People on the move

People on the move in the grains and cropping sector

Grain Central November 9, 2018

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

  • Agriculture’s national champions
  • Crown Analytical focus
  • Birchip Board changes
  • Cotton executive moves on
  • Elders pulls grain stalwart to WA
  • GrainGrowers tweaks its team
  • Murray Darling appointments
  • Irrigation Australia changeover
  • Plant science organisation leadership
  • Cargill role for Pattison
  • Thrive agri-commodities trader
  • Australian Grain Export trader
  • RGA policy manager elected to NSWIC
  • New Academy Fellows
  • National corn crop winners
  • Students vie for PhD scholarships
  • Cotton leadership program


Agriculture’s national champions

CROPPING industry leaders featured among the award winners at this year’s Farmer of the Year presentations in Canberra in October.

2018 award recipients are:

Australian Farmer of the Year – Peter and Frances Bender, Huon Aquaculture Company, Hobart, Tasmania, salmonid producers.

Farming Legend of the Year – Ray Harrington, Darkan, Western Australia, farm inventor and innovator.

Tim Neale

Rural Consultant of the Year Award – Tim Neale, Toowoomba, Queensland, sustainable agricultural practices and precision agriculture technology.

Award for Excellence in Innovation – Dan Fox, Old Junee, New South Wales, vision for farming future.

Young Farmer of the Year – Christopher McLoghlin, Diggers Rest, Victoria, organic mushroom grower.

Award for Excellence in Diversification – Simon Rowe, Burra, South Australia, organic red wine.

Rural Community Leader of the Year – Lorraine Gordon, Armidale, New South Wales, community leadership.


Crown Analytical focus

AFTER 21 years with B&W Rural at Moree in north west New South Wales, agricultural consultant, Rob Long, has stepped down to focus on the role of head of Crown Analytical Services, a company he started in 2008 with Bellata-based consultant, Drew Penberthy.

Rob Long

Mr Long recently bought out Mr Penberthy’s share in an amicable arrangement.

“It is time for me to create equity and value in a company I own and am passionate about, focussing on DNA molecular diagnostic detection of soil borne disease in the broadacre and cotton industries,” he said.

“We are working collaboratively with CSD and a number of corporate and family growers, to hopefully unlock some of the management issues with verticillium, black root rot and reniformis nematodes.”


Birchip Board changes

VICTORIAN farmer, Tim Rethus, joined the Birchip Cropping Group (BCG) Board at the BCG annual general meeting on October 29.

Mr Rethus farms a 100 per cent dryland winter cropping enterprise with his brother Luke, father Geoff and long-time worker Glenn, near Horsham in the Wimmera.

Farm 360 consultant/director, Simon Craig, who joined the BCG Board in October 2017, was also confirmed as a co-opted Board Member.

BCG chairman, Caroline Welsh, took the opportunity to thank and acknowledge the contribution of outgoing board members, Brad Martin, Brim, Leo Delahunty, Murtoa, and Sara Hely from the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.

Caroline Welsh and Tim Rethus


Cotton executive moves on

AFTER 14 years at the helm of the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC), executive director, Bruce Finney, will be stepping down from his position in January 2019.

Bruce Finney

CRDC chair Richard Haire praised Mr Finney’s contribution to CRDC and the Australian cotton industry during his tenure at CRDC.

“Bruce has made an enormous contribution to CRDC and the wider cotton industry over his time here, and his prior career in agronomy, management and corporate agriculture, and we thank him for his leadership and dedication,” he said.

Mr Finney will be relocating from Narrabri in north west NSW in January 2019 to commence a new role leading business development and innovation with NSW Department of Primary Industries at Orange in central west NSW.


Elders pulls grain stalwart to WA

AFTER 18 years working as a grain marketer in the Australian grain industry, Michael Wallace has taken up a new role with Elders Grain in Western Australia.

A Geraldton-native, Mr Wallace said the synergy between Elders and their online trading platform, Clear Grain Exchange, had created an unparalleled offering for farmers, and he was excited about what he could offer grains clients as an Elders West grain representative.


GrainGrowers tweaks its team

VICTORIAN grain farmer, Brett Hosking, was elected GrainGrowers’ new chair at the grower representative body’s annual general meeting in Dubbo in October.

Mr Hosking replaces Baradine, NSW, farmer, John Eastburn, who retired after nine years in the position and as a director since 2006.

Rodney Birch

Western Australia farmer, Rod Birch, will continue in his role as deputy chair.

Two northern region directors were elected to the GrainGrowers Board at the meeting:

  • North west NSW grain farmer Andrew Carberry, Narrabri, who was re-elected to the Board
  • Queensland producer, Peter Thompson, Roma, who was elected as a new director.

Also at the meeting, Bruce Shwartz stepped down as a northern region representative on the National Policy Group (NPG) after serving GrainGrowers in a number of roles since 1975.

Bruce Schwartz

The NPG is made up of 15 growers elected from across the major grain growing regions in Australia, and informs industry policy.

Current NPG members are:

Northern Region: Ian Gourley; Keith Harris; Terry Fishpool

Southern Region: Richard Rice; Cam Parker; Emma Thomas; Bob McCormack; Mark Hoskinson

Western Region: Tristan Baldock; Kallum Blake; Michael Hunt; Paul Kelly and Frank O’Hare.

GrainGrowers is seeking nominations from grain farmer members to fill two vacancies on the NPG for the Northern Region (north of Dubbo, NSW, and Queensland). Nominations close at 5 pm (ADST) on 11 November 2018.


Murray Darling appointments

THE Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has appointed seven Australian scientists to the independent advisory body that helps guide the MDBA’s implementation of the Murray–Darling Basin Plan.

The new committee members are:

  • Professor Robert Vertessy (hair), water security and environmental intelligence, University of Melbourne’s School of Engineering and former head of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology
  • Professor Poh-Ling Tan, water law and governance, Griffith University’s International Water Centre
  • Professor Michael Stewardson, environmental hydrology, water sharing and river science, University of Melbourne’s School of Engineering
  • Professor David James, environmental and natural resource economics, University of the Sunshine Coast
  • Professor Sue Jackson, cultural and economic geography, Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute
  • Roger Stone

    Professor Roger Stone, applied climate science, University of Southern Queensland

  • Professor Nick Bond, ecology and hydrology, La Trobe University’s Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems.


Irrigation Australia changeover

THE Irrigation Australia Board has recognised South Australian industry leader, Kathryn (Kath) Eden, as a life member of Irrigation Australia.

Kath Eden

Ms Eden is chair of the Irrigation Australia South Australian Regional Committee and has served on the Board of Irrigation Australia from 2015-17.

Kahla McKinless joined Irrigation Australia in October, replacing Jodie Porter who continues to work closely with Ms McKinless during the transition period until Ms Porter relocates to Adelaide early in the New Year.

Five directors were elected to the Irrigation Australia Board at Irrigation Australia’s annual general meeting on October 25.

Kahla McKinless

The three renominating directors who were successfully returned for a further two-year term are:

  • Netafim Australia business development manager, Peter Durand;
  • HR Products general manager, Les Olivieri;
  • Vinidex general manager sales, John Pivac.

The two new incoming directors are:

  • SunWater executive general manager operations and services, Colin Bendall;
  • Goulburn Broken Catchment Authority manager sustainable irrigation, Carl Walters.

Outgoing directors, Peter Hayes and Ian Penno, were recognised for their service and contribution.

Mr Hayes will continue on the Australia National Committee for the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (IACID).


Plant science organisation leadership

SYNGENTA Australia’s territory head for ANZ and managing director, Paul Luxton, is to continue to serve as president of Australia’s national peak industry organisation for the plant science sector, CropLife Australia.

Paul Luxton

Mr Luxton will be joined on CropLife’s executive by:

  • Sipcam Pacific Australia managing director, Damien Ryan (vice president, crop protection)
  • Bayer Group ANZ chairman and managing director, Joerg Ellmanns (vice president, crop biotechnology)
  • BASF Australia Agriculture Solutions – Australia & New Zealand head, Gavin Jackson (chair of corporate governance committee)

In addition to the executive, the following people will serve as directors on the CropLife Australia Board for the 2018‑19 year:

  • Darrin Hines

    Adama Australia chief executive officer, Darrin Hines

  • CORTEVA Agriscience (Agricultural Division of DowDuPont) managing director Australia/New Zealand, Rob Kaan
  • FMC Australasia country manager, Kristina Hermanson
  • Nufarm Australia ANZ regional general manager, Peter O’Keefe
  • Sumitomo Chemical Australia managing director, Tony Brookes

The CropLife executive and board provide important strategic guidance for the organisation, led by chief executive officer, Matthew Cossey.


Cargill role for Pattison

SORGHUM specialist Matthew Pattison is in a new role as regional manager-trade in the Toowoomba office of global agribusiness Cargill AWB.

His work includes some commercial and team functions, as well as regional responsibility for sorghum business.

Mr Pattison was previously a trading manager at COFCO, which shut down its Toowoomba operation in June.


Thrive agri-commodities trader

THRIVEAGRI last month in Melbourne employed Paddy Calvert-Jones as agri-commodities trader for southern Australia.

Paddy Calvert-Jones

Mr Calvert-Jones’ previous experience includes farm and commodities work in the beef, hay, dairy and grain sectors.

While ThriveAgri supplies livestock feed domestically through southern and northern Australia, it focuses on the niche supply of feed to livestock export customers locally, on-board ship and at overseas destination.


Australian Grain Export trader

FORMER Toowoomba-based COFCO trader Owen Goddard has joined the trading team of grain marketing specialist Australian Grain Export.

Mr Goddard is working from Toowoomba.

Australian Grain Export, which operates packing facilities in South Australia and Victoria, trades commodities from most growing regions of Australia.


RGA policy manager elected to NSWIC

RICEGROWERS’ Association policy manager Rachel Kelly, Moama, has been appointed to the Board of the New South Wales Irrigators Council (NSWIC).

Rachel Kelly

Ms Kelly has a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce (Business Management) from the University of Canberra and is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program.

NSWIC retiring chairman Richard Stott, who is stepping down after his seventh year, said Ms Kelly’s appointment was recognition of her extensive knowledge of water policy and her commitment to the industry’s future.

She was one of four new candidates elected to the board of NSWIC at its annual general meeting in Sydney on November 7.

The others were:

  • Brendan Barry, Murrumbidgee Private Irrigators
  • Jim Cush (chair), Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association
  • Tim Napier (deputy chair), Border Rivers Food and Fibre.


New Academy Fellows

MORE than two dozen women and men with impressive track records in leadership and creating impact have been elected Fellows of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.

They include scientists involved in the grains industry:

  • Andrew Campbell

    Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) chief executive officer, Professor Andrew Campbell

  • ACIAR principal advisor, Dr John Dixon
  • The University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture associate director, Professor Wallace Cowling

The Academy is an independent body of 870 eminent Australian scientists and engineers enhancing Australia’s prosperity through technology and innovation.


National corn crop winners

A MAIZE crop grown by Ian and Mary Hamono at Cooma, south of Kyabram in Victoria, has taken out the irrigated section of the National Maize Competition.

The Hamonos grew a crop of Pioneer hybrid P1467 which was yield tested at 19.54 tonnes per hectare.

The winning crop was planted on 23 October 2017 at 95,000 seeds/ha and harvested on 19 April 2018, with just 6.0 megalitres per hectare of water used through the summer.  This resulted in a Water Use Efficiency (WUE) of 3.26 tonnes per ML of water.

The crop was planted following a vetch silage crop which yielded 6t/ha dry matter.

The area was then subbed up using the sub-surface drip irrigation and strip tilled and directly planted to maize into the moisture.

A pre-emergent application of Dual Gold and Atrazine was then applied and, during the growing season, a total of 270kg/ha of Nitrogen (as UAN) was applied via the sub-surface drip irrigation system.

Craig Reynolds of Congupna, in northern Victoria was placed second in the irrigated section with a crop of Pioneer hybrid P1467 that yielded 19.18t/ha.

Another northern Victorian entrant, Kagome Farms, came third with a sub-surface irrigated crop of Pioneer hybrid P1504E that yielded 19.12t/ha.

The dryland competition was won by Glen and Lisa Boal, from Warwick in southern Queensland, with a crop of Pioneer hybrid P1888 at an adjusted yield of 9.31t/ha.

National Maize Competition irrigated section winner, Ian Hamono (centre), receives his award from Netafirm’s Andrew Pollard and Advanced Ag’s Luke Nagle.


Students vie for PhD scholarships

AGRICULTURAL or environmental science students have an opportunity to further their studies through postgraduate research scholarships investigating nutrients of key importance in Western Australian grain production systems.

Rowan Maddern

The scholarships, which are each valued at $30,000, focus on developing a better understanding of the requirements for fertilisers.

Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) manager agronomy, soils and farming systems – West, Rowan Maddern, encouraged students who had completed an honours degree in these fields to apply for the scholarships – ‘Understanding phosphorus (P) in soil’ and ‘Understanding the role of potassium (K) leaching in crop nutrition’.

A PhD scholarship investigating nitrogen (N) has already been filled.

The phosphorus scholarship is being offered through the University of Western Australia and the potassium scholarship through Murdoch University.

More information:


Cotton leadership program

APPLICATIONS for the Australian cotton industry’s exciting new leadership program, Cotton20, have opened.

Cotton20 is a new mid-high level industry leadership program from Cotton Australia, with funding support from the Australian Government’s Agricultural Industries Fund.

The program will develop the knowledge, skills, confidence and networking skills of the 20 participating growers.

Cotton growers who are keen to lead positive change in the industry are encouraged to apply now to be part of the inaugural program.

The Cotton20 Leadership Program will launch in February 2019. The program includes an innovative mix of face-to-face, online, group and individual activities. Cornerstones of the program will be the launch of the Cotton20 Podcast Series in January 2019, and a two-level mentoring program where knowledge and skills will be shared with at least 40 more growers across cotton regions.

The Cotton20 Leadership Program will include topics on governance, advocacy, and industry development, with social media, strategic thinking and planning, leadership and communication a focus.

Applications for the Cotton20 Leadership Program are now open, and will close on Friday 14th December 2018.

Contact Cotton Australia’s Paul Sloman on [email protected] or mobile 0448 094 883.



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