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New Zealand-based researcher wins award

February 16, 2005

New Zealand-based researcher wins Australian award

The success of a trans-Tasman research project benefiting graingrowers in New Zealand and Australia has been recognised with the presentation of the 2005 Grains Research and Development Corporation ‘Seed of Light’ Award to a New Zealand-based researcher whose dedication has developed strong links between growers and researchers in both countries, Nick Poole.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is Australia’s premier agricultural research organisation, directing grower and government funds in excess of $130 million each year to research projects aimed at improving production, farming techniques and social, economic and environmental outcomes.

The GRDC ‘Seed of Light’ Award recognises excellence in grains research and development communications, and was presented to Mr Poole today at the GRDC Research Update at the Adelaide Convention Centre by GRDC Southern Panel chairman Ian MacKinnon.

Mr Poole, employed by New Zealand’s Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) at Christchurch, is the leader of a GRDC project aimed at optimising economic yields by managing diseases in winter cereals produced in the high rainfall areas of New Zealand and Australia’s southern grain belt.

“Nick’s dedication is important to trans-Tasman collaboration in this project,” Mr MacKinnon said. “The strong links forged between FAR, GRDC and Australian farming systems groups are very much a result of his enthusiasm for achieving outcomes that benefit grain producers.

“Nick is a regular visitor to Australia’s southern grain belt and often appears at workshops, field days and GRDC updates to keep growers and other researchers informed. Data related to his research is reported and summarised by major farming systems groups such as Southern Farming Systems and the Birchip Cropping Group, both based in Victoria, and is also disseminated in the UK and Europe. He has provided valuable insight into the many potential techniques for managing disease in Australian cropping.

“Nick’s work in the use of fungicides and crop canopy management has great potential to improve disease management techniques and increase yields for growers in southern Australia and New Zealand.”

Mr MacKinnon said Mr Poole, while predominantly working with the GRDC, also advises colleagues at FAR on a range of projects including non-inversion agronomy and crop sequences.

Prior to joining FAR in January 2003, Mr Poole was technical director for Arable Research Centres (ARC) in the United Kingdom, where he oversaw a merger with the Morley Research centre and was responsible for overall research directives, management of trials teams, collation of research data and the extension of outcomes through the media.

“Research plays a vital role in improving grain production, and one of the most important aspects of research is to communicate research outcomes in a way that accelerates the adoption of better varieties and better practices by producers,” Mr MacKinnon said.

“Nick’s work, and importantly his enthusiasm in relating it to growers, has been a valuable contribution to grains research and it gives me great pleasure to present him with the 2005 GRDC ‘Seed of Light’ Award.”


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