A Toowoomba-based CSIRO researcher has received the prestigious Grains Research and Development Corporation Seed of Light award.
Farming systems scientist Lindsay Bell was announced as the 2021 recipient at the GRDC update event held in Dalby on Tuesday, earning the award for his ground-breaking work across Queensland and New South Wales for more than a decade.
The Seed of Light Award is presented annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to communicating the importance and relevance of research outcomes to the wider grains industry.
GRDC Northern Region Panel vice-chair Arthur Gearon said Dr Bell's research took all the elements grain growers were dealing with seasonally to assess the impacts of different crop sequences on productivity and profitability.
"It's complex research, but it is also ground-breaking work that is delivering invaluable management recommendations to growers with whole-of-farm considerations that will assist growers and agronomists to plan early and plan well. Yet the reality is it doesn't matter how meaningful research is, unless it is communicated effectively to those who need it," he said.
Having grown up on a Chinchilla farm, Dr Bell said he had an affinity for farmers' need for science-based evidence to support their decisions.
"I respect a lot of the people that have won this award in the past and really look up to the way they communicate their research so I'm really proud and chuffed to be honoured in that way as well," he said.
Key areas of his research include dual purpose cropping and his current project exploring how farmers can make better decisions around crop choices, planting times, soil health and other aspects of farming systems. Dr Bell said his current project had been running for six years and GRDC has now invested in another five years to continue the research.
"We're going to continue to run these long-term experiments where we're looking at how the sustainability of different systems will play out over a longer time frame and see what impact that has on long-term productivity and the risk profile of these different farming system choices and the crop choices you can make," he said.
"We'll get a very good handle on how these systems are impacting our soil carbon, our pathogen loads and things like that and give us a good indication of how sustainable these system choices might be and what sort of things we can do in our farming practices to improve our soil health as well as manage risk and hopefully make some more money at the same time."