Monthly Archives: July 2012

Debate wrap up for “Australian Cities Need Australian Farmers”

Last Thursday night 150 people braved the chilly night to see our Debate @ The Waite in the City on “Australian cities need Australian Farmers” held at the RiAus in Adelaide.

Thanks to the RiAus, we also had 25 people join us via livestream from all around Australia.

In a debate where the affirmative team had a clear advantage from the start, the negative team argued valiantly to persuade 10% of the audience to change their minds. However, this was not enough to prevent the affirmative team from winning on the night.

The WRI would like to thank our moderator, Dr Paul Willis from the RiAus and his staff for their help with running the evening, as well as out speakers for the evening:

Team for the Affirmative:
Prof Wayne Meyer, Chair of Natural Resource Science, University of Adelaide
Ms Deb Bain, CEO of FarmDay, Director of Australian Year of the Farmer, Farmer
Dr Doug Bardsley, Senior Lecturer, Geography, Environment and Population, University of Adelaide

Team for the Negative:
Prof Christopher Findlay, Executive Dean, Faculty of the Professions, University of Adelaide
Councillor David Plumridge AM, Deputy Lord Mayor, City of Adelaide
A Prof Wendy Umberger, School of Agriculture Food and Wine, University of Adelaide

To listen to the debate please click here (approx 1 hour, 22 Mb, mp3 format)

To see how the debate looked on Twitter please click here.

Prof Ed Buckler to speak on genomic diversity in maize and grape

This year’s Keith Finlay Lecture will be given by Professor Ed Buckler from the Institute for Genomics Diversity, USDA-ARS, Cornell University, USA on

“Uniting the world’s crop diversity for trait dissection and breeding: examples from maize and grape”

Maize and grape are two of the most diverse crops and species in the world.  This diversity is a tremendous resource for understanding the genetic basis of complex traits and for plant breeding in general.  However, it poses both a serious problem and substantial opportunity in relating these 10s of millions of variable sites to the complex traits they control.  Genomic technology has reduced costs by nearly 100,000-fold in the last few years, which is providing tremendous opportunities for these high diversity crops.  In maize, this variation is be related to important traits such a nutritional quality to local adaptation to hybrid vigor, while grape shows a similar potential if there is a greater focus on breeding and genetics.    The opportunities for deploying natural variation for a more sustainable and productive agriculture will be discussed.

Date/Time: Thursday 5th July 2012, 4 pm
Location: Plant Research Centre Auditorium, Waite Campus

The audience is invited to stay and talk with the speaker over drinks and finger food following the seminar.

For more information or to make an appointment with Prof. Buckler please contact

Details on Prof. Buckler’s interests and current work can be seen here:

Keith Warren Finlay was employed as the Senior Plant Breeder and Crop Geneticist at the Waite Campus of the University of Adelaide in 1955. During his time at the Waite (1955-1969), Finlay was responsible for building the reputation and scale of the Waite’s cereal breeding programs through his mechanical innovations and collection of large numbers of barley and wheat cultivars. After leaving the University, Finlay was the Deputy-Director General of the International Centre for the Improvement of Wheat and Maize influencing the development of plant breeding internationally. He died in 1980.