GRDC Northern Region Panel

A key strength of the GRDC, the Region Panels play a critical advisory and strategic role in informing GRDC investments in research, development and extension (RD&E) to create enduring profitability for Australian grain growers.

Do you want to make a difference to farmer profitability?

Applications are now open for positions on the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s (GRDC’s) Regional Panel effective 1 September 2020.

GRDC has three panels representing the principal cropping zones across Australia – northern, southern and western regions. The Panels work with GRDC management to help guide the research, development and extension activities in each region and nationally.

Applications close on Wednesday 15 April 2020. For further information on Regional Panel recruitment, please refer to the Regional Panel Member Information and Application Form or email

If you would like to get in contact, give us a call on 07 4571 4800 or email



Region characteristics

  • Tropical, Sub-Tropical and Temperate Environments
  • High percentage of vertosol clay soils
  • Stored soil moisture increases yield reliability
  • High percentage of mixed farming
  • Summer dominant cropping Qld, Winter dominant NSW
  • Large and diverse domestic and export markets
  • High-potential yields though with greater variability
  • Sugarcane, Cotton & Pastures also can be in the farming system

Panel Members


Image of john Minogue

John Minogue, Panel Chair

Barmedman, New South Wales

John Minogue 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.

+61 428 763 023


Image of Roy Hamilton

Roy Hamilton

Rand, New South Wales

Roy Hamilton operates a 4400 ha mixed family farming enterprise near Rand in NSW’s Riverina. He was an early adopter of minimum till practices and the use of direct drill and press wheels and is currently migrating to CTF on 12 m 3-1. The majority of the property is cropped with wheat, canola, barley, triticale, faba beans and oats while the remainder runs 1200 ewes and trade lambs. He has held roles on the south east NSW Regional Advisory Committee, the GRDC’s southern region Regional Cropping Solutions Network and was a founding committee member of the Riverine Plains farming systems group.

+61 428 691 651


Image of Graham Spackman

Graham Spackman

Emerald, Queensland

Graham has been managing director of a private agricultural consultancy at Emerald, Queensland, for the past 28 years which provides advice on the agronomy and management of summer and winter, dryland and irrigated crops in grain and mixed grain/grazing farming systems. He has extensive involvement in RD&E having participated in two decades of GRDC and DPI-funded farming systems research projects, particularly within the areas of weed management, soil fertility and general adaption of agronomic practices in the CQ climate and farming system. Graham was a member of the CQ Research Advisory Committee for over 10 years and chairman for five years.

+61 407 156 306


Image of Arthur Gearon

Arthur Gearon, Deputy Chair

Chinchilla, Queensland

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 a previous 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.

+61 427 016 658


Image of Dr Tony Hamilton

Dr Tony Hamilton

Forbes, New South Wales

Tony is a grower from Forbes, NSW and managing director of an integrated cropping and livestock business. He is 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.

+61 406 143 394


Image of Bruce Watson

Bruce Watson

Parkes, New South Wales

Bruce and his family operate a 3400 ha family grain growing business near Parkes NSW, which produces a mixture of dryland winter cereals, pulses and oilseeds as well as summer dryland cereals, pulses and cotton grown on a 12m zero till CTF platform with full stubble retention. Bruce holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics from the University of Sydney and previously worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers in its Transfer Pricing practice. He is an active member of the grains industry and was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship in 2009 to study "What drove the increase in global grain prices in 2006/2007 and low risk hedging strategies?"

+61 408 464 776


Image of Roger Bolte

Roger Bolte

West Wyalong, New South Wales

Roger Bolte is a fourth-generation farmer from the West Wyalong area in NSW, operating a 6500 ha winter cropping program with his wife and family focussing on cereals, legumes and hay. During his 35-years in the industry, Roger has been involved in R&D in various capacities and has had the opportunity to travel abroad and observe a variety of farming systems. He believes that R&D and education are the cornerstones of the industry and feels privileged to be afforded the opportunity to share his experiences.

+61 404 295 863


Image of Andrew McFayden

Andrew McFadyen

Lake Cargelligo, New South Wales

Andrew is a grower and private agricultural consultant near Lake Cargelligo NSW with more than 17 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 has served on the GRDC northern panel since 2015. He is also a board member and the chair of Grain Orana Alliance.

+61 436 191 186


Image of Dr Jo White

Dr Jo White

Toowoomba, Queensland

Dr Jo White is an experienced researcher with over 15 years’ experience in agricultural research programs based at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in Queensland (DAFQ) and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), including 10 years’ experience in the field of plant pathology of broad acre summer crops. Jo has a keen interest in developing and delivering on-ground practical research solutions to growers which improve productivity and profitability of their farms and is now working as a private consultant based in Queensland.

+61 490 659 445


Image of Peter McKenzie

Peter McKenzie

Quirindi, New South Wales

Peter operates a private agronomy consulting business based in Quirindi NSW. Prior to this he was facilitator/agronomist for AgVance Farming group which aims to act as a communications conduit between industry and growers and support growers to keep them at the leading edge of agriculture.  He is a passionate supporter of research and has been active in extending weed management research information to industry, particularly in central west NSW, is a former director of Conservation Farmers Inc., a former member of the North East Regional Advisory Committee and a participant in Northern Growers Alliance local research group on the Liverpool Plains.

+61 428 474 860


Image of Dr Steve Jefferies

Dr Steve Jefferies

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Dr Steve Jefferies is GRDC’s Managing Director. Steve has more than 35 years of experience working in the Australian grain industry mostly in research management. In July 2016 Steve commenced as Managing Director of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). From its inception in 2002 until June 2016, Steve was the CEO of Australian Grain Technologies (AGT), Australia’s largest and market leading field crop breeding company. From 1996 to 2002 Steve was a wheat breeder, barley breeder and Senior Lecturer with the University of Adelaide.  From 1984 to 1996 Steve held several positions in research management and Ministerial liaison in the State Government of South Australia.

Until taking his current position as Managing Director of GRDC Steve was also Non-Executive Director of Birchip Cropping Group, Non-Executive Director of Barley Australia, Chairman of the Australian End Point Royalty Steering Committee, and member of the Australian Wheat Quality Classification Council responsible for managing the wheat quality class system in Australia.

In June of 2016 Steve was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s birthday honours list for significant services to primary industries.

(02) 6166 4500