For enquiries, please email conference@grasslands.org.au or call 1300 137 550.
 

Speakers

Stuart Austin, Wilmot Cattle Co

Stuart is the General Manager of Wilmot Cattle Co, a grassfed beef business based in the New England region of NSW, spanning three properties totalling over 14,000ac. The business is managed in a holistic context, focused on regenerating and restoring the ecological function of the landscape in a profitable way, and producing the healthiest, most nutrient dense, beef.

Stuart spent a vast majority of his early career working in the northern Australian pastoral industry, as well as time in broadacre agriculture in Canada, a feedlot in southern Queensland, and was the founder of an international agriculture recruitment business. 

Stuart is most passionate about helping others, and this passion is shared amongst the Wilmot Cattle Co team. He often shares their story online, in print media, on podcasts and has been a keynote speaker on various occasions in Australia and North America. In 2019 Stuart was awarded the national Young Carbon Farmer of the Year Award and the business was recognised as a Champion in the NSW Landcare Awards. 

You can learn more about Stuart and Wilmot Cattle Co via their Facebook page or website, or by attending their annual Field Day, with hundreds of others, in collaboration with MaiaGrazing, every year in February. 

Martin Bigliardi, Gentos, Argentina

Martin Bigliardi is an agronomist employed by Gentos in Argentina.

Gentos is a prominent pasture variety breeding company that not only breeds, produces and supplies quality pasture varieties but also offer technical knowledge to farmers to ensure they get the best production from their pasture varieties. 

Martin has been working for Gentos for 16 years in the variety development area. Based in the Buenos Aires province he covers some 480,000 square kilometers of prime farmland which ranges in climates of temperate to sub-tropical with rainfall averages between 500mm and 1200mm.

Martin works with a number of species of grasses and legumes, focusing on persistence and best performance for beef and dairy production in varying climates .

Michael Chilvers

Michael Chilvers, along with his wife Fiona, runs a successful intensive mixed farming enterprise in Tasmania’s Northern Midlands at Nile. A mix of predominantly irrigated crops such as feed grains, malt barley, lucerne hay, processing peas, poppies and hybrid carrot seed are grown, along side livestock enterprises including lamb finishing and dairy heifer and dry cow agistment.

In 2012 Michael was fortunate to be awarded a GRDC Nuffield Farming Scholarship and traveled widely studying ways to systemise production on farm and models for expansion for agricultural businesses. Following the completion of the scholarship, Michael was appointed to the board of Nuffield Australia for two years. He is currently chair of TAP AgriCo: a grain and processed stock feed trading and logistics business that handles the majority of the cereal crop produced in Tasmania.

Michael’s long-term involvement with the GRDC has greatly extended networks and provided a sound knowledge of issues facing producers. This has been further strengthened as a member of the GRDC Southern Panel and the High Rainfall Zone Cropping Solutions Network Committee. Both positions identify production challenges and prioritise research, development and extension investment relating to broad acre farming systems across southern Australia.

Michael has been a strong advocate for irrigation development and water storage within Tasmania, and in particular, the South Esk catchment. He was involved with the Lower South Esk Irrigation Scheme as a member of the Irrigators group, prior to the scheme’s commencement and served for a period as chair. He was appointed in 2015 as non-executive director of Tasmanian Irrigation, the state government business enterprise responsible for constructing and operating irrigation schemes across the state.

Mark Cooper, Edenhope

Mark and his wife Sheree manage and operate the family farm at Edenhope in the West Wimmera of Victoria. After completing a Diploma of Applied Science at Dookie College, Mark worked for the Department of Agriculture at the Regional Veterinary Laboratory at Hamilton, and as an Animal Health Officer at Hamilton and Colac, before moving to Edenhope in 1990. The property runs both 1st X and Merino sheep, with some cattle trading and cereal cropping. Soil types range from heavy clays to deep acid sands. 

 

Greg Dalton, Creation Care

Greg runs an environmental business, Creation Care (CC), based at Strathalbyn, South Australia.  CC does large-scale weed removal and native plant revegetation, plus they have a native plant nursery. Greg and his team have planted well over 1.4 million trees and shrubs.

In 2002 Greg starting sourcing and establishing dung beetles on beef farms of the Fleurieu Beef Group, Fleurieu Peninsula, SA.  Also in 2002, due to some dung beetles species being in short supply, Greg started mass-rearing dung beetles in nurseries.  The mass-rearing has grown to the point that Greg is now mass-rearing species that have been newly introduced into Australia.  This means that newly introduced species can be rapidly multiplied and be available to farmers years before the old methods – which involved releasing small numbers of beetles at several locations throughout Australia and waiting decades for them to establish and spread throughout a region.

Greg’s experience with dung beetle nurseries led him to try on-farm dung beetle nurseries. These have been very successful and Greg now sees on-farm dung beetle nurseries and the lowest cost, most reliable and quickest method for farmers to cover their farms, and surrounding regions, with dung beetles.

Charlie de Fegely, Quamby Farm

Charles manages and operates the family farm at Ararat with son Richard. The property is predominantly a prime lamb operation, with some cereal cropping. It has been a focus for many producers, researchers and extension officers to trial, inspect the latest pasture and livestock technologies. Over the years on farm, Charlie has hosted many bus tours of primary producers looking at pasture management and productivity. In recent years Charles has been a member of the “Platinum Primary Producers” group where he has been a judge and mentor for the Zanda McDonald Award. In 2019 Charlie was awarded the AW Howard Medal for Excellence in Pasture Research. He was the first producer to be awarded this medal which is normally awarded to researchers in pasture science.

Professor Richard Eckard, The University of Melbourne

Richard is Professor of Livestock Production Systems and Director of the Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, the University of Melbourne. His research focuses on sustainable livestock production, nitrogen cycling and loss in grazing systems, with a recent focus on carbon farming and options for agriculture to respond to a changing climate. He is a science advisor to the Australian, New Zealand and UK governments, and the UN FAO and EU, on climate change adaptation, mitigation and carbon policy development in agriculture. 

Dr Kevin Foster, University of Western Australia

Kevin worked for the Department of Agriculture in Pasture Science in WA for over 30 years. While at the Department, he worked on the development of new and improved pasture legume species for cropping and pasture systems, characterised new legume germplasm from overseas and screened subclover genotypes for low oestrogenic content. Kevin also spent 11 years breeding legumes with high oestrogenic content for their therapeutic and medicinal value for the pharmaceutical industry. In 2014, he moved to the University of Western Australia to take up a role as a Senior Research Scientist. 

His current research interests include:

  • Phytoestrogens and other pasture compounds that affect animal health and reproduction
  • Factors affecting dry matter and seed production in pasture legumes
  • Plant ecophysiology and drought stress physiology

Kevin's favourite legumes are sub and red clover. He has a PhD in Plant Physiology from the University of Western Australia.
 

 

Jonathan Jenkin, Glenelg Hopkins CMA and Banemore Poll Herefords

Jonathan and his wife manage their 1000 ha Poll Hereford and composite ewe farm enterprise situated near Mt Napier in Western Victoria. Prior to returning to the family farm Jonathan had an extensive career in Agribusiness including roles with Ipsos Market Research, Syngenta and Kubota.  In addition to farming he also currently undertakes a part time employment within the Sustainable Agriculture team of Glenelg Hopkins CMA. A core element of his CMA role is working within projects which utilise new technology, innovation and sustainability. A key example is a current federal government funded Smart Farming Project which in partnership with Southern Farming Systems is building a farm level decision making “dashboard” which draws on real time data relating to weather, soil moisture, pasture availability and commodity pricing.

Cherry Macklin, Cliff Farm

Cherry lives at Ashbourne, South Australia, and runs an Angus Beef breeding enterprise on approximately 200 hectares.  She has lived there for almost 20 years. The farm incorporates river flats and hills, some of which are steep.  The Finniss River runs through the property and Bull Creek joins the Finnis River on the farm.

Cherry believes in sustainable agriculture and has planted 16,00 – 17,000 trees and shrubs in the past 20 years, uses minimal chemical applications to the land and cattle and has fenced off both Bull Creek and the Finnis River.  Chery uses cell grazing on her farm, organic fertilisers, and the introduction of dung beetles to the farming system has been implemented; the latter being one of the most significant improvements to the health of the animals, land and water ways.

Prior to the introduction of dung beetles, the land was fouled by dung, which the cattle refuse to graze.  In winter months the dung would be washed into the river systems, polluting the water.  Since the introduction of dung Bubas bison in 2002, there is now virtually no dung in the paddocks from April to November and the paddocks are grazed evenly which supresses weeds.  B. Bison also provide a free fertiliser service by burying dung and turning over the soil.  In the summer months, O. taurus are active and as well as the removal of dung, there has been a significant reduction in flies.

Cherry believes that the introduction of dung beetles has been of critical importance to the health of both the livestock and the environment.
 

Tess McDougall, Agriculture Victoria & Perennial Pasture Systems

Originally from South Gippsland, after studying a Bachelor of Animal Science (Hons) at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, Tess worked in the dairy industry with Murray Goulburn for 5 years in field services before moving to Ararat and beginning a family with her husband. After a couple of years raising her beautiful daughters, Tess returned to work joining the Biosecurity team at Agriculture Victoria in late 2017. Moving to this position in early 2019, the PPS/Ag Vic Enhanced Producer Demonstration Site is a great project for Tess to be involved in, it provides a welcoming environment for the investigation and development of new ideas and techniques on farm. 

Dr Derrick Moot, Lincoln University, New Zealand

Professor Moot leads the Dryland Pastures Research Programme at Lincoln University. For the last 25 years he has promoted the use of legumes in dryland pasture systems and developed grazing management practices to maximize animal production from them. His research focuses on rainfed (350-700 mm) regions of New Zealand which are dominated by sheep and beef farming. He is an international expert in lucerne grazing management and is a frequent speaker to farm discussion groups and industry groups.  

Dr Elizabeth Morse-McNabb, Agriculture Victoria Research

Elizabeth graduated from The University of Melbourne in 1997 and worked for a short time as a pasture agronomist before undertaking a PhD in satellite remote sensing.  Elizabeth’s PhD used a satellite based synthetic aperture radar sensor to estimate soil moisture in rainfed crops of central Victoria.  Elizabeth’s career focus has been the use of remote sensing and geospatial information systems for the characterisation of agricultural production systems.  She has created a mapping framework for the modernisation of the northern irrigation region, established methods for mapping land cover annually and created an integrated land tenure, use and cover dataset for the state of Victoria.  Elizabeth has also undertaken research in, mapping soil moisture under pastures in the high rainfall zone, applications for satellite based fractional ground cover estimates, creating state wide within season crop extent maps and estimates of above ground biomass for wheat, barley and canola from satellite platforms.

Elizabeth currently leads the Pasture Smarts project in the Dairy Feedbase program.  The project is researching all forms of remotely sensed observations of pasture, from ground-based hand-held sensors to satellite platforms and using lidar, sonar, radar, multispectral and hyperspectral sensors.  Biophysical modelling is being coupled with sensor observations and landscape climate forecasts to predict future pasture growth.  The project aims to develop mechanisms for the accurate measurement of yield and quality that will enable better management and allocation of pasture at the paddock and farm scale. This involves a team of 16 staff across 6 AVR locations.  

John Murdoch, Monaro Farming Systems

John Murdoch CA GAICD (B. Comm, ANU) (G. dip Accounting, ICAA). John is a joint owner and operator of a family wool, beef and lamb producing enterprise on the Southern Monaro NSW. John also sits on the Sheep Connect NSW project advisory panel which oversees AWI’s industry extension within NSW. Prior to operating a primary production enterprise, John worked for KPMG specialising in private enterprise and government body governance, performance and compliance. John is graduate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. John has a depth of experience in pasture based livestock finishing systems and sustainable livestock grazing enterprises.

Rowan Paulet, Millring Pastoral

After completing a Diploma in Agriculture and a Bachelor of Applied Science - Agriculture at Dookie College from 1998-2002, Rowan returned to the family farm in 2003. Still working together with his parents and brother, Rowan operates a diverse farming business in Gippsland, Victoria. Spread across approximately 2200ha Millring Pastoral’s enterprises cover sheep, beef and cropping. The family grow over 1000ha of winter crops each year producing wheat, barley, canola and faba beans. The cattle enterprise produces vealers and grass fed yearlings and they run a mix of both cross bred and merino sheep. The business has access to some irrigation to produce predominantly grazing crops to compliment their livestock enterprises.

In 2010 Rowan was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship, supported by the GRDC to study ‘The integration of livestock and cropping in high rainfall zones’. The idea for the topic was inspired by the desire to not only capitalise on the potential of grazing crops but also  investigate possibilities of value adding to livestock with grain produced on farm.

Stuart Tait, Tait Pastoral Company

Born & raised on a family beef breeding & fattening property near Mandurama, NSW Central Tablelands, then worked in agriculture across Australia before studying farm business management at Marcus Oldham College in Geelong, and a semester studying pasture agronomy and beef science at Lincoln University, Canterbury New Zealand. Returned home to the family farm in late 2014, and received a Nuffield scholarship in 2016 to study integrated beef & cropping systems. The topic morphed into developing a profitable, forage-based, year-round beef finishing system. Since completing the Nuffield Scholarship have returned to the manage operations in family business, working alongside parents John & Jo, as well as wife Izzy and one year old son Henry. 

The business currently operates a dryland cropping enterprise, as well as running 550 Angus breeding cows in a self-replacing herd, and fattening approx. 250 home-bred steers and 1100 trade steers on a mix of perennial phalaris based pastures, dual purpose wheat, and Italian ryegrass.

Duncan Thomas, Perennial Pasture Systems

Duncan Thomas is president of Perennial Pasture Systems and Product Development Manager at PGG Wrightson Seeds where he is focused on temperate forage species. Outside work he also manages a prime lamb and beef property in Western Victoria. 

Previously he was responsible for running pasture trials at a range of regional sites throughout Victoria focusing on species and variety fit in a range of environments. He was recently part of the advisory group for the ‘High Production Annual Forage in Perennial Systems’ PDS funded by MLA and will be presenting those results. 

Associate Professor Paul Umina, cesar

Paul oversees the Sustainable Agriculture division at cesar. He is an accomplished leader in pest management in Australia and internationally, regularly presenting at conferences, workshops and industry meetings. He is the inaugural chair of the grains National Insecticide Resistance Management (NIRM) committee, and the creator of PestFacts south-eastern, the highly successful newsletter received by over 1,500 people working with broadacre crops and pastures.