Narrabri Virtual Field Day

2 November 2020
Presented by Sydney Institute of Agriculture and the Plant Breeding Institute
In lieu of a physical Field Day in 2020, the team at Narrabri have prepared a series of videos that highlight the research they are currently undertaking.


An introduction to the 2020 University of Sydney Narrabri Virtual Field Day by Professor Richard Trethowan, Director, IA Watson Grains Research Centre, Narrabri.

Wheat history

Associate Professor Guy Roth discusses a range of historical wheat varieties spanning across 120 years of wheat breeding.

Heat tolerant wheat

Presented by Dr Rebecca Thistlethwaite, Postdoctoral Research Associate. Highlights how plant breeding is being adapted to protect future food production in a changing climate.

New AGT wheat & barley varieties for the northern region

Presented by Douglas Lush, Manager, Marketing & Seed Production, Northern NSW and QLD at Australian Grain Technologies (AGT)

Taking field measurements in faba bean

Presented by Erasmus Kirii, PhD candidate, featuring a demonstration of field work being carried out in faba bean plant breeding trials at the Plant Breeding Institute, Narrabri.

Faba bean breeding for northern New South Wales and southern Queensland

Presented by Kedar Adhikari, Senior Lecturer in Grain Legume Biology, highlighting major constraints and how the breeding program is working to overcome the challenge of developing better varieties.

Effect of faba bean and chickpea row spacing on common sowthistle

Presented by Linda Heuke, Technical Officer, Precision Weed Control Group. Outlining early experiments that suggest common sowthistle can be managed effectively by planting faba bean and chickpea at narrow row spacing.

Heat tolerance in chickpea

Presented by Cara Jeffrey, PhD candidate, who explains her project breeding heat tolerant germplasm of chickpea.

Balancing productivity and environmental management in beef cattle production

Presented by Dr Juan Molfino, Research Officer and Kate McCarthy, North West Local Land Services Officer. This video outlines how information from a walk-over weight station may benefit producers.

Soils of Llara farm

Presented by Vanessa Pino, Postdoctoral Researcher in Soil Spatial Ecology, revealing the impacts of droughts and land uses on soil microbial diversity and activity during decomposition.

Hybrid Wheat

Postgraduate student Isobella Revell discusses the benefits of a brand new, completely genetic hybrid wheat seed produced by the University of Sydney.

Indian mustard

Indian mustard is a hardy crop, well-suited to the climatic conditions of Northern NSW. This project aims to develop an Indian mustard industry for the express purpose of industrialising regional Australia to improve local business stability and diversity, local professional employment and educational opportunities.

View the Prime7 News report here.

Mustard plant closeup

Summer chickpea

Starting with a brainwave whilst selecting chickpeas for heat tolerance, the concept of growing chickpeas in the off-season (late January to late May) was tested in 2019. After yielding incredibly well despite the worst drought on record, the trial was repeated in 2020 under lush and mild growing conditions. 

Here are the results

Angela Pattison in the field

Native grains

Prior to growing wheat, barley, chickpeas and canola, millions of acres of native grains were used to make a type of bread (dhuwarr) by the Gamilaroi people. The grain of Mitchell grass, kangaroo grass and other native grasses are highly nutritious and have the potential to be used again in landscape renewal, and reconnect Aboriginal people and country to modern food production.


Funding and support for this research was received from the following agencies:

GRDCThe Australian Government National Landcare ProgramARCMLALLSNACRACRCAGTLegumes for Sustainable AgricultureWheat Research FoundationSIAPBIFaculty of Science, University of Sydney.