Three researchers or research projects partially funded by growers through the GRDC have been honoured by awards for their contributions to the Australian grains industry.
The Sir Tan McLennan Achievement for Industry award this year went to the team led by Jonathan Banks at the CS1RO Division of Entomology Stored Grain Research Laboratory in Canberra. Presenting the award, Alex Dix, Chairman of the NSW Science and Technology Council, said the team had succeeded magnificently in keeping grain free from insect attack after harvest, thus helping to keep the Australian grain storage industry in the forefront of world technology.
Ground Cover reported on the team's work, particularly its role in the move towards sealed silos and controlled atmospheres and away from pesticide protectants, in Issue 3.
Dr Banks estimated that the research effort has been worth more than $8 million annually to the export wheat market with its increasingly strict standards for pesticide residues. The work has saved growers an additional $10 million annually over the 20-year life of the laboratory, by dropping pest control costs and ensuring crops are marketable.
Dr Banks' colleague. Bob Winks, also scooped up a 1993 CSIRO medal for his development of the SIROFLO (R) technique for fumigation of large grain storages, which allows residue-free bulk handling, keeping Australia in the front rank of grain exporters.
Meanwhile in Queensland, sorghum breeder Bob Henzell was honoured for his work on developing midge resistant sorghums. Dr Henzell received one of five National Science and Technology Awards from the Ian Clunies-Ross Memorial Foundation.
The award was made in recognition of the successful effort of Dr Henzell and his co-workers to provide Australian growers with a midge-resistant sorghum. This bug had cost growers an estimated $12 million per year in lost production and pest control. More than 80 per cent of sorghum varieties now available contain the midge-resistance gene developed by the team.
Both awards also recognised the contribution to the environment and to consumer health made by these scientific solutions to insect pest problems.
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