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Increasing Australia's Barley Yield with Biodiversity

08 March 2013

AUSTRALIA - Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, has congratulated the winners of the 2013 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Australian Biosecurity Awards.

Presenting the awards at the gala dinner for the agriculture sector’s key annual conference, Outlook, Minister Ludwig said the Awards have been encouraging participation in science, innovation and technology in rural industries since 2001.

“The Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry have helped advance the careers of more than 180 young scientists through national recognition of research and ideas,” Minister Ludwig said.

The Science and Innovation Awards provide recipients with grants of up to A$22,000 each to undertake a project exploring an emerging scientific issue or innovation over a 12 month period, with one recipient receiving an additional A$33,000 as the recipient of the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s Award to pursue their research ideas.

“With the objective of keeping Australia’s rural industries sustainable and profitable, the Awards turn ideas into a reality, at the same time showcasing the individual talents of our young scientists to the world.”

Dr Zhong-Hua Chen received the Minister’s Award this year for his work around malting barley and increasing its tolerance in areas of increased salinity.

Barley is one of Australia’s top exporting agricultural commodities, but its yield and quality are reduced by soil salinity.

Dr Chen’s project focuses on improving malting barley yield performance in saline soils by analysing the genes which regulate stomatal movement. He will take a practical screening method and validate it in the field.

The Australian Biosecurity Awards recognised those who have made a significant contribution towards the nation’s biosecurity, including Mr Llew Russell, AM, who was presented with the Biosecurity Lifetime Achievement Award.

Minister Ludwig said Mr Russell has shown industry leadership throughout a life of service to the shipping industry.

“Mr Russell has been one of the major champions of biosecurity, in partnership with government, to protect Australia’s vital biosecurity status,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Australia has one of the best biosecurity systems in the world, with government, industries and communities all playing a part.”

TheCropSite News Desk

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