Science and Innovation in South West Agriculture

 A conference presented by the South West Science Council and the Ag Institute of Australia

 Held at St Joseph Parish Centre, corner of Moore and Ispen Streets, Manjimup Thursday 18 and Friday 19 May, 2017  

The south west of WA supports a wide range of agricultural industries including annual and perennial horticulture, dairying, viticulture, silviculture, sheep and cattle grazing, floriculture. The goods are marketed variously as niche luxury products through to bulk domestic and export commodities. Local value adding is important and the region is also widely recognised as a food and wine tourism destination.

The Conference was opened by the Chief Scientist of WA, Professor Peter Klinken FTSE and  featured a keynote address on “Pathways to Competitiveness”, a report commissioned by DAFWA. This was followed up by presentations from researchers, industry leaders and successful agribusiness entrepreneurs in which successful agricultural production and food processing businesses have been built around application of science and technology in adaptation and innovation.

An objective of the Conference was to work towards outcomes that are implementable in the pursuit of profitability and competitiveness. Sessions were rounded out with Q&A panel discussions.

On the second afternoon there was a tour of several properties and businesses of great interest to see and hear on site the innovative practices being employed.

The event  also featured presentations by young agricultural professionals from around Australia who were competing for a National Award that was presented at the Conference Dinner. Congratulations to the 5 national finalists for your extensive research and very informative presentations on the day. 

FULL CONFERENCE PROGRAM can be viewed here: 

AG INSTITUTE of AUSTRALIA website with additional conference information can be viewed here: 


Copies of the presentations can be viewed below. 


 Session 1 Setting the Scene 

Opening Address: Professor Peter Klinken FTSE, Chief Scientist of Western Australia Science and Innovation in SW Agriculture

Keynote Address: HonCr Paul Omodei Snr, President, Shire of Manjimup Agricultural Expansion – Partnering with industry to promote the region


Session 2: Sustainability Settings

Dr Mike Christensen Farming, Landcare and NRM – working together under a changing climate?

Paul Omodei Jnr Advice you wish clients would take on board

Paul Omodei Jnr – Video to accompany presentation: Here

Tim Morris Pathways to Competitiveness ( Document not able to be published publicly just yet)


Session 3: Successful Industry Growth and Development

Josh Giumelli and Ben White New Technology: Its impact on future agriculture ( to be provided)

Tilwyn Westrup Annual Horticulture; evaporation based irrigation management

Doug Pow Proposing, Implementing and Analysing a Biological Carbon Sequestration System Utilising Ruminants and Dung Beetles

Anne Mitchell Truffles and value-adding – Innovation in an emerging industry


Session 4: AIA Young Professionals National Finalists ( Presentations to be added soon)

Tasmania –  Ashlea Schott How Does Timing of Carbon Limitation Affect Flower Production in Pyrethrum (WINNER)

South Australia – Rudi McEwin Non-Addictive Genetic Effects in Wagyu – Busting the Breeder Myth of “Nicking”

Western Australia – Charlotte Jones  Fighting Disease for human health and agricultural sustainability – Can ecosystem restoration interventions aid disease regulation? 

New South Wales – Grace Scott  Investigating the Role of Carotenoids in Root Development 

Queensland – Kiara Crook The effect of organic amendments on sugarcane ( Saccharum spp.) root health and function and associated nematode populations 


Session 5: Commodities or Value-added Premium Product?

Esther Jones Doing it differently with dairy research

Dr Dave Pethick Livestock production and meat quality SW region

Phil May Premium agrifood market opportunities: Food Industry Innovation project, DAFWA (Document not able to be published publicly just yet)

Alex Murray WA Future Ready Grain Farming Systems 


Session 6: Paths to Competitiveness

Susanna Morley Protein production possibilities

Jennie Franceschi High Pressure Processing in the Avocado Industry 

Dr Simon Cook WA Agribusiness in the digital age – Laggards or Pioneers? 



Further information about the conference can be obtained by contacting:

Professor Adrian Egan, Chair, South West Science Council,

ph: 0417 581 374 and e-mail:

Dr Don Burnside, Chair, WA Division, Ag Institute of Australia

ph: 0427 357 982 and e-mail: