DPIRD biosecurity responses protecting WA agriculture industry and market access

DPIRD officers Sonya Broughton (left), Bill Trend, Vincent Lanoiselet and Dr Bruce Twentyman discuss strategies during the department’s Q-fly response.

Department staff throughout Western Australia are currently engaged in a number of concurrent biosecurity incidents to protect the State’s valuable fruit and vegetable industries.

More than 25,000 hours have been devoted to three major incident responses: Queensland fruit fly (Qfly), citrus canker and tomato potato psyllid over many months.

A dedicated incident response group was established for each incursion, led by staff trained in emergency biosecurity management and involving officers from around the State.


Movement restrictions have been in place in several southern Perth suburbs since May, when Qfly was detected in Como.

Qfly is one of the most destructive pests to a range of fruits and some vegetables, which, if not eradicated, could have a serious impact on WA’s commercial orchards and crops.

Since the detection, 1182 properties (94 per cent) located within 200 metres of the detection point have been contacted as part of the department’s eradication program.

More than 3500 baitings on 608 properties have been carried out as part of a surveillance program, with no further Qfly detections.

Incursions of Qfly have been eradicated from Perth four times since the 1980s, most recently in 2016 in Alfred Cove and earlier this year in Fremantle.

Quarantine restrictions are likely to remain in place until early November.

More information and updates on the Qfly response program is available here

Citrus Canker

The department has also been working with industry and the community in the State’s north to minimise the impact of the contagious disease citrus canker, after it was confirmed in Kununurra and Wyndham in May.

The detection on three properties was linked to plants imported from the Northern Territory, where it was found on properties in Darwin and Katherine.

Citrus canker is a contagious disease that causes unsightly lesions on leaves, fruit and stems.

While it does not pose a risk to human health and fruit remains safe to eat, it can have a serious impact on production.

Quarantine Areas were declared in June within a 50 kilometre radius of the Kununurra and Wyndham post offices to prevent the spread of the disease in the East Kimberley.

More than 450 properties have been visited in the area as part of the department’s surveillance activities.

More than 21,000 staff hours have been dedicated to the response, including those from the department’s Kununurra office and other offices throughout the State.

Recently the department has been working with the local industry, residents and the Kununurra Region Economic Aboriginal Corporation to remove host plants, as required under the national response plan.

These removal activities are complete in Wyndham and in one of the two Restricted Areas in Kununurra. Work in the other Restricted Area in Kununurra will be completed this month.

The movement restrictions in the Quarantine Areas, which include the three Restricted Areas and the Control Areas, will currently remain in place until 18 May 2019.

For more information about the citrus canker biosecurity response click here.

Tomato potato psyllid

Over the past 18 months department staff have also been engaged in activities to assist industry transition to management of the sap-sucking insect tomato potato psyllid (TPP).

TPP attacks a range of plants including potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli, tamarillo and sweet potato.

The insect was detected in WA in February 2017 – the first time it had been found in Australia, prompting a comprehensive biosecurity response.

The cost shared response for TTP/CLso has now concluded and WA has transitioned to management, following a national agreement by Federal and State governments and the horticulture industry that TPP could not be eradicated and that efforts should now focus on managing the pest by implementing a national plan. 

The Transition to Management Plan was designed to improve the capacity of the horticulture sector to manage TPP and outputs of the transition to management, including enterprise management plans, research outcomes and recommendation of harmonised movement conditions, will be available soon.

TPP is a known vector for the Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) bacterium, which results in the potato ‘zebra chip’ disease.

CLso has not been detected in Australia. However, due to its association with TPP in other countries, domestic import restrictions based on CLso were placed on seed and ware potatoes stopping interstate exports.

The department has completed extensive surveillance and testing of thousands of psyllids for CLso.

In a major step forward, WA recently met the national surveillance requirements to demonstrate absence of CLso in WA.

WA is now working closely with other states as they review their interstate movement restrictions related to CLso.

A Quarantine Area remains in effect for the Perth metropolitan area and surrounds to help minimise the spread of TPP.

Commercial vegetable growers, the nursery industry and home gardeners have been reminded to adhere to conditions on the movement of host plants. 

More information about the TPP response is available here.


The department’s efforts to address these biosecurity threats has served to minimise the impact of the pests and diseases on WA valuable agricultural industry.

If left uncontained, these and other biosecurity incursions could threaten agricultural production, market access, increase production costs and impact on our outdoor lifestyle.

WA has an enviable biosecurity status, free from many of the world’s worst pests and diseases, which enables efficient and cost effective production and essential market access.

With more than 80 per cent of the State’s agricultural production destined for export, it is imperative this biosecurity reputation is protected.

Good biosecurity is the result of a strong partnership between government, industry and the community.

Early detection is crucial to an effective biosecurity response so it is important we all remain vigilant report any observations or unusual or suspect pests and diseases to the department immediately.

This can be done by the DPIRD Pest and Disease Information Service on 9368 3080, the Emergency Animal Diseases Hotline 1800 675 888, the Exotic Pest Hotline 1800 083 881 or email or download the free MyPestGuide Reporter app.

Managing sheep intended for live export

The department’s sheep team is working to support WA producers to manage the impact of the recent regulatory and market changes in the live export trade.

The team is focussing its efforts on research, development, modelling and analysis at both the pre-farmgate and throughout the supply chain to help reduce the impact on the sheep industry in the short and medium term.

A dedicated Sheep Industry Reference Group is also being established to provide advice on issues or opportunities to guide the department’s activity and ensure maximum benefit for the industry and the State.

The group will be chaired by the department’s Director of Livestock Research, Development and Innovation, Bruce Mullan, and include three members from the production sector of the live export industry and a further three key stakeholders from the sheep industry value chain.

Expressions of Interest were sought to determine the membership for this industry-led group which is expected to meet later this month.

The Reference Group will provide a valuable connection to industry though individual and joint networks, and encourage input and participation from producers and other stakeholders.

We are keen to work with highly experienced industry representatives who understand the sheep industry value chain, and the strategic challenges and opportunities within the sector.

Options for ‘shippers’

The department estimates up to 200,000 WA sheep had been destined for live export over coming months. This included approximately 55,000 sheep which had been scheduled for export to the Middle East on 24 June, some of which are still held in a registered feedlot at Baldivis.

It is unlikely there will be capacity to turn off a large number of shipping stock via live export before November 2018.

Producers have options available to manage these animals that were originally planned to be sold as ‘shippers’.

Some options are:

  • Retain and sell to the live export market when trade resumes – sheep need to be maintained at condition score 2 or higher
  • Retain for wool production in the longer term – adult sheep need to be maintained at condition score 2 or higher for good health and wool production
  • Sell all or some for slaughter as lightweight mutton
  • Sell lighter white tag lambs to the air freight market
  • Sell any heavier Merino lambs to slaughter while prices are good and processors are in short supply
  • Retain and then sell as heavy weight mutton – sheep need to reach fat score 3.

All decisions will have some impact on the farming enterprise and consideration should be given to the impacts on stocking rate and available pasture for lactating ewes; stocking rate over summer, available feed for growing weaners; and cash flow.

Feed requirements

To maintain adult sheep in condition score 2, energy is the most important input. Most green pastures and feed will have enough protein to allow good health.

Feed on Offer or FOO (kgDM/ha)

Supplementary feed with 8MJ/kg (kg/hd/d)

Cost with $400/kg ration*


In confinement










None required


For lighter or hogget wethers to gain weight or condition, energy is still the most important requirement. For Merino wethers to grow at 150g/hd/day, it will take approximately five weeks for a 45kg wether to reach 50kg, assuming the diet has 10 per cent protein.

FOO (kgDM/ha)

Supplementary feed with 8MJ/kg (kg/hd/d)

Cost $400/tonne*


Cost to gain 5kg in 5 weeks      

In confinement
















*pellets @ $400/T and average intake from actively growing pasture

Useful links

Supplementary feeding and feed budgeting of sheep: a full explanation of the options and how to choose feed sources based on energy and cost

Lifetime Wool: Check your FOO using photo standards

Pasture feed on offer and growth rate maps 2018

Boosting winter pasture growth with nitrogen fertiliser

New Recognised Biosecurity Groups to add to State’s pest defence

Declared Pest Rates provide an opportunity to develop better control programs for declared pests such as foxes.

Communities in the South West, Central Wheatbelt and Great Southern will be receiving Declared Pest Rate notices in September for the first time. The rates collected will be matched dollar for dollar by the State Government, and made available to newly established Recognised Biosecurity Groups to coordinate the control of priority declared pests: opening up opportunities for local decisions to be made by local people.

The rates are one facet of a new approach in these areas to the control of widespread and established declared feral animals and weeds, underpinned by the principle of shared responsibility for pest management.

The rates will be received by the five new Recognised Biosecurity Groups (RBG) in the South West Land Division, which will for the first time focus on bringing landholders together to work across fence and shire boundaries in coordinated pest control programs.

Department invasive species Director Victoria Aitken said she recognised that landholders will be asking why they need to pay this rate, and why a RBG has been set up in their area.

“Before understanding the rates, landholders need to understand what an RBG is and why it is needed,” Ms Aitken said.

“In the past control programs for widespread feral animals and weeds carried out by government, industry and landholders has been ad-hoc. This has not only led to an inefficient use of resources, but also ineffective control and continuing impacts of declared pests such as rabbits and foxes, and invasive weeds like blackberry and cotton bush.

“There has also been a lack of involvement by all community members, which can be attributed to landholders not being aware that under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 (BAM Act) they are responsible for controlling declared pests on their own properties.”

Ms Aitken said RBGs existed to get everyone involved, and ensure that any involvement is coordinated.

“One of their roles is to educate landholders on their obligations under the BAM Act, and provide them with the skills and opportunities to be involved in collaborative control programs,” she said.

“This is achieved through education, community meetings, information workshops and any training needed to increase landholder participation. RBGs can also implement regional control activities that add value to landholder activities, and can create partnerships with industry, government and other organisations to fund and deliver pest control programs.”

With improved understanding, it is hoped that pest management will become an accepted part of good property management and the social norm – resulting in voluntary compliance across a large area.

“This resolves a big barrier to participation when there are uncontrolled pests on neighbouring properties. An added benefit is reducing the need to facilitate pest control through fines for non-compliance.”

Ms Aitken said coordination provided a chance to pool funding, people, resources and expertise, and achieve maximum benefit for minimal cost. As the new RBGs mature, they will be able to work across boundaries with other RBGs.

“This is where the rates come in. If communities can understand the need for a RBG, they will understand that all of the above cannot be delivered without funding,” Ms Aitken said.

“It is also important for landholders to understand that the rates are based on operational plans developed with local landholders. This means that landholders become part of the solution to pest control problems, and that the pests identified as priorities for control reflect the needs and wants of the community.”

Ms Aitken said RBGs are a voice representing landholder needs – allowing pest control decisions to be made at the local level by local people.

“We are hoping the new rates will be welcomed by communities given they will always know what the money is being spent on, and for what purpose. The added benefit of raising funds through this system is that under the BAM Act, the State Government will match all rates raised dollar-for-dollar – doubling the amount of funds available for control programs,” she said.

For 2018-19, Government has set aside $2.48 million for this purpose. A flat rate or ad valorem rate (based on the unimproved value of the land) is used when determining rates for each RBG area.

Ms Aitken said the existence of RBGs did not mean that DPIRD had stepped away from the control of declared pests.

“While the department expects RBGs to move towards self-reliance, it will continue to support each group,” she said.

“RBGs are focused on the management of established declared weeds and feral animals, which allows DPIRD to direct its resources to preventing new incursions of priority pests, and carry out eradication where new incursions occur,” Ms Aitken said.

“However, DPIRD remains involved in declared pest management through matching government funds, helping local pest control groups to become recognised, and providing support to these groups with the administrative, governance and community engagement skills needed to operate effectively. This includes sharing expertise on latest research and best practice management.”

Overall, the success of a RBG is dependent on effective community engagement. Engagement is needed for landholders to understand the need for coordinated programs, the need for their involvement, development of agreed control priorities, and the need for a Declared Pest Rate to deliver these priorities.

Ms Aitken said only a small amount of funds raised through the rates were spent on administration. Each RBG has an Executive Officer or administrative support, but remaining funds are used for on-ground activities, education and training.

“Through collaboration, coordination and leveraging resources RBGs are playing an important role in meeting the government’s goal for a robust biosecurity system in Western Australia – to protect agricultural production and open doors to market access,” she said.

“RBGs already operating in the pastoral regions have achieved significant success through the raising of rates, including the reduction of wild dog numbers, other feral animal control, and preventing the spread of weeds such as mesquite and rubbervine.”

The five RBGs rating for the first time are the Central Wheatbelt Biosecurity Association, Esperance Biosecurity Association, Southern Biosecurity Group, Peel Harvey Biosecurity Group, and Blackwood Biosecurity Incorporated.

The new groups join the Eastern Wheatbelt RBG, formed in 2015, the five groups established in the pastoral areas and the Carnarvon Growers Association formed to address the eradication of Mediterranean Fruit Fly. 

Meanwhile, the department is continuing to work in the agricultural area with groups considering recognition, that are moving towards a rate in the 2018-2019 financial year. 

More information about RBGs and the Declared Pest Rate can be found on the department’s website. This video can also provide an in-depth look at how RBGs operate.

Western rock lobsters’ long trek helps WA fisheries sustainable management 

Tagged Western Rock Lobsters, like this one pictured, have been recaptured more 400 kilometres from their original location. The tagging program provides crucial information about the changing condition of WA’s most valuable fishery.

Western rock lobsters may be small but the uniquely Western Australian species has the ability to traverse hundreds of kilometres, according to a research by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

The surprising movement results were discovered as part of a major tagging project, undertaken with the Western Rock Lobster Council and the Institute of Marine Science in Virginia, with funding support from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

The research revealed that many of the non-breeding ‘white phase’ (teenage) lobsters travelled all the way from the shallow waters off Perth and Lancelin to as far north as Steep Point, just south of Shark Bay.

Two recaptured non-breeding ‘white phase’ (teenage) females travelled the furthest.

A map showing Western Rock Lobster Lindsey and Lydia’s 400km journey from Fremantle to the Midwest coast over two months.

Dubbed ‘Lindsey’ and ‘Lydia’, the pair were both tagged and released in the ocean near Fremantle in December 2014.

Lindsey was caught off the Dongara coast in February 2015, while Lydia was caught a week later west of the Abrolhos Islands, near Geraldton.

Both had walked more than 400 kilometres, at a rate of about five kilometres per day.

The pair’s journey reflects the vast distances western rock lobsters traverse, offshore from the beach to water depths between 40 to 200 metres, in search of suitable breeding grounds.

While some lobsters tagged at Fremantle do not walk much further than Rottnest, others – assisted by the Leeuwin current – can be found as far north as Shark Bay.

The information from the recaptured lobsters, such as movement, growth and mortalities, helps researchers to inform management strategies to ensure the future sustainability of the State’s fisheries.

The results also provide an insight into how the introduction of quotas in 2010 for western rock lobster commercial operators has affected the fishery.

Recent data indicates there is now more biomass or stock in the water, spread out over a greater area. Measurement records also show growth rates have slowed, suggesting the densities of lobsters in some areas has reached high levels.

A total of 210,000 western rock lobsters were tagged as part of the project in 2014 and continue to be tracked.

As of July 2018, nearly 3000 tagged rock lobsters had been recaptured and reported to the department, representing a 1.5% recapture rate.

The western rock lobster is Western Australia’s largest and most valuable fishery, with a commercial value of $386 million per annum in 2017.

The fishery operates between Shark Bay and Cape Leeuwin using baited traps (pots), with 233 vessels actively fishing in 2017.

Recreational fishers who catch a tagged western rock lobster are encouraged to contribute to the research by notifying the department about their discovery by email or downloading the FishTagWA app.

Fishers should note the tag number, lobster size (carapace length), date, location (GPS if possible), the depth at which it was caught, if a female was carrying eggs, had a tar spot and whether it was kept or released.

If a tagged lobster is legal, fishers are welcome to keep it, if it is not legal (undersized or berried), then it should be returned to the water with the tag still attached.

The department will send fishers who supply recapture information a Scratch ‘n’ Win card and information on the lobster and its travels, as a gesture of appreciation.

More information about the western rock lobster and research is available on the department’s website.

Be on the lookout for Noogoora Burr

Noogoora burr (Xanthium strumarium), note the clusters of prickle-like burrs and grape-vine like leaves which help to identify this weed.

The invasive weed Noogoora burr (Xanthium strumarium) was recently detected along the banks of the De Grey River, in the Pilbara with travellers now being asked to keep an eye out for the declared plant.

A surveillance and eradication program is underway and the 24 hour rest area at the De Grey River currently closed to help prevent spread of the burr.

Noogoora burr is a declared pest in Western Australia, occurring in some areas of the Kimberley but not established in the Pilbara or elsewhere in the State.

The affected landholders on the De Grey River, including De Grey Station and Main Roads WA, together with the Pilbara Mesquite Management Committee, the Pilbara Regional Biosecurity Group and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), have recently undertaken surveillance to determine the full extent of the infestation.

All plants found were either hand pulled and deep buried or sprayed for later burning.

Jo Kuiper (PMMC) and Kay Bailey (DPIRD) manually removing seeding Noogoora burr plants on the De Grey River, to be disposed of by deep burial.

This collaborative approach will enable planning for a long-term management program to eradicate Noogoora burr on the De Grey River and ensure the infestation does not invade further through the Pilbara region.

The community’s help is needed to watch for the weed and report suspect plants to DPIRD, as early detection will help to prevent this weed becoming a serious problem in Western Australia.

What is Noogoora Burr?

Noogoora burr is one of the most serious and widespread weeds in the world.

A summer growing annual plant it has large, lobed, rough, grape-vine like leaves, fleshy stems, reaching up to two metres tall and produces clusters of prickle-like burrs (1.5-2cm long).

Noogoora burr.

It is often abundant after spring or summer floods and flourishes in areas with high rainfall and a temperate climate, particularly along rivers and creek flats, on roadsides and pastoral land.

Plants are toxic to livestock, pose a threat to the environment and the burrs can contaminate wool in sheep grazing areas.

How is it spread?

The seed located in the burrs is spread by attaching to pets and livestock, clothing and other fibrous material.

It can spread by mud and soil material on vehicles and equipment.The burrs can also float, enabling the weed to move and spread via rivers and waterbodies.

DPIRD encourages travellers leaving the Kimberley to check their clothing, vehicles, equipment and animals for weed burrs and carefully dispose of them to prevent Noogoora burr spreading further south.

If you find Noogoora burr or come across any suspect or unfamiliar plants contact the nearest DPIRD office or the DPIRD Pest and Diseases information service on +61 (0)8 9368 3080 or

Information is also available on the DPIRD website.

Hackathon stimulates digital solutions to agricultural challenges

Agriculture and Food Minister, Alannah MacTiernan (centre), congratulates the members of Team Dex and DPIRD mentor, Rob Emery (far right), on winning the 2018 AgTech Hackathon.

Tech innovators gathered in Perth recently for a hackathon event to work on developing new digital solutions to overcome a range of challenges in the agriculture industry.

The AgTech Hackathon was sponsored by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), in partnership with the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer and facilitated by the Ministry of Data, a not-for-profit organisation.

The department’s investment in the hackathon was designed to stimulate innovation in the technology sector that could benefit agricultural producers and grow international competitiveness.

Agricultural technology has been identified as the next evolutionary leap in the sector’s development so it is important for Western Australia to remain at the forefront of advancements to keep pace with our global counterparts.

Eleven teams worked on creating concepts and prototypes, which could be developed into digital products, such as apps for mobile devices, monitoring and surveillance devices, decision making aids and other tools.

The teams worked on seven challenges:

  • Grading grain at the farm gate - grading grain on the farm
  • Where did my lamb chop come from? - tracking meat quality from processor to customer
  • Monitoring the rangelands - monitoring rangelands condition remotely
  • Connected sheep - tracking the breeding value of ewes
  • Identifying and predicting pests to protect WA - capture photographic evidence of biosecurity threats
  • Whose grain is that? - tracking a property’s  grain deliveries
  • Making sense of agricultural data - simplifying agricultural data formats.

The participants were mentored by DPIRD subject specialists and had access to a number of the department’s publically available databases, accessed via Application Programmable Interfaces (APIs).

APIs allow for information from the DPIRD databases to be exchanged with commercial software applications.

The department’s public API databases include:

  • Weather – data from DPIRD’s network of 175 weather stations, including air temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind speed, wind direction and incoming solar radiation.
  • Radar – real-time rainfall and wind data from a shared collaboration with the Bureau of Meteorology on Doppler radars
  • Soils – provides an aggregation of soils, as to what soils are likely in a certain area.
  • Pestfax Map – Pestfax Map shows occurrences of plant pests and diseases that are reported throughout WA
  • Science – provides the ‘back end’ to the Rainfall to Date, Potential Yield, and Soil Water tools already available on the DPIRD website
  • Organisms – opens access to The Western Australian Organism List (WAOL), which provides the status of organisms which have been categorised under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 (BAM Act).

The first place winners, Team Dex, tackled the challenge Identifying and predicting pests to protect WA to develop a prototype artificial intelligence application that immediately identifies an insect and flags it if it poses a biosecurity threat.

The team of six, which came together on the night, used the pest imagery and taxonomic expertise held in tens of thousands of pest reports submitted to the department’s MyPestGuide™ Reporter smartphone app to develop the prototype.

The investigation showed that it was possible for the app to categorise pest threats with up to 95.2% accuracy, based on images alone.

Runner-up team, Grainies, also met on the first night to develop a concept on how to track grain from the farmer to the customer.

Second runner-up, Carbon Eyes in the Sky, saw an opportunity to apply from the team’s involvement in environmental consultancy to use satellite imagery to assess the potential of the rangelands for carbon sequestration.

The Best Young Team award went to Ag-Dex, which addressed the Connected Sheep challenge by building a prototype bluetooth sensor to monitor and measure ewe and lamb health and behaviour.

Each team also addressed several of the other challenges on offer.

The participants will now work with the Ministry of Data to identify and promote some of the solutions, which could be developed into products or businesses.

The AgTech Hackathon complements other department initiatives to support the advancement of ag tech in WA, including the Digital Farm Grants program, funding places at the Combine Agtech Hub and the Harvest AgTech Accelerator program.

The department’s eConnected Grainbelt project is also exploring how digital technology can assist growers and industry to become more productive and profitable. For more information visit the department’s website.

Digital Farm Grants to boost the bush


The first round of the Digital Farm Grants program will provide $2.3 million to four successful applications, who have committed to matching the funding to provide a high-speed broadband service outside the current or planned National Broadband Network.

The scheme will extend services to more than 1100 farming enterprises across more than 37 000 square kilometres in the North Midlands and Great Southern, and the districts of Chapman Valley, Mount Barker, Wickepin and Goodlands, boosting agricultural output and creating jobs.

The Digital Farm Grants program is a $5 million State Government initiative, administered by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

The program has accelerated commercial investment by extending digital services throughout the regions, allowing farmers to adopt new technology essential for modern business.

A number of other projects are under active development and a further round of recipients is expected in coming months.

More information about successful projects is available at Digital Farm Grants webpage or email.

Featured staff member Ian Guthridge

Ian Guthridge, Manager of the Manjimup Horticultural Research Facility

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s Manjimup Horticultural Research Facility is home to a number of exciting research projects designed to boost industry transformation and economic growth.

A number of trials and studies are underway at the 105 hectare facility to grow the primary industries sector, including research on horticultural insect pests, disease resistance in wheat and projects on apples, plums, blueberries, cereals, pastures, viticulture and truffles.

Catering for such a diverse range of state and national research projects, requires precise and insightful management and leadership to ensure it meets the needs of both the projects and the staff involved.

Ian Guthridge, Manager of the Manjimup Horticultural Research Facility, has provided just that since he first took over the role in 2007 after working initially as a technical officer and completing his agricultural qualifications.

Ian (or Gus as he is affectionately known) initially started with the department in 1987, on a casual basis during university holidays, working with staff and producers who fuelled his passion towards a career in the agricultural sector.

Shortly afterwards, Ian applied for a technical officer position at the Manjimup facility and at the interview was asked to give some assurance that, if successful, he would stay at least two years.

Thirty years later, Ian is confident that he has fulfilled that commitment!

Ian said that hailing from a family farm in Nannup, the job was perfect as it enabled him to stay close to home and work on a wide range of projects across a number of sectors.

As a technical officer in the early days, Ian worked on fruit, vegetable, pasture and grains research projects.

As his career progressed he started to work more on-farm, mostly on beef and dairy projects focussing on pasture utilisation, and later pasture nutrition.

Ian found that working with producers to implement research findings into a ‘real’ farm environment which either solves a problem or leads to a more profitable enterprise, to be one of the most rewarding parts of his career.

In particular, this involved work with the dairy research team resulting in the establishment of the Greener Pastures project and a change in the way fertiliser is used on high rainfall pastures.

For the past 11 years as manager, Ian has overseen the facility’s technical service delivery teams and also plays a pivotal role in local agricultural emergency management situations, including the 2015 Northcliffe bushfires, which led him to work closely with the Northcliffe farming community.

“Although at the time it was stressful and challenging, upon reflection, I feel privileged to have been in a position to advocate for and provide some assistance to growers in such an incredibly resilient community, both during the incident and in the recovery phase,” Ian said.

In his spare time, Ian runs a small beef enterprise with his family on a farm that his grandfather cleared as a group settler. Ian has two granddaughters that live close by and relishes spending time with them, watching them grow up on the farm.

Ian said that he enjoys getting out on his property, away from the phone or email to do some fencing, seeding, or whatever job needs to be done to helps with his work life balance.

Reflecting on his career in the agricultural sector thus far, Ian said it was an enjoyable and rewarding experience and one that he looks forward to continuing.   

“Despite the usual challenges that management brings, I am fortunate to manage a great and enthusiastic team at Manjimup who always strive to deliver their project outcomes to the best of their ability,” he said.

Events, grants and scholarships

DPIRD supported events

E-commerce masterclasses (China and SE Asia), 28 (China) and 29 (SE Asia) August, South Perth

Food Industry Innovation will partner with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA and Austrade to design and offer two masterclasses aimed at providing education, tools and strategies to begin developing sales through one or more international e-commerce platforms via in-country distribution partners.

Apple & Pear Integrated Pest & Disease Management Workshops, 29 August 2018, Balingup  

The workshop highlights apple & pear pests and diseases and preparing for the 2018-19 season. 

Apple & Pear Integrated Pest & Disease Management Workshops, 30 August 2018, Walliston  

The workshop highlights apple & pear pests and diseases and preparing for the 2018-19 season. 

Dowerin Field Day, 29-30 August 2018, Dowerin

Exhibitors range from manufacturers and distributors of farm machinery and allied equipment, rural services, information technology to lifestyle and leisure products and services.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) will be at the DPIRD Shed at the Dowerin Field Days. Visitors can access the latest information on digital technology, mapping, resource management and biosecurity.

Newdegate Machinery Field Day, 5-6 September 2018, Newdegate

Machinery, technology and research, animals and livestock, outdoor and camping exhibits, arts, fashion, show bags, food and wine, local produce, live entertainment, and much more, form the basis of the two day event, which promotes and celebrates innovation in agriculture.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) will be at the DPIRD Shed at the Newdegate Field Days. Visitors can access the latest information on digital technology, mapping, resource management and biosecurity.

Biosecurity Blitz, 18-30 September 2018, Statewide

Biosecurity Blitz 2018 will give everyone an opportunity to discover and report to us as many interesting or damaging pests (animals, insects, diseases and weeds) as possible across Western Australia over a period of two weeks.

Grants - new this edition

Wine Export Grants, close May 2020

The Wine Export Grants are designed to support small to medium wine exporters in capturing export opportunities in China and the USA, by offering reimbursement grants for specific export promotion activities from January 2018. 

Grants - ongoing

Accelerating Commercialisation, no closing date provided

Accelerating Commercialisation, previously Commercialisation Australia, is focused on helping start-up companies commercialise new technology.

Advanced Production Systems Fund, no closing date provided

Hort Innovation is forging partnerships with top local and international researchers, innovators, commercial enterprises and Australian growers through a new and exciting multi-million dollar Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative – the Advanced Production Systems Fund.

Certain Inputs to Manufacture, no closing date provided

Provides Australian manufacturers importing chemicals, plastics, paper goods and metal materials, or goods used in food packaging, with duty-free tariff concessions to help reduce their importing costs.

CSIRO Kickstart, no closing date provided

CSIRO Kick-Start is a new initiative for innovative Australian start-ups and small SMEs, providing funding support and access to CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities to help grow and develop their business.

The program offers eligible businesses access to dollar-matched funding of $10,000-$50,000 to work with CSIRO to research into a new idea with commercial potential, develop a novel or improved product or process or test a novel product or material developed by the company.

Entrepreneurs’ Programme, no closing date provided

The Entrepreneurs’ Programme uses experienced Advisers and Facilitators, drawn from industry, to ensure businesses get the advice and support needed to improve their competitiveness, productivity and to seek growth opportunities.

Expert for a day, Expressions of Interest

Food and beverage manufacturing businesses are invited to register their interest to participate in Food Industry Innovation (FII) programs, which support Western Australian businesses working in the value-added premium food and beverage sector to better capture market opportunities and enhance business viability and growth opportunities.

Managing Farm Risk Programme, closes May 2019

Provides rebates for advice and assessments to help farmers prepare and apply for a new insurance policy that assists with the management of drought and other production and market risks.

New industries fund, rolled out over 4 years from 2018 

The State Government’s New Industries Fund, will allocate $4.5 million across the nine regions of Western Australia to support venture creation, accelerate small-medium enterprise growth and seed innovation initiatives.

Supplier Improvement Plan, no closing date provided

Provides tailored advice to help your business to develop a better understanding of your customer’s needs and requirements, increase your supplier capability, and improve your access to new and existing markets.


WA sheep industry scholarships, closes 31 October 2018

The WA sheep industry scholarship program is designed to support and encourage individuals who wish to pursue further study by addressing key industry questions relevant to the sheep industry supply chain in WA.

Combine agtech scholarships, undefined closing date.

Combine scholarships are open to agtech start-ups, from idea to late stage.

Supported by DPIRD and CBH, the scholarship offers start-ups businesses three months, free co-working space at a dedicated space in the Perth CBD. 

As part of the scholarship, entrepreneurs will also have access to a mentoring network to develop viable business products.