GRDC Southern Regional Panel

A key strength of the GRDC, the Regional 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.

If you would like to get in contact, give us a call on 02 6166 4500 or email



Map of Australia showing the GRDC Southern Region

Regional Zone Characteristics

  • Temperate climate
  • Relatively infertile soils
  • Yield depends upon reliable spring rainfall
  • Smaller enterprise size
  • Diverse production patterns and opportunities
  • Large and diverse domestic market
  • Phase farming innovator
  • Shift in intensive livestock production and demand for feed grains to this

Panel Members


Image of Keith Pengilly

Keith Pengilley, Panel Chair

Tasmania, Evandale

Based at Evandale in the northern Midlands of Tasmania, Keith was previously the general manager of a dryland and irrigated family farming operation at Conara (Tasmania), operating a 7000 hectare mixed-farming operation over three properties. He is a director of Tasmanian Agricultural Producers, a grain accumulation, storage, marketing and export business. Keith is the chair of the GRDC Southern Regional Panel which identifies grower priorities and advises on the GRDC’s research, development and extension investments in the southern grains region.

+61 448 015 539


Image of Mike McLaughlin

Mike McLaughlin, Deputy Chair

South Australia, Adelaide

Mike is a researcher with the University of Adelaide, based at the Waite campus in South Australia. He specialises in soil fertility and crop nutrition, contaminants in fertilisers, wastes, soils and crops. Mike manages the Fertiliser Technology Research Centre at the University of Adelaide and has a wide network of contacts and collaborators nationally and internationally in the fertiliser industry and in soil fertility research.

+61 409 693 906


Image of John Bennett

John Bennett

Victoria, Lawloit

Based at Lawloit, between Nhill and Kaniva in Victoria’s West Wimmera, John, his wife Allison and family run a mixed farming operation across diverse soil types. The farming system is 70 to 80 percent cropping, with cereals, oilseeds, legumes and hay grown. John believes in the science-based research, new technologies and opportunities that the GRDC delivers to graingrowers. He wants to see RD&E investments promote resilient and sustainable farming systems that deliver more profit to growers and ultimately make agriculture an exciting career path for young people.

+61 429 919 223


Image of Peter Kuhlmann

Peter Kuhlmann

South Australia, Mudamuckla

Peter is a farmer at Mudamuckla near Ceduna on South Australia's Western Eyre Peninsula. He uses liquid fertiliser, no-till and variable rate technology to assist in the challenge of dealing with low rainfall and subsoil constraints. Peter has been a board member of and chaired the Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research Foundation and the South Australian Grain Industry Trust.

+61 428 258 032


Image of Fiona Marshall

Fiona Marshall

Victoria, Mulwala

Fiona has been farming with her husband Craig for 21 years at Mulwala in the Southern Riverina. They are broadacre, dryland grain producers and also operate a sheep enterprise. Fiona has a background in applied science and education and is currently serving as a committee member of Riverine Plains Inc, an independent farming systems group. She is passionate about improving the profile and profitability of Australian grain growers.

+61 427 865 051


Image of Jon Midwood

Jon Midwood

Victoria, Inverleigh

Jon has worked in agriculture for the past three decades, both in the UK and in Australia. In 2004 he moved to Geelong, Victoria, and managed Grainsearch, a grower-funded company evaluating European wheat and barley varieties for the high rainfall zone. In 2007, his consultancy managed the commercial contract trials for Southern Farming Systems (SFS). In 2010 he became chief executive of SFS, which has five branches covering southern Victoria (Gippsland and the Western District) and Tasmania. In 2012, Jon became a member of the GRDC’s HRZ Regional Cropping Solutions Network.

+61 400 666 434


Image of Rohan Mott

Rohan Mott

Victoria, Turriff

A fourth generation grain grower at Turriff in the Victorian Mallee, Rohan has been farming for more than 25 years and is a director of Mott Ag. With significant on-farm storage investment, Mott Ag produces wheat, barley, lupins, field peas, lentils and vetch, including vetch hay. Rohan continually strives to improve productivity and profitability within Mott Ag through broadening his understanding and knowledge of agriculture generally. Rohan is passionate about the sustainability of Australian agriculture, has a keen interest in new technology and is always seeking ways to improve on-farm practice.

+61 429 701 170


Image of Richard Murdoch

Richard Murdoch

South Australia, Warooka

Having benefited from the experience of four previous farming generations at Warooka on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, Richard,  Lee-Anne, their son Will and staff grow wheat, canola, lentils and faba beans on some challenging soil types to in a Mediterranean-type climate. They also operate a self-replacing Murray Grey cattle herd and Merino sheep flock. Sharing knowledge and fostering strategies with the next generation is of high importance to Richard whose passion for agriculture from an early age has extended beyond the farm to include involvement in the Agricultural Bureau of SA, Advisory Board of Agriculture SA, Agribusiness Council of Australia SA, the YP Alkaline Soils Group and grain marketing groups.

+61 419 842 419


Image of Randall Wilksch

Randall Wilksch

South Australia, Yeelanna

Based at Yeelanna on South Australia’s Lower Eyre Peninsula, Randall is a partner in Wilksch Agriculture, a family-owned business which grows cereals, pulses, oilseeds and coarse grain for international and domestic markets. Managing highly variable soil types within different rainfall zones, the business has transitioned through direct drill to no-till, and has incorporated controlled traffic and site specific variable rate fertiliser placement. A Nuffield Scholar and a founding member of the Lower Eyre Agricultural Development Association (LEADA), Randall’s off-farm roles have included working with the Kondinin Group’s overview committee, the Society of Precision Agriculture in Australia (SPAA) and the Landmark Advisory Council.

+61 427 865 051


Image of Kate Wilson

Kate Wilson

Victoria, Hopetoun

Kate is a partner in a large grain producing operation in Victoria’s Southern Mallee region. Kate and her husband Grant are fourth generation farmers and with their two children they produce wheat, canola, lentils, lupins and field peas. Kate has been an agronomic consultant for more than 20 years, servicing clients throughout the Mallee and northern Wimmera. Kate is passionate about producing high quality grain, whilst enhancing the natural ability of the soil to do so. Having witnessed and implemented much change in farming practices over the past two decades, Kate is also passionate about research and the extension of that research to bring about positive practice change to growers.

+61 427 571 360


Image of Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

Australian Capital Territory, Canberra

Steve has extensive experience as a senior executive and strategist. He joined the GRDC in early 2009 as executive manager practices, coming from a senior position with the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) at Orange. He sees the GRDC’s role is to deliver a balanced RD&E portfolio to drive grower profitability whilst maintaining a close relationship with growers to ensure their priorities are addressed. He is the GRDC's deputy CEO and has also served on the GRDC’s northern and western panels.

+61 428 468 636

Regional Cropping Solutions Networks

Southern Region RCSN

Bringing together a consistent approach to evaluating research priorities with a large network of growers, advisers and researchers across the region has the potential to provide a focused regional portfolio of research, development and extension investments.

The objectives of the Regional Cropping Solutions Networks are to:

  1. Create and manage knowledge on grains industry issues.
  2. Build regional D&E capacity among growers and advisers.
  3. Proactively respond to regional industry issues in a timely manner.
  4. Provide enduring links between growers, advisers and the GRDC.

Four networks have been established in the southern region, each supported by a facilitator. The networks will meet face-to-face up to three times each year.

Each network will liaise with the wider grower community in their production zone,including convening regional meetings with relevant groups.

The facilitator provides each network with an effective interface with regional farming systems groups, agribusiness and research and development organisations across the regions.

While the primary focus of these facilitators will be working with farming systems groups and advisers, their work will also extend into maintaining a regional industry RD&E database of GRDC project activities and results.

Names of the members of the networks are listed on the GRDC website (