New Chair in Plant Breeding a major industry investment

Monday, 9 August 1999

The future of South Australia's cereal crop industry is in excellent hands with the appointment of a new Chair in Plant Breeding at the University of Adelaide, Professor Andrew Barr (Department of Plant Science).

The Chair has been sponsored by South Australian Co-operative Bulk Handling (SACBH) for the next five years, representing a significant investment by industry to ensure the State remains at the leading edge of research into cereal breeding.

SACBH Chief Executive Mr John Murray says the investment will assist in the development of new South Australian plant varieties, as well a providing a focus for training in plant breeding. Professor Barr will additionally be responsible for devising strategies for the commercialisation of new varieties bred at the University.

As part of the sponsorship, SACBH has become an equity holder in the South Australian Barley Improvement Program, which breeds malting, feed and hulless varieties for south eastern Australia.

"The SACBH Chair in Plant Breeding will provide an important career path for plant breeders, and it signals to students that SA farming and agribusiness sectors regard breeding programs as fundamental to our future," Mr Murray says.

"Developing new plant varieties and embracing innovation will undoubtedly deliver benefits across the wider community in the years ahead."

"This is a major new link between the University of Adelaide and a most important industry for Australia's future," says Vice-Chancellor Professor Mary O'Kane.

"With Professor Barr's expertise being brought to this new position, I'm convinced that the University's excellent national and international reputation in plant breeding research and teaching will grow even stronger."


A corporate objective of South Australian Co-operative Bulk Handling (SACBH) ­ a top performing company in the State ­ is to improve SA's grain production base.

Significantly, the SACBH Chair of Plant Breeding will provide a focus for training in Plant Breeding at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It will capitalise on the CRC for Molecular Plant Breeding initiatives and ensure that the next generation of breeders serving SA's field crop and pasture industries will have the best possible training.


Professor Andrew Barr gained a degree in Agricultural Science at the University of Adelaide in 1976 and was awarded his PhD in Agricultural Science in 1994.

His career began in 1977 as an Oat Breeder in the SA Department of Agriculture and SARDI, and in November 1993 he became a Principal Plant Breeder for SARDI. In September 1994 he joined the University of Adelaide as a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Plant Science, where he heads the Barley Breeding Program. He has bred 11 oat varieties and contributed to the breeding of five barley varieties.

Professor Barr has extensive knowledge of plant breeding, plant breeders' rights, plant variety patents, commercialisation of plant varieties and world markets for barley and oats. During his time with the University of Adelaide, Professor Barr has built upon University's proud tradition in barley breeding by incorporating new biotechnologies and expanding its scope, size and objectives, to ensure that it will provide a springboard into the future for SA's barley industry.


Contact Details

Ms Alexia Deegan
The University of Adelaide
SACBH Communications Manager
Business: +61 8 8313 6553

Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762