Prof Salah Sukkarieh and Brenda Coutts, were announced joint winners of the AUSVEG Researcher of the Year Award sponsored by Bayer CropScience at last weekend’s National Awards for Excellence in Cairns.
This is the first time two recipients have received the award which acknowledges scientists for successful research or extension work in fields which have made long-term advancements for the vegetable industry.
Prof Sukkarieh, Director of Research and Innovation at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney, has been recognised for leading his team’s research and development of a robotic platform. The platform provides precision crop and soil information for most vegetable crops, while also detecting plant and animal invasive species.
“We wanted to focus on sustainability in its broad sense, so we created a robot that uses batteries and solar power, and equipped it with an arm that can physically touch the crop for measurements, control drip herbicide or pesticide deployment and even potentially remove weeds mechanically,” added Prof Sukkarieh.
Prof Sukkarieh said he was surprised to hear his name when the award was announced given the quality of researchers who had been nominated.
“I’ve been lucky enough to meet a number of great researchers in horticulture over the last few years, so to be recognised for this work by AUSVEG and Bayer is a surprise and an honour,” he said.
Brenda Coutts, Research Officer at the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia, echoed the sentiments of Prof Sukkarieh after she was awarded for her Potato Virus Y (PVY) research.
“I’d like to thank AUSVEG and Bayer for this fantastic honour and extend my thanks to the Western Australian potato growers and the AUSVEG Potato Extension Program for their support,” said Brenda.
“I’m hoping we can continue to expand our research now, and will be conducting a review for Horticulture Australia Limited on the current knowledge of PVY potatoes in Australia and overseas.”
About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, the subgroup of Bayer AG responsible for the agricultural business, has annual sales of EUR 8,819 million (2013) and is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. The company offers an outstanding range of products including high value seeds, innovative crop protection solutions based on chemical and biological modes of action as well as an extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture. In the area of non-agricultural applications, Bayer CropScience has a broad portfolio of products and services to control pests from home and garden to forestry applications. The company has a global workforce of 22,400 and is represented in more than 120 countries.
Bayer and its employees contribute thousands of dollars annually to a variety of organisations including Mission Australia and Aussie Helpers. Mission Australia is a community service organisation that assists thousands of disadvantaged Australians every year to help them get back on their feet. Aussie Helpers is a charity that helps fight poverty in rural communities across Australia.
The Bayer CropScience Australian head office is located in Melbourne.
Sam Terminelli, Edelman
T +61 3 9944 7624
M +61 438 825 684
Carolyn Key, Communications Manager, Bayer CropScience
T +61 3 9248 6644
M +61 438 374 366
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.