Future of cereals lies in breeding for resistance: Farrer Medallist
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Farrer Memorial Medal recipient for 2011, Dr Collin Wellings, will today argue that the best way to minimise losses caused by stripe rust in cereals remains breeding for resistance, when he delivers the annual Farrer Memorial Oration.
Dr Wellings is a Principal Research Scientist with NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), seconded to The University of Sydney, Cereal Rust Laboratory at the Plant Breeding Institute.
Farrer Memorial Trust Chairman, Dr Richard Sheldrake, said Dr Wellings will be presented with the 2011 Farrer Memorial medal during the Protecting Our Crops Symposium at the University of Sydney, prior to delivering the medallist’s oration.
“Winter cereal crops are a major contributor to the Australian economy, averaging around $5 billion in earnings each year,” Dr Sheldrake said.
“That income would be significantly lower without ongoing research by scientists like Dr Wellings.
“With stripe rust costing the cereals industry an estimated $431 million a year, there is also enormous potential to increase earnings through improved management of the disease.
“In his oration, Dr Wellings will contend that breeding for stripe rust resistance remains the most practical and cost effective means for containing stripe rust.”
The Farrer Memorial Medal was established in 1911 to perpetuate the memory of William Farrer and to encourage and inspire agricultural scientists.
William Farrer is the famous ‘father’ of the Australian wheat industry and is best remembered as the breeder of the variety Federation and for significant improvements in Australia's wheat harvest.
The medal is awarded annually to a person who has provided distinguished service in agricultural science in the areas of research, education, extension or administration.
“Dr Wellings is a leading authority on cereal stripe rust and his breakthrough research and disease control measures are world-renowned,” Dr Sheldrake said.
“He has led Australia-wide monitoring for stripe rust and contributed widely to disease control by providing breeding support to all wheat breeding groups in Australia.
“His involvement in broader plant breeding programs continues to deliver improved disease resistance and enhanced crop varieties for Australian farmers.”
The 2011 Farrer Memorial Medal will be presented at the Protecting Our Crops Symposium at 5.00pm today at the University of Sydney, Woolley Building, Lecture Theatre 395.
Media contact: Tom Braz (02) 6391 3686, 0428 256 596