A firm belief in the power of science to improve agricultural production and a passion for farming drives Neil Fettell’s work in the grain industry.
It’s a passion cultivated during more than 30 years as a grains researcher with the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the University of New England, and is the motivating reason behind him joining the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC) northern panel.
As a member of the 11-strong panel, Dr Fettell aims to use his science background to help drive research awareness and uptake in the paddock.
“I currently work as a research adviser for my local farming systems group, Central West Farming Systems, and run a small farm with my family just west of Condobolin. This, combined with my many years of research gives me a real breadth of experience,” he said.
“I have worked mostly in low rainfall farming systems on everything from cereal crops to pulses, looking at things like soil water and using it efficiently.
“These days I am particularly focused on crop physiology and how modern genetics can help us to breed and manage crops better.”
When Dr Fettell says “us”, he is talking about the industry as whole, and sees the role of RD&E as most beneficial to those on the ground.
“The grain industry is a pretty exciting place to be but we need to keep making productivity gains for farmers to stay in business and be sustainable,” he said.
“The only way we can do that is by bringing good science into how farmers grow crops and ensuring research is targeted at specific issues on-farm making it relevant and effective.
“The northern grain industry is like the rest of Australia where the challenge is to improve productivity and keep an eye on international research to make sure it comes back to our farmers.”
Dr Fettell said a previous term on the GRDC southern panel had given him a valuable insight into the effectiveness of the panel structure when it comes to connecting researchers and grain growers.
“One of the key strengths of the GRDC is the panels, which sees local representatives talking to growers, identifying issues, making sure the research gets done and critically ensuring the most up to date knowledge gets back to the growers.”
To hear Dr Fettell talking about his involvement on the GRDC northern panel, follow the link on the GRDC YouTube channel.
Dr Neil Fettell
0428 474 845
Ellen McNamara, Cox Inall Communications
0429 897 129