Prestigious award for local research scientist
Recently retired NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) senior principal research scientist Dr Brian Dear has won this year's prestigious Donald Medal.
The medal, presented at the Australian Agronomy Conference in Armidale last Thursday (18 October), is awarded every two years by the Australian Society of Agronomy to an eminent agriculturalist.
Dr Dear, who retired from NSW DPI last year, said the award was a great surprise and a wonderful honour.
NSW DPI Acting Director Cropping Systems, Dr Alison Bowman, said Dr Dear‟s outstanding work had guaranteed a new generation of well-trained and innovative thinkers for Australian agriculture.
"Brian joined the NSW Department of Agriculture in 1971 as a trainee while at the University of New England. After graduation, he started work on irrigated wheat at Yanco in 1974," she said.
"He subsequently spent eight years working in the Cooma Monaro region on pasture legume selection while based out of the CSIRO Division of Plant Industry at Canberra.
"During this time he worked collaboratively with CSIRO scientists on sulphur and boron nutrition of subterranean clover and selection of a new cultivar of Caucasian clover.
"In 1984, he moved to the Agricultural Research Institute at Wagga Wagga to lead the NSW subterranean clover improvement program.
"In collaboration with interstate colleagues, Brian has released at least 17 new legume cultivars. This includes 12 new cultivars of subterranean clover, the most important legume species for farmers on the dryland acidic soils of NSW.
"From 2008 to 2010, Brian and his collaborators released two new red-legged earth mite resistant subterranean clover cultivars Bindoon and Rosa Brook.
"In 1993, he commenced a research program to increase the use of perennials in farming systems as a way of improving the sustainability of pasture crop rotations. This led to the national Herbaceous Plant Improvement Program, which Brian led from 2001 to 2007."
From 2008 until his retirement, Dr Dear led the Uniform Rainfall Zone component of the EverCrop project within the Future Farm Industries CRC, which explored new farming systems that incorporated perennial pasture species to improve the profitability and sustainability of farming.
Dr Dear also boasts an extensive publication record of 177 peer reviewed papers including 96 conference papers and 74 journal papers in the top ranked scientific journals within his discipline.
"In addition to Brian‟s outstanding research achievements, he is widely admired for his diligent supervision of university undergraduates and postgraduates, and his generous mentoring of young agronomists and research staff within NSW DPI and with students at Charles Sturt University," Dr Bowman said.
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Media contact: Sarah Chester (02) 6036 2110 or 0417 207 669