Grains Research and Development

GRDC Northern Regional Panel

Panel Chair


Regional Zone Characteristics

John Minogue - Barmedman, NSW GRDC 2015 Northern Region Map
  • Tropical and subtropical climate
  • High inherent soil fertitlity
  • Yield depends upon conservation of soil moisture from subtropical rainfall
  • Substantial enterprise size
  • Diversity in crop choice, need for new crops e.g. pulses
  • Premiumum on high-protein wheats for export and domestic markets
  • High-potential yields
  • Competition with cotton

Panel Members

Penny Heuston, Deputy Chair - Warren, NSW 
Jules Dixon - Avalon, NSW
Dr Neil Fettell - Condobolin, NSW
Loretta Serafin - Duri, NSW
Andrew McFadyen - Coolah, NSW
Jack Williamson - Goondiwindi, QLD
Arthur Gearon - Chinchilla, QLD
Tony Hamilton - Forbes, NSW
Brondwen MacLean - Canberra, ACT

Panel Support

David Lord - Hornsby, NSW

John Minogue, Panel Chair

Portrait of John Minogue

Panel Profile video

John runs a mixed broadacre farming business and an agricultural consultancy, Agriculture and General Consulting, at Barmedman in south-west NSW. John is chair of the district council of the NSW Farmers’ Association, sits on the grains committee of NSW Farmers’ Assn and is a winner of the Central West Conservation Farmer of the Year award. His vast agricultural experience in central west NSW has given him a valuable insight into the long-term grains industry challenges

M: 0428 763 023

Penny Heuston, Deputy Chair

Portrait of Penny Heuston

Panel Profile video

Penny is an agronomist based in Warren NSW. She is passionate about the survival of the family farm and its role in the health of local economies. Penny is dedicated to ensuring research is practical, farm-ready and based on sound science and rigor. She sees `two-way communication’ as one of the panellists’ primary roles and is committed to bringing issues from the paddock to `the lab’ and conversely, the science to the paddock.

M: 0428 474 845

Jules Dixon

Portrait of Jules Dixon

Panel Profile video

Jules has an extensive background in agronomy and an established network spanning eastern Australia and Western Australia including researchers, leading growers and agronomy consultants through to the multi-national private sector. Based in Sydney, Jules operates a private consultancy business specialising in agronomy, strategy development and business review.

M: 0429 494 067

Dr Neil Fettell

Portrait of Dr Neil Fettell

Panel Profile video

Neil is a part time senior research advisor with Central West Farming Systems and runs a small irrigation farm near Condobolin, NSW. Neil has a research agronomy background, conducting field research in variety improvement, crop physiology and nutrition, water use efficiency and farming systems. He is a passionate supporter of research that delivers productivity gains to growers, and of grower participation in setting research goals.

M: 0427 201 939

Loretta Serafin

Portrait of Loretta Serafin

Panel Profile video

Loretta has extensive experience as an agronomist in north-west NSW and works with the NSW DPI in Tamworth. As the leader northern dryland cropping systems, she provides expertise and support to growers, industry and agronomists in the production of summer crops. Loretta is a member of numerous industry bodies and has a passion for helping growers improve farm efficiency.She sees her role as a conduit between advisers, growers and the GRDC to ensure that growers' research needs are being met.

M: 0427 311 819

Andrew McFadyen

Portrait of Andrew McFadyen

Panel Profile video not available

Andrew is an agronomist and manager with Paspaley Pastoral Company near Coolah NSW with more than 15 years’ agronomy and practical farm management experience. He is an active member of the grains industry with former roles on the Central East Research Advisory Committee, NSW Farmers Coolah branch and planning committees for GRDC Updates. He is also a board member and the chair of Grain Orana Alliance.

M: 0427 002 162

Jack Williamson

Portrait of Jack Williamson

Panel Profile video

Jack is a private agricultural consultant and helps run a family broadacre farm near Goondiwindi, Queensland. Six years of retail agronomy and three years of chemical sales management have given Jack extensive farming systems knowledge, and diverse crop management and field work experience. He is a member of the Northern Grower Alliance local consultative committee and Crop Consultants Australia.

M: 0438 907 820

Arthur Gearon

Portrait of Arthur Gearon

Panel Profile video

Arthur is a grain, cotton and beef producer near Chinchilla, Queensland. He has a business degree from the Queensland University of Technology in international business and management and has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course. He is vice-president of AgForce Grains and has an extensive industry network throughout Queensland. Arthur believes technology and the ability to apply it across industry will be the key driver for economic growth in the grains industry.

M: 0427 016 658

Dr Tony Hamilton

Portrait of Dr Tony Hamilton

Panel Profile video

Tony is a farmer from Forbes, NSW, and managing director of an integrated cropping and livestock business. He is a member of GRDC’s Regional Cropping Solutions Network - Irrigation panel and a director of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. He has worked as an agricultural consultant in WA and southern NSW. With a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a PhD in agronomy, Tony advocates agricultural RD&E and evidence based agriculture.

M: 0406 143 394

Brondwen MacLean

Portrait of Brondwen MacLean

Panel Profile video not available

Brondwen was appointed to the Northern Panel in August 2015 and is the GRDC executive manager for research programs. She has primary accountability for managing all aspects of the GRDC’s nationally coordinated R&D investment portfolio and aims to ensure that these investments generate the best possible return for Australian grain growers. Prior to her current appointment, Brondwen was senior manager, breeding programs, and theme coordinator for Theme 6, Building Skills and Capacity.

T: 02 6166 4500

David Lord, Panel Support

Portrait of David Lord

Panel Profile video not available

David operates Lord Ag Consulting, an agricultural consultancy service. For the last four years he has worked as a project officer for Independent Consultants Australia Network (ICAN), which has given him a good understanding of the issues growers are facing in the northern grains region. David is working in a new role as the Northern Panel and Regional Grower Services Support Officer.

M: 0422 082 105