Steven Simpfendorfer

Research interests

  • Integrated disease management in winter cereals
  • Incorporation of crown rot resistance into durum wheat
  • Extension of disease management options in the northern region


Dr Simpfendorfer is based at the Tamworth Agricultural Institute where he leads research and extension programs on the integrated management of winter cereal diseases in northern NSW.

Dr Simpfendorfer has been employed as a Plant Pathologist at Tamworth since 2001 and was previously with NSWDPI at Wagga Wagga as a soil microbiologist from 1997-2000. Specific responsibilities of his current position include: conducting a research program relating to the management of Fusarium diseases of barley and wheat in northern farming systems and extending findings to support growers and agronomists in understanding and managing crown rot and other winter cereal diseases.

He also co-ordinates a labour intensive disease screening program aimed at increasing the resistance of durum wheat varieties to crown rot in collaboration with the National Durum Breeding Program. In recent seasons the research and extension role has extended to supporting growers in managing emerging or re-emerging diseases such as stripe and leaf rust and Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus in central and northern NSW.


  • B.App.Sc (Hons 1). 1993. Charles Sturt University.
  • PhD. 1999. Charles Sturt University.

Current projects

  • DAN00143: Northern NSW Integrated Disease Management
  • DAN00122: Durum Industry Development - Fast tracking genetic solutions to crown rot (Phase 2)

Recent publications

Eighteen peer reviewed research publications. Recent papers include:

Eberhard FS, Zhang P, Lehmensiek A, Hare RA, Simpfendorfer S, Sutherland MW (2010) Chromosome composition of an F2 Triticum aestivum x T. turgidum spp. Durum cross analysed by DArT markers and MCFISH. Crop & Pasture Science 61: 619-624.

Devadas R, Lamb DW, Simpfendorfer S, Backhouse D (2009) Evaluating ten spectral vegetation indices for identifying rust infection in individual wheat leaves. Precision Agriculture 10: 459-470.

Akinsanmi OA, Backhouse D, Simpfendorfer S, Chakraborty S (2008) Mycelial compatibility reactions of Australian Fusarium graminearum and F. pseudograminearum isolates compared with AFLP groupings. Plant Pathology 57: 251-261.

Akinsanmi OA, Chakraborty S, Backhouse D, Simpfendorfer S (2007) Passage through alternative hosts changes the fitness of Fusarium graminearum and Fusarium pseudograminearum. Environmental Microbiology 9: 512-520.

Chakraborty S, Liu CL, Mitter V, Scott JB, Akinsanmi OA, Ali S, Dill-Macky R, Backhouse D, Simpfendorfer S (2006) Pathogen population structure and epidemiology are keys to wheat crown rot and Fusarium head blight management. Australasian Plant Pathology 35: 643-655.

Akinsanmi OA, Backhouse D, Simpfendorfer S, Chakraborty S (2006) Pathogenic variation of Fusarium isolates associated with head blight of wheat in Australia. Journal of Phytopathology 154: 513-521.

Mitter V, Francl LJ, Ali S, Simpfendorfer S, Chakraborty S (2006) Ascosporic and conidial inoculum of Gibberella zeae play different roles in Fusarium head blight and crown rot of wheat in Australia and the USA. Australasian Plant Pathology: 35: 441-452.

Akinsanmi OA, Backhouse D, Simpfendorfer S, Chakraborty S (2006) Genetic diversity of Australian Fusarium graminearum and F. pseudograminearum. Plant Pathology 55: 494-504.

Tan MK, Simpfendorfer S, Backhouse D, Murray GM (2004). Occurrence of Fusarium head blight (FHB) in southern NSW in 2000: identification of causal fungi and determination of putative chemotype of Fusarium graminearum isolates by PCR. Australasian Plant Pathology 33: 385-392.

Kirkegaard JA, Simpfendorfer S, Holland J, Bambach R, Moore KJ, Rebetzke GJ (2004). Effect of previous crops on crown rot infection and yield of wheat in northern NSW. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 55: 321-334.

Simpfendorfer S, Kirkegaard JA, Heenan DP, Lindbeck KD, Murray GM (2004) Impact of tillage on lupin growth and the incidence of pathogenic fungi in southern NSW. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 44: 53-56.

Akinsanmi OA, Mitter V, Simpfendorfer S, Backhouse D, and Chakraborty S (2004)  Identity and pathogenicity of Fusarium spp. isolated from wheat fields in Queensland and northern New South Wales. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 55: 97-107.

Simpfendorfer S, Kirkegaard JA, Heenan DP, Wong PTW (2002) Reduced early growth of direct drilled wheat in southern New South Wales: Role of root inhibitory pseudomonads. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 53: 323-331.

Simpfendorfer S, Kirkegaard JA Heenan DP and Wong PTW (2001) Involvement of deleterious rhizobacteria in the poor early growth of direct drilled wheat: studies in intact cores. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 52: 845-853.

Simpfendorfer S, Harden TJ, Murray GM (2001). Effect of temperature and pH on the in vitro growth and sporulation of Phytophthora clandestina. Australasian Plant Pathology 30: 1-5.

Simpfendorfer S, Harden TJ (2000). Effect of calcium on the growth and virulence of Phytophthora clandestina. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 40: 47-52.

Simpfendorfer S, Harden TJ, Murray GM (1999). The in vitro inhibition of  Phytophthora clandestina by some rhizobia and the possible role of Rhizobium trifolii in biological control of Phytophthora root rot of subterranean clover. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 50: 1469-1473.

Simpfendorfer S, Harden TJ, Murray GM (1996). Viability and pathogenicity of Phytophthora clandestina after storage in water and liquid nitrogen. Australasian Plant Pathology 25: 234-239.

Professional associations and activities

  • Member, Australasian Plant Pathology Society

Fields of research

  • 070308  Crop and Pasture Protection (Pests, Diseases and Weeds)
  • 070305  Crop and Pasture Improvement (Selection and Breeding)
  • 060704  Plant Pathology

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Cereal plant pathology
  • Wheat and barley diseases
  • Crown rot
  • Cereal rusts (Stripe rust, leaf rust)
  • Integrated disease management