Robert Freebairn brings a wealth of experience in agronomy and extension to the Southern Regional Panel of the GRDC. NSW Agriculture's most senior district agronomist based at Coonabarabran, he played a major role in the commercialisation of serradella pasture in eastern Australia and the growing of dual-purpose wheats in the medium/higher-rainfall districts.
He has been a forceful advocate for the use of summer-growing perennials on the light soil areas of central and southern NSW and has initiated and participated in many cereal and pasture extension programs.
Mr Freebairn has contributed a weekly column to The Land for the past 18 years and was senior author of the popular book Light Soils — Managing Them Better.
"While there are many agronomic problems facing farmers, considerable progress is being made in combating them. Large improvements are likely in aspects such as better leaf disease resistance in wheat and barley, Ascochyta tolerance in chickpeas, a better combination of desirable attributes in single field pea varieties and a better understanding of soil-water issues," he said.