Southern Panel

The panels ensure our investments are in the best interests of our growers and deliver impact to each grain-growing region.

If you would like contact the Southern Panel, please call 08 8198 8400 or email


Find out more about the southern region.

Panel Members


Image of John Bennett

John Bennett, Panel Chair

Lawloit, Victoria

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 grain growers. 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 Kate Wilson

Kate Wilson, Deputy Chair

Hopetoun, Victoria

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 Andrew Russell

Andrew Russell

Rutherglen, Victoria

Andrew is the Managing Director and a shareholder of Lilliput AG, and a Director and shareholder of the affiliated Baker Seed Co, a family-owned farming and seed cleaning business. He lives and manages the family farms Glenmoir and Glenhurst, a 2500-hectare mixed cropping enterprise south of Rutherglen, with his wife and two children. Lilliput AG produces wheat, canola, lupin, faba bean, triticale, oats and sub clover for seed and hay. Andrew and his family also run 2000 crossbred ewes for prime lamb production and a cattle feedlot. Andrew has served on the GRDC’s medium rainfall zone Regional Cropping Solutions Network (now Grower Network) and has held many leadership roles with Riverine Plains Inc, Victorian Farmers Federation and the Rutherglen Group of fire brigades. Andrew has a passion for rural communities, sustainable and profitable agriculture and small business resilience, and holds a Diploma of Rural Business Management and an Advanced Diploma of Agriculture. He is also a qualified electrician.

+61 417 401 004


Image of Jon Midwood

Jon Midwood

Inverleigh, Victoria

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 high rainfall zone Regional Cropping Solutions Network (now Grower Network) and joined the GRDC Southern Panel in 2015. In 2020, Jon resigned from SFS to establish independent consultancy, TechCrop Services.

+61 400 666 434


image of Lou Flohr (Portrait)

Lou Flohr

Lameroo, SA

Lou is a farmer based at Lameroo in the Southern Mallee of South Australia. Along with her parents and partner, she runs a mixed farming enterprise which includes export oaten hay, wheat, barley, a variety of legumes and a self-replacing Merino flock. Prior to returning to the family farm, Lou has had a 10-year agronomy career, servicing the Upper South East and Mallee. She is passionate about her industry, particularly in recognising the role that women play in the industry and on the land.

0429 083 927


image of andrew ware

Andrew Ware

Port Lincoln, SA

Andrew is a research agronomist, based at Port Lincoln on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. He started his career with the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) at the Minnipa Agriculture Centre, and then spent time at CSIRO in Adelaide. This was followed by 10 years away from research, managing the family farm on Lower Eyre Peninsula, before returning to SARDI (the research division of Primary Industries and Regions SA) in late 2009. In 2019, Andrew started his own research company, EPAG Research, delivering applied research across Eyre Peninsula. He has worked on research projects investigating canola agronomy and pathology, managed GRDC National Variety Trials (NVT), as well as projects with farming system groups, Lower Eyre Agricultural Development Association (LEADA) and Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research Foundation (EPARF) which have amalgamated to become Agricultural Innovation and Research Eyre Peninsula (AIR EP). Andrew received the GRDC Southern Panel’s Emerging Leader award in 2018, and prior to joining the Panel he served on the GRDC’s low rainfall zone Regional Cropping Solutions Network (now Grower Network).

0427 884 272


image of pru cook

Pru Cook

Dimboola, Victoria

Raised on a mixed farm at Diapur in Victoria’s Wimmera region, Pru has spent her professional career working in extension for the grains industry. Starting her career in Horsham with the Department of Primary Industries (now Agriculture Victoria), Pru was at the forefront of promoting smartphones and social media for growers, advisers and researchers and providing training in their use. Pru was then employed by the GRDC, based in the Canberra office, where she implemented the GRDC’s first social media strategy and managed GRDC’s social media presence. She then worked at Birchip Cropping Group (BCG), managing and supporting a number of extension projects (in particular, the GRDC Pulse Extension Project for supporting the sustainable expansion of pulses into new areas) and overseeing the research and extension program. Pru has recently started her own business specialising in extension, project development and project management. In her role on the Panel, Pru is keen to focus on better understanding the needs of and supporting young farmers, as well as developing novel extension methods for diverse grower needs.

0438 923 258


image of michael treloar

Michael Treloar

Cummins, SA

Michael is a third-generation grain grower based at Cummins on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, where he grows wheat, barley, canola, beans, lupins and lentils on a range of soil types. He has previously been involved in a number of research organisations, including the South Australian Grain Industry Trust (for which he was chair for four years), the Lower Eyre Agricultural Development Association (LEADA) and the South Australian No Till Farmers Association (both of which he has been a board member). Michael has also been a board member of the Cummins and District Financial Services and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He believes research and development underpins profitability in Australian farming systems. He says agriculture is a vital industry for the economy, and the GRDC is pivotal in delivering research outcomes that support growers.

0427 765 034


image of michelle watt

Michelle Watt

Melbourne, Victoria

Professor Michelle Watt holds the Adrienne Clarke Chair of Botany at the University of Melbourne, having commenced in that position in February 2020. From 2015 to 2019, she was based in Germany as a Director of the Plant Sciences Institute at the Helmholtz Centre, Forschungszentrum Juelich, and Professor of Crop Root Physiology at the University of Bonn. Her career is dedicated to discovering how the roots of plants function, to save water and nutrients in agriculture and increase carbon storage in soil. Professor Watt uses imaging and sensor technologies in the field and laboratory to understand how roots function in the world's increasingly dynamic climates. The aim is to reduce impacts of agriculture on the environment while increasing farmer productivity by breeding and/or managing more resource efficient root-soil systems. Prior to 2015, Professor Watt was at the CSIRO in Australia researching root-rhizosphere processes to enhance wheat yield in rainfed, conservation agriculture. She has been in multi-partner projects with Australia, the USA, India, the Philippines, UK and Germany in the under-studied but critical area of plant roots. She is President of the International Society of Root Research and Co-Chair of the Root Phenotyping Working Group.


image of Nicole Jensen

Dr Nicole Jensen

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Nicole is the GRDC General Manager of the Genetic and Enabling Technologies business group. Nicole brings a wealth of experience in digital agriculture, plant breeding and genetics arising from roles she has held in Australia and internationally in the seed industry.

(02) 6166 4500