Rohan Brill with the NSW DPI, Wagga Wagga. "It is fairly applied research and actually communicating the outcomes to everyone from local farmers to agronomists around the region and even interstate,” he said.

Great thirst for ag knowledge

Lean years on the family farm didn't deter Rohan Brill from pursuing a career in agriculture

Rohan Brill is currently employed by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) at Wagga Wagga focused on canola research: but when he returned to the family farm near Ganmain after attending boarding school in Goulburn, he had not given a lot of thought to taking up a career on the land.

“We produced prime lambs but one of our biggest crops was sheaf hay for the local chaff industry in Ganmain which employed a lot of people in the town,” he remembers.

“Normally we cut around 120 hectares of sheaf hay each year with a binder.

“It doesn't seem like a lot but at ten hectares a day it certainly added up and it was quite manual with a lot of labour involved.

“I remember Dad and Pop cutting hay for three or four weeks and harvest would stretch out for eight to ten weeks.”

Nevertheless, it was that experience working alongside his father and grandfather which prompted Mr Brill in his decision to pursue a career in agriculture and he enrolled in a Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture), at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga.

Mr Brill said he would have liked to return to the family farm after graduation, but the drought was hard.

“There were a few lean years for a while and I had completed my studies and eventually I joined the NSW DPI about ten years ago,” he said.

“I was really keen at looking at agronomy research … I just had an insatiable appetite for knowledge.”

Upon graduation, he commenced as a Technical Officer in 2007: he soon became a Research Agronomist at the Trangie Agricultural Research Centre before taking on the NSW DPI District Agronomist position at Coonamble from 2008 to 2013.

“As district agronomist it was a bit more reactive, a bit more research and trial work but still going out to look at crops in paddocks,” Mr Brill said.

“It was quite good because I was learning about different systems and I’ve learnt a lot from the north especially with fallow weed management and I have brought that home with me.”  

In 2103 Mr Brill returned with the NSW DPI to Wagga Wagga and started to focus on canola research.

“It is fairly applied research and actually communicating the outcomes to everyone from local farmers to agronomists around the region and even interstate,” he said.

Mr Brill has also been involved with international discourse on canola research and his career choice has opened many doors.

He has presented at GRDC updates, the Australian Barley Technical Symposium in 2013, and agribusiness pre-season planning meetings.

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