People on the move

People on the move in the grains and cropping sector

Grain Central, May 24, 2019

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.

  • Ray Harrington inducted to hall of fame
  • New Heritage Seeds MD
  • AGT appoints lupin breeder to WA
  • Biomar aquafeed plant appointment
  • Baking apprentice of the year
  • Call for grain grower scholars
  • Grassland society appoints liaison officer
  • National Student Award goes to NSW ag scientist
  • Growing leaders’ scholarships for 2020

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Ray Harrington. (Photo: AHRI)

Harrington inducted to hall of fame

WESTERN Australian farmer and agricultural inventor, Ray Harrington, has been inducted into the Royal Agricultural Society of WA’s (RASWA) Agricultural Hall of Fame.

The 72-year-old, who farms at Darkan in the WA wheatbelt, was recognised for his numerous inventions for the grain and sheep industries.

In the cropping world, he is best known for developing the integrated Harrington Seed Destructor which has played a big part in reducing the weed seed bank, helping address the issues of chemical reliance and herbicide resistance.

He is also known for the Agmaster Harrington No-Till points which evolved from a need to develop equipment suited to no-till farming operations.

Mr Harrington has also come up with inventions for the sheep industry which have included the Harrington Crutching Cradle, the Harrington Sheep Jetting Race and the Harrington Vee Sheep Handling Machine.

The award was presented by the Governor of WA, Kim Beazley, and RASWA president Paul Carter, at a luncheon at the RASWA showgrounds.

Ray Harrington with family, friends and colleagues, including RASWA president, Paul Carter (back row left) and WA Governor, Kim Beazley (back row right).

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New Heritage Seeds MD

PASTURE seeds and fodder crop business, Heritage Seeds, has announced the appointment of Toby Brown to the position of managing director with the company, effective from July 1, 2019.

Heritage Seeds’ Wayne Crofts (right) with the company’s newly appointed managing director, Toby Brown.

The appointment follows the decision of former leader, Wayne Crofts, to join his family full-time in Perth and continue his career in the logistics industry to the automotive and industrial sectors.

Mr Brown recently joined Heritage Seeds as its national sales manager, bringing 25 years’ experience to the company from across the agricultural chemical, machinery and wool sectors both domestically and internationally.

Over the past decade, he has held a number of senior global leadership roles with Nufarm, including in Germany to cover Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and as country manager of the UK, before his return to Australia last year.

He has also held marketing and global product management roles, and, prior to joining Heritage Seeds, he was assisting Nufarm’s industrial sales division and its partnership with Farmers Edge, which provides precision digital solutions to help guide farm management decisions.

Heritage Seeds is a member of the 100 per cent family-owned Barenbrug Group, headquartered in the Netherlands, and has been on a rapid growth path in Australia, driving investment and innovation in the local industry.

The company produces a broad range of temperate and tropical pasture varieties, fodder crops, forage cereals and field crops, as well as turf and amenity grasses.

On the heels of acquiring Queensland-based companies, Australian Premium Seeds, Blue Ribbon Seeds and Premium Seed Coaters, the business is set to open a new $15 million state-of-the-art facility at Toowoomba in Queensland later this year.

This will complement another major facility in Melbourne, smaller sites in Brisbane and at Walkamin in Queensland, as well as third party logistics warehouses.

Heritage Seeds also has its own research and development sites and strong collaborative partnerships with several technical providers including AgriBio in Victoria, the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

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AGT appoints lupin breeder to WA

AUSTRALIAN Grain Technologies (AGT) has appointed a dedicated lupin breeder to its Western Australia-based program in Northam.

Matthew Aubert

Dr Matthew Aubert, who recently completed a PhD at the University of Adelaide, will focus on producing improved varieties of lupin for Australian farmers.

The appointment comes as AGT prepares to name and release the first lupin variety (code WALAN2546) since taking over the largest established lupin-breeding program in the world from the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development in 2016.

Dr Aubert said he was looking forward to working with the unique crop as a member of the close-knit team in WA.

“I’ve always wanted a career in the grain industry and completed my thesis on barley aleurone development last year,” he said.

“I moved to WA to take on the position of lupin breeder and feel excited to have the opportunity to focus on a crop that is so important to the state’s farmers.

“Lupins are well suited to sandy soils found in the Western Australian wheatbelt and play an important role in providing nitrogen to cropping systems.  WA is the world’s largest producer and exporter of lupins, making up more than 80 per cent of lupin exports.”

With the new variety to be released in spring and available to growers in 2020, the breeding program – which involves up to 30,000 plots each year – is focusing on capitalising on lupin’s high protein content while delivering strong yields.

“Lupin grain has high nutritional value with exceptional protein content which makes it a popular choice for stock feed,” Dr Aubert said.

“It also has the potential to be used as a higher value export in aquaculture and potentially human consumption into the future.”

AGT is headquartered in South Australia and has breeding centres in Northam (WA), Roseworthy (SA), Wagga Wagga (southern NSW) and Narrabri (northern NSW), and has a market presence in each Australian growing state.

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Biomar aquafeed plant appointment

BioMar’s Wesley Vale plant managing director, David Whyte.

BIOMAR has appointed David Whyte as the managing director of its aquafeed manufacturing plant in at Wesley Vale in northwest Tasmania.

Mr Whyte is a marine biologist with 32 years’ experience in aquaculture production and supply companies in Scotland, Australia and New Zealand.

The plant is due to open next year. It will produce up to 110,000 tonnes per annum of aquafeed, and is the Danish company’s first Australian plant.

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Baking apprentice of the year

A YOUNG baker from the lower Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Tristan Beisler, has claimed the LA Judge Award for Baking Apprentice of the Year.

Mr Beisler, from Barrington Bakery in Dungog, fended off some very strong competition – especially from Queensland’s Lydia Horne and New Zealand’s Trae Wawatai – to emerge victorious in the competition, which is supported by AEGIC and Woolworths.

As part of his prize, he will receive a five-day all-expenses-paid trip to Belgium to visit the headquarters of eminent baking and ingredients company Puratos.

He will have the opportunity to take part in bakery demonstrations, tour Puratos’ famed sourdough library and visit its various museums and facilities.

As runner-up, Ms Horne wins a two-day workshop in the Puratos Hong Kong baking centre.

LA Judge Award director Dr Ken Quail said the six candidates from around Australia and New Zealand were all very promising young bakers.

“Competing in the LA Judge Award is a triumph just by itself. All six of this year’s bakers should be very proud of themselves. The future of the industry is in good hands,” he said.

“This year was an especially hard-fought and close competition with very little separating the top three candidates.”

The LA Judge Award has been running since 1967 and is open to young apprentice bakers under 23 who are keen to make their mark on the baking industry. The competition takes place over three days and includes all aspects of baking, including practical baking skills, technical knowledge and presentation abilities.

Baking Apprentice of the Year, Tristan Beisler.

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Call for grain grower scholars

GROWERS are being urged to apply for the four GRDC-sponsored Nuffield Scholarships available in 2020.

Each of the GRDC-supported scholarships provides a $30,000 bursary to the successful applicant to study a topic relevant to their business and the broader grains industry.

Nuffield Scholars each year embark on a global study program over an 18-month period, delving into their chosen topic.

GRDC head of corporate affairs, Kylie Dunstan, said benefits such as personal and professional development, enriching travel and networking experiences and a chance to contribute to the advancement of the grains industry beckoned those growers who were granted scholarships.

Ms Dunstan says the GRDC’s long-standing support of the Nuffield Scholarship program is an important investment in industry leadership, skills and capacity.

“Our grain-growing leaders are fundamental to a strong grains industry,” Ms Dunstan said.

“They play an important role in championing policies that directly affect not only growers’ profitability, but also the increasingly important need for social licence.

“Ensuring the grains industry has a pool of skilled leaders is vital for its enduring profitability and success, and the GRDC’s support of the Nuffield Scholarship program is a very effective mechanism for achieving that end.

“Many graduates of this program will go on to add further value to the grains industry through their participation in GRDC regional panels, cropping networks, grower representative organisations and boards.”

Applications close on June 14.

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Grassland society appoints liaison officer

THE Grassland Society of Southern Australia (GSSA) has appointed its first industry liaison officer as it moves to shore up its future and expand its membership base.

Society president Matt Mahoney said the appointment was designed to strengthen the GSSA as it celebrates its 60th anniversary and looks forward to the next 60 years.

The new industry officer, Latarnie McDonald, has a wealth of experience across many agricultural industries and soil-climatic zones, covering farm and grazing management.

Ms McDonald’s role will include funding applications, organising events and helping the eight branches in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania to maintain activities and contact with membership base.

After studying agricultural science at Sydney University, Ms McDonald honed her skills for 10 years in the Department of Primary Industries’ regional agronomist team, with work published in the Australian Journal for Agricultural Research, worked as the national business and marketing manager for an agricultural certification company, and over the past 10 years developed a farm from scratch, opting for a smaller acreage to trial more intensive production.

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National Student Award goes to NSW ag scientist

STEPHENIE MacKillop has taken out the Ag Institute Australia (AIA) National Student Award (NSA), one of the most prestigious honours for agricultural science students across the country.

Representing New South Wales, Ms MacKillop was presented with the AEV Richardson Memorial Award after winning the NSA finalin Tasmania recently, an event sponsored by Biosecurity Tasmania – Plant Diagnostic Services.

Five agricultural science students represented their State in the NSA final by presenting their research and findings to attendees at an AIA conference near Launceston.

Mr MacKillop also won the People’s Choice Award for her presentation on ‘Soldier flies for protein production and waste reduction’, her entomology research topic at the University of Sydney.

Second place in the NSA went to Max Weidenbach (Tasmania) and in third was Daniel Petersen (SA).

As the AIA Director responsible for Awards, Dr Daniel Tan said the 2019 student awards final showcased why the future of Australian agriculture is in safe hands.

“As the peak body for agricultural professionals, we are pleased that AIA is able to attract the brightest and most talented agriculture students from universities across Australia to compete for the prestigious AEV Richardson National Student Award,” he commented.

“This year’s student presentations were on diverse topics of soil science, plant pathology, weed science and entomology.

“I am very pleased that Stephanie has won this award, a testament to the excellent agricultural teaching and research programs at the University of Sydney.”

AIA is the peak industry body for agricultural and natural resource management professionals in Australia, supporting and enabling the development and broader industry recognition of members.

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Growing leaders’ scholarships for 2020

THE Grower Group Alliance (GGA) is calling for applications from Western Australia for the 2020 Growing Leaders Scholarship program.

Launched in 2017 in partnership with CBH Group & Leadership WA, the scholarship program will place two future leaders of the WA grain industry on Leadership WA’s 10-month Signature Leadership Program.

The Signature Leadership Program brings together participants from across industries and sectors and will grow the pool of growers ready to take on leadership positions in the industry.

Applications close 30 June 2019.

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