MSF pioneer remembered

Image of David Roget

Michael Moodie, inaugural David Roget Mallee Sustainable Farming Excellence Award recipient.

The late crop researcher Dr David Roget has been remembered with an award named in his honour and presented by Mallee Sustainable Farming (MSF) to agronomist Michael Moodie.

The tri-state farming systems group created the David Roget Mallee Sustainable Farming Excellence Award to celebrate the contributions of Dr Roget during his time as a principal research scientist with CSIRO.

MSF president Ian Hastings, who presented the award at the MSF Forum in Pinnaroo, South Australia, said Dr Roget will be remembered for taking research from the laboratory to the paddock.

“He was instrumental in developing and promoting the concept of farming systems research by bringing together multiple disciplines and grower input, particularly through the Mallee Sustainable Farming project, which he was involved in setting up in 1997,” Mr Hastings said.

“David’s passion, enthusiasm and research had a profound impact on reducing soil erosion and increasing profitability in the Mallee. Today, MSF continues to promote and apply David’s guidelines for optimising performance by matching inputs to crop requirements, soil capacity and seasonal opportunities.”

Dr Roget contributed more than 30 years of service to agricultural research, initially in the field of soil-borne plant pathology and later on biological disease suppression and farming systems research.

Dr Roget passed away in December 2013.

Mr Moodie, of Moodie Agronomy, is a consultant engaged by MSF. He was recognised for his contribution to dryland farming production systems in the MSF region.

“Michael is a remarkable asset to the Mallee region and a valued member of the GRDC’s Low-Rainfall Regional Solutions Cropping Network,” Mr Hastings said. “He always looks beyond the day-to-day problems of farming and focuses energy on the bigger picture in pursuit of major gains.”

Mr Hastings said Mr Moodie was adept at summarising R&D outcomes in messages that are easily digested by advisers and growers, which contributes to the uptake of research.

“He is the major thinker behind the low-rainfall crop-sequencing project, and as a result has substantially influenced the increased use of break crops in the Mallee.”

Mr Moodie said he was humbled to receive the award: “When I started in the Mallee, David and [his CSIRO colleague] Gupta Vadakattu were the two people I looked up to.

“David wasn’t just reaching out to growers, he was also delivering the message to the whole system, including young extension people like myself. If I can deliver half the change in farming in my career that David was responsible for, then I’ll be very happy.”

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