A SCIENTIST who has been at the forefront of extending knowledge and advice to help grain growers manage costly soil-borne diseases has been officially recognised for his efforts and achievements in communicating the outcomes of research.
Dr Alan McKay has been named the recipient of the 2018 Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Southern Region Seed of Light award which acknowledges outstanding effort in the extension of outcomes from GRDC grains research investments.
The Seed of Light award, voted upon by the GRDC Southern Regional Panel, was presented to Dr McKay at the GRDC Grains Research Update in Adelaide, SA, this week.
Dr McKay is the leader of the Soil Biology and Molecular Diagnostics group at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), a division of Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA).
In presenting the award, GRDC Southern Regional Panel deputy chair Dr Mike McLaughlin said Dr McKay over many years had demonstrated outstanding commitment to not only developing a greater understanding of soil-borne diseases and other aspects of soil biology, but also to equipping growers with knowledge and tools for improved management of soils to reduce potential yield losses.
“Soil-borne diseases can cause significant yield losses in broad acre crops,” Dr McLaughlin said.
“It has been estimated that annual potential national losses in wheat alone from soil and stubble-borne pathogens are more than $1,060 million and $792 million, respectively.
“The dedicated work undertaken by Dr McKay continues to support growers in combating these diseases – without his input and contribution to research, development and extension in this particular area, the grains industry would no doubt be incurring far greater yield and economic losses than it is now.”
Dr McKay’s duties at SARDI include managing the Molecular Diagnostic Centre (MDC).
Research within the centre forms a major component of the five-year SARDI-GRDC strategic agreement valued at $50 million.
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