- 1970 – Leaving Certificate (Electrical), Hamilton Technical School
- 1974 – Telecommunication Technician Certificate, PMG Department Melbourne
- 1997 – Community Support Facilitator and Community Development, CFA Craigieburn
- 2005 – Certified Practicing Agriculturist (CPAg), Australian Institute Agricultural Science and Technology
Protected Cropping Industry Qualifications
- Agribusiness Quality Assurance
- OH&S Assessment and Training
- Workplace Assessor
- Workplace Trainer
- Integrated Pest Management Training and Assessment
- Certified Practicing Agriculturist (CPAg)
- Risk Management Assessor
- Conflict Resolution
- Emergency Management Plan Developer and Assessor
- Accredited Member of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology
- Accredited Member of the Australian Association of Agricultural Consultants
- Principal Telecommunications Technical Officer
- Mediation and Facilitation Practitioner
- Community Development
- First Aid Certificate
- 1988–1997 Managed family greenhouse tomato enterprise (Woodend Hydroponics)
- 1995–1999 Secretary 'Hydroponic Farmers Federation' www.hff.org.au
- 1995–2005 Director of Hydroponic Designs Pty Ltd
- 1997–1999 Committee Member 'Australian Hydroponic and Greenhouse Association'
- 1997–2000 Community Support Facilitator for Country Fire Authority
- 1999–2012 Committee Member 'Hydroponic Farmers Federation' (ex officio)
- 1998–2012 Managing Director 'Graeme Smith Consulting': Crop advisory and agronomy services to greenhouse and hydroponic growers of vegetables, leafy greens and floriculture, etc.
- 1999–2010 President 'Australian Hydroponic and Greenhouse Association'
- 2010–2012 Chairman 'Protected Cropping Australia' www.protectedcroppingaustralia.com
- 2003–2012 Leader of greenhouse study tours to Holland, Belgium, Canada, North America and Mexico
- 2003–2012 Developed and delivered short-course training in 'Commercial Hydroponic Crop Production'
- 2005–2011 Chairman of 'Protected Cropping Working and Advisory Group' for Horticulture Australia Ltd (HAL) and AusVeg inc
- 2005–2010 Chairman of ISHS Soilless Culture Symposia Sessions in Singapore (ICESC2005 and 2010)
- 2007–2010 Developed and wrote full greenhouse industry training package (including 63 units of competency) in 'Production Horticulture – Controlled Environment Horticulture' for Certificate II (Horticultural Worker), to Certificate VI (Advanced Diploma), 'Pathway to Production, a skilling program for the Australian Protected Cropping Industry'
- 2007–2012 Developed 'Climate and Financial Study' packages for clients to assess business viability with ROI and EBIT studies (also investment attraction and marketing package).
- 2007–2012 Developed 'due diligence' studies into new and expanding industry projects through professional development of 'independent experts reports' to ensure projects can confidently meet projected production targets.
- 2009–2011 Chaired National Forum on 'Pesticide Residues in Hydroponics' for HAL Ltd and AusVeg Inc.
- 2009–2011 National project leader of series of growers workshops to deliver skills to convert from open (free-drainage) systems to closed (full recycling) systems, 'National Greenhouse Waste-Water Recycling Project'
- 2011–2012 Project leader in developing a 'Greenhouse Technical Management for the Future' diploma course for national delivery to main grower locations in Australia and other countries around the Pacific Rim.
- 2011–2012 Joined the 'National Horticulture Research Network' in countering the disinvestment in RandD that may impact negatively on the Australian protected cropping industry
- 2011–2012 Nominated as an 'Australian Ambassador' for the forthcoming IHC2014 Brisbane congress to progress the engagement of the protected cropping industry in this major international horticultural event
- 2011–2012 Negotiating with state Premiers and agencies on Coal Seam Gas mining to grant access rights for landholders to some of the energy (gas) for greenhouse horticultural and energy production (WA, VIC, QLD and NSW)
- 2011–2012 Negotiating with Dutch Embassy in Canberra to assist with a Trade Mission from the Netherlands in June 2012. Trade Mission to visit protected cropping enterprises in 3 states.
- 2012–2013 Attended ICESC in Shanghai and GroSci in Leiden Holland to sign up the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) Soilless Culture Symposia for Australia and be convener at the Gold Coast in 2015
- 2014 Tour Leader of Nth American Greenhouse Study Tour – Oct 2014 (Canada, California and Mexico)
- 2014 Supplied technical content to GOTAFE in Victoria to develop their Online course 'Certificate III Horticultural Production in Protected Cropping'
- 2014–2015 Co-Convenor for ISHS Soilless Culture Symposia 'ICESC2015 Hydroponics and Aquaponics at the Gold Coast' co-eventing with PCA biennial conference, bringing together the 'knowledge makers with knowledge users' for the first time globally
- 2015–2016 Appointed Chair of UWS Industry Consultative Committee overseeing the $3.3 million partnership with HIA to deliver an R&D and training glasshouse at the Hawkesbury, NSW campus
- 2015–2016 Partner in the iFarmGROUP to develop leafy green production systems fully automated from seed to truck
- 2015 Honoured congress guest speaker to Greenhouse Growers Conference in Toluca, Mexico
- 2015 Appointed Equity Partner and Greenhouse Horticultural Technical Advisor for Nectar Farms with plans for 40ha climate resilient glasshouses at both Stawell, Victoria and Oberon, NSW
- 2016 and 2017 Attended 'Indoor Ag-Con Asia' in Singapore assessing global vertical farms, plant factories and containerised systems
- 2017 Presented at Indoor Ag-Con Asia on a ‘Blueprint for Growth in Vertical Farms’
- 2017 Delivered the 22nd Australian Greenhouse Technical Management Course – a Masterclass in Protected Cropping’ that is presented in 3-4 Australian states each year.
- 2017 Delivered the 1st Greenhouse Technical Management Course in Pune India, with second delivered in October 2017 due to heavy demand by Indian industry
- 2017 Appointed Chairman of ISHS Working Group – ‘Hydroponics’ for next 4 years to promote and represent the society, support production of newsletters and stimulate global symposia on Hydroponics
System Design and Project Management
Graeme Smith Consulting has (beginning with Hydroponic Designs Pty Ltd), delivered over 40 protected cropping projects around Australia since 1995. These projects have largely delivered modern greenhouse food production systems ranging from 400m2 to 50,000m2 (5ha) in poly tunnels thru to modern glasshouses. Most food production projects involved full ROI and EBIT studies, system design, costings, project management, commissioning and ongoing crop advisory services.
Graeme Smith Consulting appreciates that project viability is keenly dependent on the ability to deliver a project safely, on-time, on-budget and to agreed technical specifications, and to also offer initial and ongoing crop support where required.
Successful system design demands an intimate knowledge of greenhouse plant physiology and environmental management and the available technologies and strategies to achieve this. A sound technical knowledge is required in the areas of greenhouse/glasshouse, growing systems, growing media's, irrigation, fertigation, climate management, energy management, crop selection and growing techniques, harvesting, grading and chain management, staff training and management, internal transport and automation systems, etc.
Some projects included are:
- Five hectare turnkey project for the Moraitis Group in Victoria (inc. glasshouse, seedling nursery, staff facilities, technology areas, office, toilets, grading and packaging areas, etc)
- Independent expert reports for the Costa Group to increase truss-tomato glasshouse facility in New South Wales (from 5 ha to 10 ha, then to 20 ha)
- Initial system design for the Waite Institute for the 'National Plant Phenomics' Facility in Adelaide
- Investment Attraction package for the Tasmanian Department of Economic Development to promote protected cropping opportunities in the states North Coast region with the advent of natural gas to the area.
- System Design and Project Management for New Life Industries Ltd in Tasmania for a modern 3ha capsicum glasshouse production facility
- System Design for a 2 ha modern glasshouse facility for Holla-Fresh Pty Ltd in South Australia to produce premium herbs in a moving-gulley automation system
- System Design for a 1 ha glasshouse facility for strawberry production in hanging gutters in Western Australia
- Climate and Financial studies for a range of international locations (inc. SALT Jordan, Singapore, Chennai India, Hong Kong, Balito South Africa and Las Vegas Nevada)
- System Design and Project Management for Biological Services in South Australia for a greenhouse beneficial insect breeding facility.
- System Design, Climate and Financial Study for proposed 'National Training Centre for Controlled Environment Horticulture', a national industry training facility to deliver training services to all greenhouse growers in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and other pacific rim countries.
- Appointed 'Project Manager' for the Urban Environmental Systems Australia (UESA) aquaculture and hydroponics project in Sydney, NSW. This UESA project to employ a range of innovative 'state of the art' systems to deliver a zero effluent and zero emissions fish and leafy greens production system that utilises organic principles, automation, robotics, gasification, solar energy and co-generation on a multi-level glasshouse production site.
- National Project Leader for a HAL initiative, 'Neutralising Pesticides in Recycled Water Systems Within a Protected Cropping System' to investigate commercial Australian leafy green NFT growing systems, their management practices and associated chemical spraying technologies and techniques.
- Co-authored with the Macquarie Franklin group to develop the report 'Protected Cropping and Agribusiness Park Opportunities in Tasmania' for the Tasmanian Department of Economic Development, Tourism and The Arts.
- Developed for Flavorite Hydroponic Tomatoes a 'Strategic Technology Investment Report' to investigate future enterprise growth and new technologies for their next 6ha development.
- Co-authored with Capital Insight and appointed 'Greenhouse Advisor', a feasibility study report for a potential 5 ha+ commercial greenhouse production facility to be sited on the University of Western Sydney Hawkesbury (NSW) campus.
- Developed an initial feasibility study for Boomaroo Nurseries (Lare, Victoria) for the commercial production of high-value and high quality vegetable production seedlings for the protected cropping industry.
- Developed an initial feasibility study for Bundaberg Brewed Drinks (QLD) for the greenhouse production of ginger with various production systems.
- Key greenhouse technical and industry consultant for Jacland Group on the proposed development of a 400 ha protected cropping precinct at Eynesbury (Woodhouse Station) in Victoria, ultimately delivering significant investment, employment and food security for Melbourne whilst sharing common labour, water, energy, freight and packing resources.
- Developed 'unnamed' groups of investors to develop new greenhouse projects in various Australian states consisting of 20ha, 16ha, 10ha, 10ha and 5ha modern greenhouse systems (total 61 ha)
- Appointed WHS Manager for Marias Farm Vegies 16ha greenhouse in Newcastle NSW that will ultimately develop to 32ha
- CEO of 'Australian Greenhouse Solutions' to deliver modern greenhouse projects to India and the Middle East with first project in Hyderabad India producing ginger, vine crops and leafy greens.
- Developed greenhouse feasibility study for HRH Prince Faisal for Royal Farm in Riyadh, KSA
- Performed local feasibility study for Northern Grampians Shire Council to attract greenhouse investors to Stawell VIC
- Developed the first commercial level global App 'Greenhouse Growers Toolbox' as a suite of calculators to assist existing and start-up greenhouse operators to better plan and design their production technologies
- Developed feasibility study for Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Sundrop Farms innovative 20 ha solar glasshouse development in Port Augusta, SA.
- Assisted UESL in onsite assessment, feasibility study and system design for 1.5 ha glasshouse in Hefei, China
- Upgraded IOS App ‘Greenhouse Growers Toolbox’ with 4 new calculators and all existing calculators enhanced.
- Provided inhouse practical and theoretical greenhouse training for staff of Rijk Zwaan Australia in Musk Victoria
- Contracted to Hexagon Tower (TIANJIN) Technology Co. LTD in Shanghai China as their ‘Vertical Farm Technical Advisor’ to assist in the design and production of a unique vertical farm for the hydroponic production of various leafy green vegetables
- Joined Future Farms in Chennai India as their greenhouse technical advisor and Business Head – Australia and Chief Technology Officer
- Appointed Greenhouse Technical Advisor – Food Ladder, to assist design and development of greenhouse food production systems for remote, impoverished and indigenous communities that currently includes: Katherine, NT, Ramingining, NT and 5 schools in New Delhi, India
- Contracted to Australian government Post Entry Quarantine plant production facility (PEQ) in Mickleham, Victoria to optimise and streamline their greenhouse facilities and work-practices to mitigate and safeguard plant biosecurity incursions into Australia.
- Sub-contracted to Macquarie Franklin on the Tasmanian Controlled Environment Agriculture Investment Project on behalf of the State Government of Tasmania's Economic Development Department.
- Appointed Project Director with the iFarmGROUP to develop a modern 5ha greenhouse system that is automated from ‘seed to truck’ using MGS automation, robotics and transplanters for the large-scale production of leafy green vegetables on behalf of Waranga Green Energy in Stanhope, Victoria.
- Developed industry assessment update for Boomaroo Nurseries in Lara, Victoria to consider a specialised seedling nursery (including grafting capability) for the Australian protected cropping industry.
- Appointed Director of ROOTS Technology to assist rollout of a range of unique technology options that includes direct heating and cooling of plant rootzone using ground loop and heat pump systems.
- Appointed Panel Member on the Horticultural Investment Australia (HIA) Expert Advisory Panel (EAP) Pollination Plus, to represent the national protected cropping industry to 'strengthen & support existing pollinators, mitigate and manage challenges to honey bees (e.g. varroa mite) and investigate new and novel
ways to pollinate Australian horticultural crops'.
- Contracted to Ministry of Presidential Affairs UAE, Abu Dhabi, as Greenhouse Technical Advisor to design and develop large-scale greenhouse systems in 5 gulf nations to deliver national food security, employment and regional investment.
Published Works (1995–2017)
- Location, Siting and Layout of Greenhouse Systems
- Greenhouse Structures and Environmental Management
- Water Quality, EC and pH
- Basic Hydroponic Systems and Components
- Crop Varieties, Media Types and Characteristics
- Plant Structure, Nutrition and Nutrient Management
- Common Greenhouse Pests and Diseases and IPM
- Quality Assurance, OHandS, I.T. and Production Plan
- Light, a plants eye view
- Irrigation, growing media's manager
- Crop Registration, professional approach to growing
- Plant Management, physical and cultural requirements
- Recirculation, how to convert to a closed system
- CO2 enrichment of greenhouses
- Practical EC and pH Measurements in Crops
- Implement a Hydroponic Maintenance Program
- Implement a Plant Establishment Program
- Implement a Pest and Disease Control Program for Hydroponic Systems
- Implement an IPM Program
- New Greenhouse Investment and Technology Considerations
- Implement a Plant Monitoring Program
- Introduction to Plant Physiology, Monitoring and Management
- Nutrient Uptake Influences
- Seedling Propagation Management
- Acid and Chlorine Sterilisation Worksheet
- Dripper timing Calculations
- Environmental Settings: Summer and Winter Plantings
- Field versus Glasshouse Tomatoes
- Greenhouse Management Program for Closed Systems
- Rootstock Power and Options
- Relative Humidity vs. Humidity Deficit
- Basic Greenhouse Crop Protection Principles
- Greenhouse Climate Management Influence examples
- Greenhouse Cooling – Negative Pressure Effect
- Greenhouse Environment Management
- Identifying Plant and Fruit Problems
- Influence of Greenhouse Temperature
- Initial Greenhouse Crop Targets
- Maximising Greenhouse Efficiency and Energy Conservation
- Nutrient Deficiency Chart
- Plant Photosynthesis and Temperature Relationships
- Plant Transpiration Principles
- Plant Vigour and Balance Chart
- Rockwool Water-Content Steering
- Summer Vegetative Treatments for Greenhouse Tomatoes
- Spray System for Greenhouse Crops
- Treatment Spray Chart for Greenhouse Crops
- Typical Nutrient Feed Solutions for Greenhouse Vegetables
- Understanding Irrigation in Protected Cropping and Soilless Culture
- Greenhouse Ventilator and Heating Set-points
- Water Content Monitoring – Overfeeding in Period 2
- Managing Plant Balance
- Potential for New Biospheric Greenhouse Industry in Victoria
- The Case for Devonport
- AHGA Bumblebee Application – Executive Summary
- Where is the Best Place to Grow Greenhouse Crops in Australia?
- Overview of the Australian Protected Cropping Industry
- Radiation Transmission Thru Greenhouse Claddings
- Maintenance Program for Closed Hydroponic Systems
- Operating Pressurised Irrigation Systems
- Crop Registration and Plant Balance
- A critical assessment of greenhouse technology
- Future Gazing – emerging technologies in the global commercial greenhouse sector
- Greenhouse Environment Management
- NFT Systems
- Bridging the divide between science and commercial greenhouse practice in the use of parameters and their units
- Controlled Climate Production Systems
- Vertical Farms and PFAL
- A Blueprint for Growth in Vertical Farms
- Fundamental Principles Behind Effective Greenhouse Management
- Greenhouse Technology Future Gazing for Bendigo Food & Fibre Centre
- 2006 – Winner – Most Outstanding Contribution to the State Industry (HFF biennial conference)
- 2007 – Winner – Most Outstanding Contribution to the National Industry (national AHGA biennial Conference)
- 2008 – Final 3 – Industry Award (AusVeg Annual Conference)
- 2009 – Final 3 – Industry Award (AusVeg Annual Conference)
- 2012 – Life Membership, Protected Cropping Australia (PCA)
- 2013 – Anita Boucher Award for Best Industry Presentation (IPPS)
- 2014 – Life Membership, Hydroponic Farmers Federation (HFF)
- 2015 – ISHS Achievement Medal
- 2017 – PCA Industry Training Award
Industry Association Memberships
- President – Australian Hydroponic and Greenhouse Association (AHGA) 1999–2010
- Chairman – Protected Cropping Australia (PCA) 2010–2012
- Board Director – PCA 2012–2015
- Chairman – Protected Cropping Working & Advisory Group (HAL and AusVeg) 2008–2011
- Ex officio – Hydroponic Farmers Federation (HFF) (1995–2015, committee member for 20 years)
- Member – International Society Horticultural Science (ISHS)
- Member – International Society Horticultural Science Commission for Substrates and Soilless Culture
- Member – International Society Horticultural Science Commission for Protected Cultivation
- Member – Australian Association Agricultural Consultants (AAAC)
- Member – Australian Institute Agricultural Science and Technology (AIAST)
- Committee and Victorian State Representative – Australian Society for Horticultural Science (AuSHS)
Current Positions Held (as at October 2017)
- Director – ROOTS Technology
- Member – HIA Expert Advisory Panel Pollination Plus
- Director – iFarmGROUP
- Chairman – Western Sydney University (WSU) R&D Glasshouse Industry Consultative Committee
- Member – WSU Education Committee
- Technical Advisor (Southern Hemisphere) – Hydro-Garden, UK
- Technical Advisor and Director Australian Operations– Future Farms, Chennai, India
- Technical Advisor – Hexagon Tower (TIANJIN) Technology Co. Ltd, Shanghai, China
- Technical Advisor – UESL, Hefei, China
- Technical Advisor – Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Abu Dhabi, UAE
- Technical Advisor – PEQ, Mickleham, Victoria
- Technical Advisor – Food Ladder
- Chairman – ISHS Working Group – 'Hydroponics'
"The CEFC was extremely happy with the quality of the report provided which was delivered to the required timeframe. We found our interaction with you to be very professional and were very impressed with the depth of your knowledge in the industry."
Rory Lonergan, Director Corporate and Project Finance, Clean Energy Finance Corporation
"I really wanted to thank you for an outstanding and thorough report. I know CEFC, CBA and NAB only had positive comments on the in-depth nature of your report"
Philipp Saumweber, CEO Sundrop Farms, Port Augusta SA
"We would like to take this opportunity to formally thank you for the key role you have played in helping us commercialise our unique technology. We appreciate the depth of experience you have brought to helping us, and also acknowledge your role in bringing key contractors and technology providers to our project therefore we recognise you have made a major contribution in helping us bring our technology to market."
Andrew Bodlovich, Director Blue Farms, Urban Ecological Systems Ltd, Cobbitty NSW
- Rick Donnan (Growool Horticultural Systems) – 0403 971 769, firstname.lastname@example.org
(past president 'International Society for Soilless Culture' and AHGA)