GRDC on a fact-finding tour through Wide Bay/Burnett region

Author: | Date: 25 Jan 2019

image of john minogue
Grain grower and GRDC Northern Panel Chair John Minogue will lead a fact-finding tour through the Wide Bay and Burnett region from February 5-7 to engage with growers, grower groups, advisers and researchers and hear about on-farm issues and regional production constraints. Photo GRDC.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Northern Region Panel will take to the paddocks of the Burnett and Wide Bay regions of Queensland in early February for an insight into innovative crop research trials, grower production challenges and opportunities for future research investment.

From Tuesday, February 5, to Thursday, February 7, the panel will travel to Kingaroy, Bundaberg and Maryborough visiting key GRDC research investment sites focused on peanut breeding and evaluation, legume crops in rotation with sugarcane and national soybean breeding program sites.

Tour participants will also meet with representatives from the Coastal Grower Solutions Group, which is a GRDC investment in collaboration with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), as well as with the project leader of the new GRDC Northern Pulse Check initiative. This initiative is designed to identify and deliver the latest research results and knowledge in pulse agronomy direct to coastal growers in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Led by grain grower and Chair of the GRDC Northern Region Panel John Minogue, the 11-member advisory panel will engage with growers, grower groups, advisers, researchers and community members as part of the three-day fact-finding trip.

Mr Minogue said the Panel had a critical role relaying information back to the GRDC about the challenges facing growers in different regions, along with feedback on their current research needs and priorities.

“As a Panel it is vital that we create these opportunities to engage directly with growers in a two-way conversation that helps us to develop an in-depth understanding of the regional constraints to farm profitability and productivity,” he said.

“Understanding the concerns and challenges facing growers in different regions is vital so we can fulfil our responsibility of ensuring that levy investments deliver paddock-ready solutions to production constraints, help reduce production costs and importantly increase farm profitability.

“We also use these opportunities to see firsthand how partner agricultural organisations, like the sugar industry operate and to investigate potential opportunities for future collaboration.”

The Panel visits different areas of Queensland and New South Wales cropping regions twice a year, to liaise directly with industry.

“This information is then used to help refine the GRDC’s research, development and extension investments at a regional and national level, because at the end of the day we all share a common goal of creating enduring profitability for the grains industry,” Mr Minogue said.

Next week’s itinerary includes:

February 5

  • Tour of Peanut Company of Australia, Kingaroy
  • Visit to GRDC plant breeding program site at DAF’s Kingaroy Research Station
  • Grower shed lunch and tour at Peter Howlett’s property Benair Rd, Kumbia

February 6

  • Tour of Bingera Sugar Mill, Bundaberg
  • Visit to Peter and Chris Russo’s Bundaberg farm for a grower shed lunch and to inspect GRDC Grower Solutions Group trials
  • Visit to GRDC Grower Solutions Group legumes in rotations trials
  • Tour of Isis Central Mill

February 7

  • Tour of Maryborough Sugar, Maryborough

Mr Minogue invited growers, advisers and industry representatives to join Panel members at any of the stop-overs. For more information about the itinerary contact Gillian Meppem (GRDC Business Support Team Leader North) on 0409 279 328 or email

On the tour will be GRDC Northern Panel members John Minogue (Panel Chair), Arthur Gearon (Deputy Chair), Roger Bolte, Roy Hamilton, Dr Tony Hamilton, Andrew McFadyen, Peter McKenzie, Graham Spackman, Bruce Watson and Dr Jo White, as well as GRDC Southern Panel chair John Bennett.

GRDC staff accompanying the tour will be Richard Holzknecht (Grower Relations Manager), John Rochecouste (Agronomy, Soils and Farming Systems Manager) and Tegan Slade (Contract Administrator)

Contact Details


Toni Somes, GRDC
0436 622 645