April’s farm shows innovation and is focused on sustainability practices,” SunRice program manager Peter McDonnell said.

Judge and Irrigation Research and Extension executive officer Iva Quarisa said the Andreazza farm’s operations and efficiency improvements were impressive.

“In one paddock they’ve gone from 15 bays down to six bays, improving water and agronomic efficiencies,” Mr Quarisa said.

Highest yields by region:

  • Western Murray Valley: Larnoo Nominees 13.65t/ha over 240ha;
  • Eastern Murray Valley and Port of Melbourne overall highest yield award: Justin Barker 14.38t/ha over 47ha;
  • Coleambally Irrigation Area: Lionola Farming 11.28t/ha over 49ha.
  • Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area: Nathan and Kylie Ceccato 14.16t/ha over 149ha;

Yenda Producers Specialist Grain Yield Awards:

  • Topaz highest grain yield: Knagge Family Trust 9.82t/ha over 46ha;
  • Langi highest grain yield: Wayne and Janelle Sullivan 11.35t/ha over 58ha;
  • Opus highest grain yield: Laurence and Pamela Beer 10.61t/ha over 31ha;
  • Koshikari highest grain yield: Michael and Felicia Chalmers 7.23t/ha on 235ha.

Excellence in Extension, Research and Advisory Award: Laurie Lewin.

Grower Industry Contribution Award: John Bonetti.

CBRE appoints Harrison, Shaw

CBRE has appointed John Harrison and Angus Shaw to new Pacific leadership roles.

CBRE’s John Harrison.

Mr Harrison will head CBRE’s agribusiness capital market team, bringing 11 years of rural property and leadership experience to the role, while Mr Shaw has been appointed to lead the Agribusiness valuation and advisory services team after a real estate advisory career spanning two decades.

The appointments reinforce CBRE’s commitment to the agribusiness sector as a key component of the firm’s global platform.

“John is extremely well connected and is highly regarded by our clients for his industry knowledge and integrity,” CBRE’s Pacific head of capital markets Flint Davidson noted.

“His appointment further strengthens our Australian capabilities given John’s demonstrated leadership expertise, strong relationships with institutional, corporate, government and family farming groups, and deep understanding of their investment strategies and requirements.”

Mr Harrison has first-hand knowledge and experience in the agricultural sector, having grown up on his family’s cropping and grazing property in South Australia’s Murray-Mallee region.

He is also a certified practising valuer with broad experience across a wide range of agricultural assets, having led the agribusiness valuation teams at both CBRE and Colliers.

Angus Shaw. Photo: CBRE

Mr Shaw joined CBRE two years ago, bringing a specialisation in the energy and resource markets, in addition to his extensive background as a rural and agribusiness valuer.

“This provides Angus with a deep understanding of both local markets and corporate returns, drawing on his experience providing advice on some of Australia’s largest rural assets,” CBRE’s Pacific head of valuation and advisory services Jarrod Frazer said.



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