Luke recognised as grains industry rising star

Author: Sharon Watt | Date: 23 Feb 2016

A man presenting a framed award to a young man

His outstanding commitment and contribution to the Australian grains industry has earned Luke Gaynor, of the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, the 2015 Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Southern Region Emerging Leader Award.

Mr Gaynor, who leads the research efforts of all dryland cropping researchers in southern NSW, was presented with the award at the recent GRDC Grains Research Update at Wagga Wagga, where he is based.

Former GRDC Southern Regional Panel member and now Northern Regional Panel member, John Minogue, presented the award to Mr Gaynor who was prior to his management role a leader in pulse crop research.

Mr Minogue said the Emerging Leader Award, voted on by the GRDC Regional Panels, recognised the efforts and commitment of a chosen researcher, adviser, grower or other industry participant.

“The award provides a financial scholarship to the recipient and this can be used for travel or another activity to further their skills and expertise,” Mr Minogue said.

“The key aim is that the emerging leader will establish linkages and leverage international knowledge and opportunities to assist the Australian grains industry to address research and skills gaps.”

Since commencing employment with NSW DPI in 1999, Mr Gaynor has developed extensive knowledge and experience across both dryland and irrigated cropping systems.

“His research has largely looked to increase the grain production and profitability for growers and reduce the risks associated with non-cereal crop production,” said Mr Minogue, of Barmedman (NSW).

“Luke has conducted extensive agronomy research into all grain legumes focusing on soybeans and winter pulses, including chickpeas, faba beans, field peas and lentils. This work has focused on the effects of time of sowing, variety selection, plant population and row spacing, and adapting these crop to farming systems in southern NSW.

“As a regional leader, Luke knows the importance of searching the frontline for the next tool to lift production opportunities for growers.”

Mr Gaynor says he will use this award to further develop his people management, negotiation and leadership skills by undertaking recognised tertiary courses.

And with a keen interest in pulse crops and with 2016 being the International Year of Pulses, Mr Gaynor will attend some relevant conferences to gain further knowledge of scientific advances in these crops on a global scale.

“This is a great opportunity for me to develop my knowledge across a broader scale. I am also interested in the future of robotics and automation in agriculture, and would like to build further knowledge in this area,” said Mr Gaynor, who aims to bring any identified opportunities of this rapidly advancing technology back to Australia.

Mr Minogue said there was much to be learnt in how automation and robotic advancements could contribute to the grains industry’s sustainability and profitability.

“New methods and strategies for planting and harvesting, through to weed and pest controls are only a few of the future opportunities presenting to growers,” Mr Minogue said. 

“We trust that through this award, Luke will network and develop linkages with world-leading researchers and identify relevant technologies for adoption back here in Australia.”

For Interviews

Luke Gaynor, NSW DPI

0428 260156


Sharon Watt, Porter Novelli

0409 675100

Caption: 2015 Grains Research and Development Corporation Southern Region Emerging Leader Award recipient Luke Gaynor (left) is presented with the award by former GRDC Southern Regional Panel member and now Northern Regional Panel member, John Minogue. Photo: Toni Somes, Cox Inall

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