Grains research Panel on the road to meet with growers

Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 04 Sep 2015

Keith Pengilley, Matt McCallum

The Grains Research and Development Corporation’s new-look Southern Regional Panel is about to embark on its first official tour of duty to assess cropping challenges confronting grain growers in the region.

The Panel, which includes six new members, will undertake its annual week-long spring tour which begins on September 14.

Panel members will meet with growers, researchers, farming systems groups, advisers and policy decision makers to gain a greater understanding of the most pressing agronomic issues facing growers and identify future research priorities. 

GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair Keith Pengilley says the tour will be an important undertaking for the Panel, especially for the new members who took up their positions on September 1.

“As Panel members, we are responsible for ensuring that the voices of growers are heard in relation to the challenges they face within their farming systems,” Mr Pengilley said.

“The annual spring Panel tour helps to provide us with a greater understanding of growers’ concerns and needs which in turn helps to inform GRDC investments in relevant research, development and extension, ensuring the best possible outcomes for growers.”

This year’s spring tour will be confined to South Australia, where Panel members will see first-hand cropping constraints – such as herbicide resistance – that affect growers not only in that state, but across the southern region (which also comprises Victoria and Tasmania).

The tour will begin on the Monday with an inspection of facilities at the Waite research campus in Adelaide where Panel members will meet with SA Research and Development Institute (SARDI) scientists who are working on GRDC-funded initiatives including oat breeding and root disease testing services.

While in Adelaide, the Panel will meet with staff and management from organisations including SARDI, CSIRO, the University of Adelaide, the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, the SA Grain Industry Trust and Australian Grain Technologies.

On Tuesday, September 15, the Panel will visit the University of SA’s Mawson Lakes campus where new technologies to improve farming systems are being explored. Members will then attend the Hart Field Day in SA’s Mid North before travelling to Port Pirie where they will meet with farmers to discuss issues such as growing legumes in lower rainfall areas.

On the Wednesday, the Panel will be in the Port Germein area to look at a herbicide resistant barley grass trial site and a time of sowing trial at Baroota. GRDC-funded trials by Upper North Farming Systems into post-pasture crop establishment and nitrogen zone management will be inspected at Booleroo Centre.

The Panel will be in the Cleve region on Eyre Peninsula on Thursday, September 17, where local constraints such as sodic and non-wetting soils will be discussed with growers. Minnipa Agricultural Centre will also be visited.

On the final day of the tour, Panel members will travel to Brimpton Lake, Yeelanna and Ungarra on EP to inspect work being undertaken through the SA Government’s New Horizons project, as well as the GRDC-funded canola agronomy project and southern stubble initiative.

Mr Pengilley said the tour would be a valuable opportunity for members of the new Panel to work closely together in recognising regional cropping issues and giving consideration to the most appropriate means of addressing such concerns.

The new Panel comprises:

  • Keith Pengilley (chair), Conara
  • Rob Sonogan, Swan Hill
  • John Bennett, Lawloit (new)
  • Jon Midwood, Inverleigh (new)
  • Rohan Mott, Ninda (new)
  • Kate Wilson, Hopetoun (new)
South Australia
  • Bill Long, Ardrossan
  • Mark Stanley, Port Lincoln
  • Peter Kuhlmann, Mudamuckla (new)
  • Michael McLaughlin, Adelaide (new)
Australian Capital Territory
  • Andreas Betzner, GRDC Acting Executive Manager, Commercial

The GRDC’s three regional Panels are a key strength of the organisation, playing an important advisory and strategic role in GRDC investments.

The regional Panels help to ensure that the GRDC investment plan responds to the regional and national priorities of grain growers and the Australian Government, and is aligned with the GRDC’s corporate strategies.

For Interviews

Keith Pengilley, GRDC Southern Panel
0448 015 539


Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli
0409 675100

Caption: GRDC Southern Regional Panel chair Keith Pengilley (left) met with Matt McCallum from Upper North Farming Systems (UNFS) on a recent Panel tour. Members of UNFS will meet with the new Panel during this year’s spring tour.

Region South