INSIGHT

Sweet success for Queensland researcher.

Dr Robert Magarey: 2023 Award for Excellence in Agricultural Research sponsored by ACAIR.

 Dr Robert Magarey recognised with the 2023 Award for Excellence in Agricultural Research, sponsored by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

Dr Robert Magarey recognised with the 2023 Award for Excellence in Agricultural Research, sponsored by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

Queensland's Dr Robert Magarey has dedicated his career to research within the Australian sugarcane industry and his significant contribution is recognised with the 2023 Award for Excellence in Agricultural Research, sponsored by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

Robert started his sugarcane pathology career in June 1981 and has spent most of that time located in Tully, northern Queensland. Currently the Leader for Disease Management with Sugar Research Australia - Australia's specialist sugarcane research organisation - Robert has accumulated considerable knowledge of Australian diseases and has written field guides for both Australian and exotic diseases.

Robert has led eight overseas collaborative projects which addressed pests and diseases of immediate threat to Australia. He has also provided consultancy services to sugarcane industries in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (PNG). With 42-years' experience, Robert's impact on the industry is substantial.

"The value of Australian sugarcane production to our economy is more than $1 billion," Robert said.

"Ensuring we safeguard the industry from biosecurity risks is paramount and I am privileged to have been part of that research for the past 42 years."

While Robert's initial focus was on soil-borne diseases, including a disease caused by a previously undescribed Oomycete, Pachymetra chaunorhiza - a pathogen unique to Australian cane-fields - he has since worked on diseases of bacterial, fungal, protozoan, and phytoplasma origin.

"I have researched many endemic and exotic diseases throughout my career, but the ultimate goal has always been the development of appropriate management strategies to protect our industry and our growers," Robert said.

"The Australian sugarcane industry has a strong track record of being prepared for potential biosecurity risks, such as in 2006 when the then-exotic disease smut was first detected in Australia. At the time, we had already recognised the risk associated with this disease and the possibility that it could impact the Australian industry. Consequently, when the smut incursion occurred, we were already well equipped with a good understanding of the disease and an appropriate response.

"The lesson from this was that biosecurity preparation is a valuable insurance policy for the industry. With many other exotic sugarcane pests and diseases endemic around the world, investment in research to prepare for potential future risks is critical."

Research projects have taken Robert on quarantine surveys around northern Australian, Torres Strait and PNG coastlines, to identify potential pest and disease threats to Australia. He has also provided consultancy services to sugarcane industries in this region.

ACIAR is the proud sponsor of the 2023 Award for Excellence in Agricultural Research. ACIAR Chief Executive Officer, Professor Andrew Campbell, said Dr Margery contribution to the science of plant pathology was significant.

"Robert's expertise has been influential in the way growers and researchers deal with sugarcane-related diseases both in Australia and overseas," Prof Campbell said.

"Dr Magarey has mentored many scientists in the sugar industry and more broadly. We are pleased to see him receive this acknowledgement."

Robert's dedication to his research has seen him serve on the executives of the Australasian Plant Pathology Society and the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists, being a past-president of both.

A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the farming sector, brought to you by the Farming Ahead team.

A growing series of reports, each focused on a key discussion point for the farming sector, brought to you by the Farming Ahead team.

editions

Research Report: Grouper Bins (July 2024)

This month's Research Report from Kondinin Group looks at a range of Australian-made grouper bins which can make a big difference when it comes to input logistics on the farm.

editions

Research Report: Carbon Calculators (June 2024)

Farming Ahead's June Research Report compares two carbon calculators which can be used by grain growers.

editions

Research Report: High Horsepower Tractors (May 2024)

Kondinin Group has rounded up some real broadacre muscle in this Research Report - looking at 447kW (600hp)-plus tractors.

editions

Research Report: Sheds (April 2024)

Sheds play a vital role in farming, offering shelter and protection for people, machinery, livestock and valuable inputs like chemicals and fertiliser.