New faces at Katherine Research Station

Gretel Bailey Preston, Jo Miller and Melissa Wooderson stand under a tree at Katherine Research Station

Jo Miller

I started my role of pastoral extension officer with the Department of Primary Industry and Resources (DPIR) in mid-July this year, joining the livestock industries team based out of the Katherine Research Station. I grew up on a mixed farming property in Central West New South Wales (NSW) and completed a Bachelor of Livestock Science at the University of New England. Since graduating I have held various beef/livestock extension positions within Queensland and Central NSW. While I have not lived in the Territory before, both my husband and I are no strangers to the Top End, having been on a number of trips for both work and pleasure.

I have a keen interest in beef cattle production, particularly reproduction and nutrition, as well as transferring research outcomes into practical on-ground applications.

I would like to encourage all those working in the pastoral industry, as well as the broader agriculture industry, to engage with myself and other DPIR staff. We are here to assist you and provide knowledge, information, events and support across all facets of your beef business. If you have a thought, idea or a burning questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

I look forward to meeting and working with you.

Jo Miller, Pastoral extension officer, Katherine
Tel: 08 8973 9730 Mob: 0417 890 200 Email:

Gretel Bailey-Preston

My name is Gretel Bailey-Preston and I started work with DPIR in Katherine based out of the research station with the Livestock Industries team in mid-October, 2018. I am originally from central NSW and have been in the Territory for four and a half years, including Katherine for three of those. I am about to graduate with honours in a Bachelor of Rural Science with the University of New England, which I have done by distance education. I have also worked on Northern Australian cattle stations for three years, which has provided me with practical skills and a deep understanding of the northern cattle industry.

At the moment I am currently spending the majority of my time managing the day to day logistics of the phosphorus (P) progeny pen trial. This trial involves 60 Brahman weaners that were derived from cows involved in the Kidman Springs P trial, with half of the weaners born from cows with adequate P during pregnancy and half born from cows depleted in P during pregnancy. For approximately the last 10 weeks these weaners were randomly allocated to either a high or low P diet and fed daily, with their growth and weight gain monitored weekly. So far all the weaners on the P diet are increasing in weight. Relative to the low P group, the weaners on the high P diet are showing increased weight gains. Although interestingly, and despite being of similar age, the weaners born from cows depleted in P have not displayed as much compensatory growth as expected. The trial will be completed in early December and it will be very interesting to see the final results showing the impact of P on growth and development of young Bos Indicus cattle.

Gretel Bailey-Preston, Pastoral technical officer, Katherine
Tel: 08 8973 8431 Email:

Melissa Wooderson

I started as a technical officer for DPIR in Katherine based out of the research station with the Livestock Industries team in October this year. I came to Katherine from Charters Towers in north Queensland, where I had worked for a number of years in the Animal Health and Welfare division of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

I grew up on my grandfather’s small beef property in south-east Queensland and completed a Bachelor of Applied Science at the University of Queensland, Gatton. I am also currently undertaking a Masters degree. The main focus of my study is to explore the effect of analgesia and haemostasis on beef calves during dehorning in northern Australia.

My new role with the Katherine livestock team is to assist with research trials, and I feel very lucky to be a part of a team that is working towards the continued development of the northern beef industry through increased knowledge and innovation. Melissa Wooderson, Pastoral technical officer, Katherine
Phone: 08 88973 8476 Email:

Last updated: 30 April 2020

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