Southern Regional Panel
The 2013-2015 GRDC Southern Regional Panel
Keith Pengilley - Conara
Chris Blanchard (deputy chair) - Wagga Wagga
Neil Fettell - Condobolin
Susan Findlay Tickner - Horsham
Richard Konzag - Mallala
Bill Long - Ardrossan
Geoff McLeod - Finley
John Minogue - Barmedman
Rob Sonogan - Swan Hill
Mark Stanley - Port Lincoln
Stuart Kearns, GRDC Executive Manager, Regional Grower Services
Southern Region Characteristics
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; and
shift in intensive livestock production and demand for feed grains to this
As a panel, we want to hear
more about what is happening
in our region and the needs of
our stakeholders. The new GRDC
structure and operating processes
will help us achieve this.
The regional location of a
GRDC manager grower
services and our panel support
team will help the panel spend
more time at events and
activities in the region, while
remaining in close contact with
the GRDC staff in Canberra.
In addition to the 10 members
of the Southern Panel and the
GRDC Executive Manager,
we now have 42 grower
and agronomist members of
the four Regional Cropping
Solutions Networks. These
people are spread across the
region in four networks, based
on rainfall zone or the use of
irrigation. Two or three panel
members are associated with
The networks play a key role in
capturing research ideas and
prioritising short-term issues.
This leaves more time for the
panel to work on strategic
investment requirements that
often require longer-term
Keith Pengilley, Chair
Keith is the general manager of a dryland and irrigated family farming operation at Conara in the
northern Midlands of Tasmania, operating
an 8300 hectare mixed farming operation over four properties.
is a Director of Tasmanian Agricultural Producers P/L, a grain accumulation, storage, marketing
and export business.
T 03 6384 2184
M 0448 015 539
Dr Chris Blanchard, Deputy Chair
Chris is an Associate Professor
in Food Science at Charles Sturt
University’s School of Biomedical
Sciences in Wagga Wagga and
has an Honours Degree in applied
science, a PhD in molecular biology
and qualifications in teaching and management.
His research has included projects in genetically
engineering plants, human genetic diseases, grain
quality and the development of functional food
T 02 6933 2364
M 0438 662 992
Based at Condobolin in the central-west
of NSW, Neil is an authority
on cropping and tillage systems,
stubble and soil management and
A University of New
England part-time Lecturer in Crop
Production, he also assists the Central West Farming
Systems group and previously led grain research
projects across the southern region.
Susan Findlay Tickner
Susan is a partner in Yellow Grain
Pty Ltd, an innovative and expanding
dryland cropping enterprise producing
cereals, pulses and oilseeds near
Warracknabeal in north-west Victoria.
She has a background in science
communication, specialising in grains and climate
research, development and extension.
Susan has a
Masters in Communication, a Diploma in corporate
governance and is a graduate of the Australian
Rural Leadership Program.
M 0428 622 352
Richard has been a grain grower
at Mallala, in SA’s Lower North, since
1981. He is currently cropping about
1800 hectares to wheat, durum,
barley, beans, lentils, canola and
He has served on the
SA Advisory Board of Agriculture, representing
the board on various forums and committees and
chairing its ‘Achieving an Informed and Supportive
Government’ working group. Richard has also
served on the Plant Biosecurity CRC Grains
Advisory panel since 2008.
T 08 8527 2077
M 0417 830 406
Bill is an agricultural consultant
and farmer on South Australia’s
Yorke Peninsula. He has led and
been involved in many research,
development and extension
programs and was one of the
founding members of the Yorke Peninsula Alkaline
Soils Group and chairman of the Ag Excellence
He has a strong interest and involvement
in farm business management and communication
programs within GRDC. He is a Churchill fellow.
M 0417 803 034
Geoff runs an irrigated cropping
farm near Finley in southern NSW.
The farm produces a range of winter
cereal, oilseed and grain legume
crops and soybeans using both
overhead and surface irrigation
Geoff has a degree in Agricultural Science
and 30 years experience with irrigated and dryland
farming systems in southern Australia. Geoff is a
board member of SoyAustralia and chairman of
Southern Growers, a local grower group in the
Geoff also provides consultancy
services to government, industry and catchment
management authorities related to land and water
T 03 5883 4824
M 0427 833 261
John runs a mixed broadacre
farming business and an agricultural
consultancy, Agriculture and General
Consulting, at Barmedman in southwest
John is the chairman
of the district council of the NSW
Farmers Association, Deputy Chair of the Lachlan
Catchment Management Authority and a winner
of the Central West Conservation Farmer of the
T 02 6976 3023
M 0428 763 023
From Swan Hill in north-west
Victoria, Rob is an extension
agronomist who has specialised
within government agencies in the
areas of soil conservation, resource
conservation and dryland farming
Over some three decades he has been
privileged to have had access to many farmers,
businesses, consultants, rural industry and
agribusiness advisers. Rob also has been closely
involved in rural recovery and emergency response
into issues as diverse as locusts, fire, mice, flood
Rob is currently employed part-time
within the Mallee consultancy group AGRIvision.
Mark has had extensive experience
in field crops development and
extension and more recently in natural
resources management with the State
and Commonwealth Governments
and with industry. He has led a number
of extension programs including the introduction of
canola in SA and the national TOPCROP program.
He currently operates his own project management
business, Regional Connections, on the Eyre
Peninsula of South Australia. Mark is the executive
officer with the Ag Excellence Alliance, supporting
farming systems groups across SA, and is also on
the board of the Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research
Foundation. He is a committee member of the Lower
Eyre Agricultural Development Association.
Stuart joined the GRDC in 1998
as the Northern Panel Officer and
has worked in a number of roles
throughout the organisation since
He is currently the Executive
Manager Regional Grower Services.
The aim of the Regional Grower Services Business
Group is to deliver new, innovative, high-value and
improved regionally relevant products and services
that meet the needs of growers and their advisers.
T 02 6166 4500
Belinda Cay (nee Barr), Southern Panel Support
Belinda and the Raising the Barr
(RTB) team are a communication
company that design creative
science education programs
and corporate exhibits, plus offer
media, marketing, facilitation and
She has a Bachelor of
Science (Honours) and a Graduate Diploma in
RTB provides panel
support services to the Southern Regional Panel.
M 0423 295 576
Andrew Rice, GRDC Manager Grower Services – South
As one of the three regionally based managers, Andrew Rice brings the
face of the GRDC into the Southern Region. Having GRDC staff in the
region offers visibility, accessibility and understanding. The skills set of the
grower services manager provides another dimension to the operation
of the GRDC.
Andrew believes that pairing the new position of manager
grower services – south, with the establishment of the facilitated Regional
Cropping Solutions Networks provides the capacity and links to really make a difference.
M 0427 965 469
Regional Cropping Solutions Networks
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:
- Create and manage knowledge on grains industry issues.
- Build regional D&E capacity among growers and advisers.
- Proactively respond to regional industry issues in a timely manner.
- 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