To address capacity needs in Southern NSW, particularly in the area of pathology, new industry roles have been created.
CRDC and NSW DPI have already welcomed a new cotton crop protection specialist, Tim Green. Tim will focus on crop protection through pathology and entomology. A technical officer role also forms part of the project, which has not yet been filled.
With the separation of the CottonInfo Disease and Biosecurity technical lead positions, Tim will become the CottonInfo Disease Technical Lead, while QDAF’s Sharna Holman will remain in the biosecurity lead role.
Based at the Yanco Agricultural Institute Tim will liaise with industry pathologists to produce Southern-specific disease extension materials and conduct the southern component of the CRDC-supported national cotton disease survey.
Tim will provide a Southern link to a number of CRDC-supported projects, particularly the disease survey project and Duy Le’s innovative solutions project focused on new methods to control black root rot and alternaria. He will be working with CottonInfo’s Regional Extension Officer Kieran O’Keeffe, CSD, local agronomists and local researchers to address the crop protection issues of our southern cotton growers.
“I originally come from a combined Merino sheep stud and beef cattle property just outside of Nimmitabel in the Monaro region,” he says.
“Despite my family giving me a good-humoured hard time for converting to another fibre, I’m truly excited to be joining such an innovative, vibrant industry.
“After just a few weeks in the job all growers and agronomists have been very keen to collaborate and share ideas.
“With the cotton industry in the south being relatively new, there is a lot of room for new practices and the evolution of current ones. I look forward to watching and helping this industry develop in the coming years.”
Tim attended Charles Sturt University from 2014 to 2016, graduating with a Bachelor of Science (double major Plant Science and Microbiology). In 2017, he began work as a technical officer with the DPI at the Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute working in cereal pathology and in 2018 completed his Honours through the Australian National University investigating novel pathogenic species related to Zymoseptoria tritici, a common fungal wheat pathogen.
“I then transitioned into my current role of cotton pathologist at the Yanco Agricultural Institute in January this year,” Tim says.
“Moving into the cotton industry I look forward to applying my laboratory and glasshouse skills, in particular genetics, and field surveying background into this new industry.
“My aim will be to replicate trials and research conducted in the Northern regions in the Southern cropping area to ensure the applicability of these results to a different growing area.
“This research will be focused not just on disease but also on pests as I my role will encompass crop protection as a whole.”
Tim says on a personal note he’s a keen rugby player and supporter, and strongly believes in the future of agriculture in Australia and the engagement of youth in it. As such he was named the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW’s Rural Ambassador for 2018.
CRDC’s Susan Maas said “This project is recognition from both NSW DPI and CRDC of the need to build cotton research capacity in Southern regions.
“This has been a challenge we have been trying to address for some time, and it is good to see an appointment in place.
“Separating the issues of disease and biosecurity in CottonInfo will also ensure these two critical industry issues are given sufficient extension support.”
This article appears in the Autumn 2019 edition of CRDC's Spotlight magazine.