Invited Speakers

Hugh S. Bradlow is President of the Australian Academy of Technology and engineering. He is also a independent Non-Executive Director of Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd.

He was previously Chief Technology Officer and Head of Innovation at Telstra, responsible for the R&D of new technologies and their introduction into Telstra’s business. Subsequently he became Chief Scientist at Telstra, in which role he advised the Telstra Board and management on the longer term technology directions and technology disruption anticipated to impact Telstra and its customers.

Before joining Telstra in September 1995, Professor Bradlow was Professor of Computer Engineering at the University of Wollongong in Australia and Professor of Electrical Engineering (Digital Systems) at the University of Cape Town.

Professor Bradlow is a graduate in electrical engineering from the University of Cape Town in 1973 and received the D.Phil. degree for research in experimental nuclear physics from the University of Oxford. He is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Wollongong, a Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne, and a recipient of a Centenary Medal from the Commonwealth of Australia.

He is globally recognised as a thought leader in telecommunications and was elected as the joint 2009 Australian Telecommunications Ambassador of the Year, named by Global Telecom Business as one of the most 100 most influential telecommunications executives in the world and Smart Company designated him as one of the 12 most influential people in Australian ICT.

Dr. Patricio Grassini is an Associate Professor of Agronomy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and a fellow of the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute and the Center for Great Plains Study. Patricio earned a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering from University of Buenos Aires (Argentina) and a Ph.D. in Agronomy from UNL in 2010.

He has authored 56 papers published in peer-review journals, including top-tier journals such as Nature Communications, PNAS, BioScience, Environmental Research Letters, and Global Change Biology, 8 book chapters and FAO reports, and many extension publications. His research interests center on crop yield potential, yield-gap analysis, resource- and energy-use efficiency in cropping systems, and crop modeling.

Patricio’s research covers a diverse range of cropping systems, including rainfed crops in Argentina and Sub-Saharan Africa and high-yield irrigated crops in the U.S. Corn Belt and South-East Asia. A major on-going project is to develop a Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity Atlas ( that provides estimates of gaps between actual and potential yield for major cropping systems as well as crop water productivity.

Dr Grassini is also leading a project to benchmark on-farm yields and input-use efficiency of maize-soybean systems in the US Corn Belt, a USDA-NIFA project on N footprint, and a third project on yield forecasting. Dr. Grassini was recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and other three fellowships and six awards, including the Agronomy Society of America (ASA) Early Career Award and UNL Junior Faculty Excellence in Research Award. Patricio also serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Field Crops Research and Global Food Security journals.

He also serves as a member of the Science Advisory Council of Field to Market. Patricio is the elected Chair of the Crop Science Society of America C3 Crop Ecology Division for the 2019 term.

Dr Kristy Hobson is the national chickpea breeder and leader of the Pulse Breeding Australia (PBA) Chickpea program, based at the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Tamworth. Kristy has a B Ag Sci and PhD from the University of Melbourne. She has authored 11 papers published in peer-review journals and 3 book chapters. Her research efforts have focussed on the biotic and abiotic constraints to pulse production in Australia.

Kristy has been a part of the Australian pulse research community since 2000 and has worked both in the southern and northern cropping regions. She has been involved in the release of 17 chickpea varieties (11 desi and 6 kabuli) for Australian growers, with 11 being released whilst she has been the leader of the national breeding program (since 2011). The PBA Chickpea program aims to improve yield reliability, stability and profitability of Australian chickpea varieties. It breeds both desi and kabuli type for the major Australian chickpea growing regions.

Kristy has involvement in a large number of chickpea pre-breeding projects which address traits such as ascochyta blight, phytophthora root rot and reproductive chilling tolerance. The use of chickpea wild relatives has been a major breeding strategy to overcome these constraints.

Hon Michael McCormack MP, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Leader of The Nationals & Federal Member for Riverina.

Michael McCormack has lived and worked in the Riverina region all of his life.  He was elected as The Nationals’ Member for Riverina 2010 and has held the roles of Parliamentary Secretary to the Mini ster for Finance, Assistant Minister to Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, Assistant Minister for Defence, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel and i n February 2018 Michael was elected the 14th Leader of The Nationals and was sworn in as Australia’s 18th Deputy Prime Minister as well as the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development.

Prior to entering Parliament, Michael began professional life with a journalism cadetship with The Daily Advertiser newspaper in Wagga Wagga in 1981.  He became editor at the age of 27, making him the youngest person appointed to edit of a daily newspaper in Australia at the time.

Michael later co-founded a media and publishing small business in Wagga Wagga, which he owned and operated in partnership until he was elected to Parliament.

Michael is also a keen sportsman with interests in horse racing, Australian football, Rugby League and cricket, a sport which he still regularly plays – MP commitments permitting – with Wagga Wagga’s St Michael’s Cricket Club. He is a life member of the Harlequins Hockey Club.

Michael has been married to Catherine for 33 years and they have three children.

As a community advocate over the decades, Michael i s proud to be the Riverina’s voice in Federal Parliament.

Jose Jimenez-Berni (Berni) is a research scientist at the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (IAS) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) in Cordoba (Spain). Berni studied Agriculture Engineering and earned a PhD from the University of Cordoba (Spain) in 2009. From 2010 to 2017 he worked in different positions with CSIRO in Canberra, where he ended as Team Leader at the High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre.

Berni’s work has been focused on the use of emerging technologies for monitoring biophysical parameters of plants and its application in agriculture.  His experience spans across multiple crops and farming systems (tree orchards, horticulture, cereals), technologies (thermal, hyperspectral, LiDAR), scales (ground, aerial, satellite) and applications (irrigation management, plant breeding, crop modelling).

His current work focuses on studying Mediterranean farming systems to propose strategies for sustainable intensification through a multidisciplinary approach that integrates innovative tools such as phenomics, crop simulation models, machine learning algorithms as well as remote and proximal sensing technologies.

Dr Julianne Lilley is Group Leader in the Soil and Plant Modelling team within CSIRO Agriculture and Food which develops and uses crop, pasture and livestock models in a farming systems context for application in agricultural research across Australia and internationally. Julianne is a crop scientist with over 25 years research experience in crop physiology and has authored 45 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Her research has included climate change impacts, crop root system function, crop water-use efficiency, whole-farm productivity and resource protection. She applies crop physiological understanding embedded within crop simulation models to expand the outcomes of experiments and draw robust conclusions about the impacts of agricultural management decisions.
She is currently involved in projects investigating farm management practices which optimise profitability of canola, and developing the Yield Gap Australia website, understanding canola phenology and improving the APSIM-Canola model. She has current international collaborations with scientists working on aspects of physiological inputs to crop models in France, Germany, UK, and Canada.
She was also a member of the GRDC (Grains Research and Development Corporation) funded National Water-Use Efficiency Initiative team, which was awarded a CSIRO Medal for Research Impact and the prestigious Eureka Prize for Sustainable Agriculture in 2014.


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, Charles Sturt University

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