Outstanding innovator awarded for excellence

Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 04 Sep 2013

Keith Hams, Ray Harrington (holding the GRDC Recognising and Rewarding Excellence Award) and Peter Roberts

Darkan farmer Ray Harrington was today recognised for his long-running, outstanding contribution to the grains industry, as the inaugural recipient of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Recognising and Rewarding Excellence Award.

GRDC western regional panel chairman Peter Roberts presented Mr Harrington with the award at the Newdegate Machinery Field Days, which were also officially opened by Mr Harrington.

Mr Roberts said Mr Harrington was a deserving recipient of the award, which will be made to a career researcher, adviser, grower or other industry participant for outstanding contribution to the grains industry.

“It is fitting that Ray is receiving this award at the Newdegate Machinery Field Days, which is this year celebrating and showcasing ‘Innovation in Agriculture’ as part of its 41st annual event,” he said.

“The Newdegate Machinery Field Days committee was keen to use this year’s event to acknowledge Ray’s outstanding contribution to agriculture, and partnered with the GRDC to help initiate the award.”

Mr Roberts said Mr Harrington had been an excellent innovator for many years, with his contributions to the grains industry benefiting not only growers in Western Australia, but growers much further afield.

“He (with brother David) was instrumental in pioneering and developing no-till farming systems - a revolutionary change to global farming systems and pivotal in enhancing growers’ crop productivity,” Mr Roberts said.

“Ray - one of the founders and inaugural chairman of the WA No-Tillage Farmers Association - was early to understand the value of maintaining moisture and cover in paddocks, and was not afraid to challenge existing ways of thinking.

“He confronted issues associated with the continued development of no-till systems including weed control, disease and crop emergence.”

Mr Roberts said Mr Harrington was also well known for his role in the development of the Harrington Seed Destructor (HSD), groundbreaking weed seed control technology which crushes and destroys most of the weed seeds exiting the chaff during harvest.

“Ray came up with the idea for the HSD when he sold his sheep and devoted his Darkan property to cropping in 1996, and realised he needed to come up with a way of controlling weeds at harvest time to avoid developing problems with weeds and herbicide resistance,” he said.

“With Ray’s continued involvement, the development of the HSD has been led by the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative and funded by the GRDC.”

Receiving the award, Mr Harrington said he was honoured and humbled to be recognised by the grains industry and paid tribute to industry people he had worked with over the years.

The GRDC Recognising and Rewarding Excellence Award provides the recipient with funds to be used for travel or other activity to further their interests or expertise, with outcomes to be reported back to the GRDC.

Caption: (left to right) Newdegate Field Days president Keith Hams, GRDC Recognising and Rewarding Excellence Award recipient Ray Harrington and GRDC Western Panel chair Peter Roberts.

Contact Details

For Interviews

Peter Roberts, GRDC western panel chairman
0428 389 060

Ray Harrington
0427 363 004


Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827

Region West