June 26, 2013
Northern cropping farmers will benefit from the appointment of key positions at Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Tamworth Agricultural Institute and the Australian Cotton Research Institute Narrabri.
DPI Director Plant Systems, Dr Alison Bowman, said these appointments will strengthen the world class cropping research and development across the northern grain growing regions in NSW.
“The appointment of four very experienced and knowledgeable staff at Tamworth and Narrabri will bring a wealth of practical skills to promote highly productive and sustainable agriculture,” Dr Bowman said.
New appointments are:
Guy McMullen – Manager, Northern Cropping Systems
Loretta Seraffin – Leader Northern Dryland Systems
Andrew Verrell – Research and Development Agronomist, Tamworth
Rod Jackson – Leader Northern Irrigated Systems
Across these appointments there is over 70 years of experience in crop research and development covering both winter and summer crops.
DPI Manager Northern Cropping Systems, Dr Guy McMullen said the appointment of these positions in the region will provide additional capacity for DPI to deliver applied research that will benefit grain growers and the communities they are working in.
“The leader positions will work closely with the research teams and industry groups to deliver applied research and development programs that provide new technology and practices that will benefit the regions cropping enterprises,” Dr McMullen said.
Loretta Seraffin has 13 years experience as DPI District Agronomist and Technical Specialist for northern farming systems and will work across dryland cropping research and development programs including pathology, agronomy and breeding.
“I look forward to working with the DPI R&D teams and industry groups to develop new projects and manage a number of current projects across the north that will benefit crop growers,” Ms Seraffin said.
“Currently I am leading a GRDC funded project looking at sorghum production in low rainfall, western environments of NSW.”
Dr Andrew Verrell has 25 years experience with DPI working in farming systems research. His new role will include managing the winter pulses research through the GRDC’s five year Pulse Agronomy project.
“In addition I will be involved in the chickpea breeding program evaluating new lines across the northern region for adaptation and yield potential to find new varieties to support growers,” Dr Verrell said.
GRDC Northern Panel Chair James Clark said the positions will help to develop a larger network of expertise across the region, allowing GRDC to invest in new initiatives focusing on agronomy, soils, weeds and nutrition to continue to drive improvements in productivity and profitability for NSW grain growers.
“These roles will bring highly valuable skills into the industry, including experience in innovative crop production systems and conducting on-farm research trials and the development of technical information packages for industry,” Mr Clark said.
Rod Jackson’s work with DPI over the past ten years has involved working with irrigators and consultants in northwest NSW to improve on-farm water use efficiency.
“My new role will involve working across northern irrigated cropping research and development programs including entomology in cotton and other Cotton Research Development Corporation (CRDC) and GRDC programs,” Mr Jackson said.
“I see the key challenges in the new role include identifying profitable and sustainable crop rotations including researching the inclusion of new crops such as safflower into the northern irrigated farming system,” Mr Jackson said.
Two further research and development positions are also to be appointed to service the irrigated farming systems of the region.
One of the State’s largest Agricultural Institutes, Tamworth Agricultural Institute is a Centre of Excellence for Northern Farming Systems with 24 scientific researches working across various programs including: the Australian durum wheat improvement program; Grain pathology; Australian winter cereals collection; Cereal and pulse food chemistry; PBA chickpea breeding program; and Perennial pastures agronomy evaluation.
Based in Narrabri the Australian Cotton Research Institute (ACRI) is home of NSW Department of Primary Industry’s Centre for Cotton, Pulses and Oilseed Improvement. The facilities are also shared with the CSIRO Divisions of Plant Industry and Ecosystem Sciences.