Award-winning research scientist has finger on the pulse

Jason Brand uses his passion for pulses to inform award-winning research that benefits growers and agronomists.

Next time you enjoy a meal with lentils, chickpeas or faba beans, think about how those pulses made it to your plate.

It’s highly likely Dr Jason Brand was involved with their development in some way.

Jason is a research scientist at Agriculture Victoria’s Grains Innovation Park in Horsham. Having a passion for growing and eating pulses, it's no surprise he is the long-standing leader of the Southern Pulse Agronomy Program, a collaboration between Agriculture Victoria and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), across South Australia and Victoria.

Jason already has an extensive research career behind him, but work isn’t just limited to the lab or the office. He’s well-known and celebrated for his extension work, regularly leading field days, workshops and industry updates.

This is a huge part of his role, communicating research on new pulse varieties and agronomy to growers and industry, enabling growers to make more informed and profitable crop management decisions.

Jason describes his favourite parts of the role as the conversations with growers and agronomists and building and maintaining relationships with industry.

“To be able to walk with agronomists and farmers through crops and research trial plots and solve problems together has always been a passion,” he says.

“I love being able to make a real difference to agriculture, increasing profitability, while improving the way we manage and look after the land.”

Growers and advisers in the industry have benefited greatly from his dedication, enthusiasm and expertise.

Jason also mentors new students, sharing his wisdom on the importance of understanding farming systems and of working with growers and agronomists to ensure their research is relevant and can be easily accessed.

Jason’s career path in agricultural research began at an early age, attending Urrbrae Agricultural High School after growing up in the southern suburbs of Adelaide before studying at the University of Adelaide where he completed his PhD in agricultural science in 1999.

When Jason moved to Horsham and joined Agriculture Victoria in 2000 there were only three trial sites as part of the Southern Pulse Agronomy Program. Now there are 27 trial sites, 130 trials and 9000 pots across two states.

Jason was recently awarded the 2021 David Roget Award for Excellence by Mallee Sustainable Farming. This award recognises an individual, business or group who has made a significant contribution to dryland farming production systems in the Mallee Sustainable Farming region. In 2019 Jason was awarded the Grains Research and Development Corporation Seed of Light, acknowledging outstanding effort in the extension of outcomes from GRDC grains research investments.

“It is an honour to receive these awards and recognition of the importance of pulses to the profitability of modern farming systems.

“But mostly I am honoured to work alongside many innovative and passionate people throughout the whole agriculture industry,” Jason said.

Learn more about Agriculture Victoria’s pulses program.

Follow Southern Pulse Agronomy on Twitter.