A senior cereal research scientist who has been a shining light for the South Australian grain industry over the last four decades has retired from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI).
Rob Wheeler led SARDI’s New Variety Agronomy Program area and coordinated the National Variety Trials in South Australia and the Victorian Mallee.
He was the driving force behind the annual publication of SARDI’s Crop Variety Sowing Guide and Post Harvest Crop Reports for over 15 years, which have helped more than 8 000 South Australian growers, consultants and agribusinesses annually make informed sowing decisions.
Quotes attributable to Dr Kathy Ophel-Keller, Acting Executive Director, South Australian Research and Development Institute
Rob has made a significant contribution to the South Australian grain industry during his remarkable 39-year career.
He has been a key figure nationally in crop agronomy and a champion for the National Variety Trials, which provide objective advice annually to grain growers across the country on evaluation of new crop varieties.
The annual crop sowing guide and National Variety Trial results provide essential, accredited and unbiased information to growers to support their sowing decisions.
He was a familiar and highly regarded figure at field days across South Australia and spent a great deal of time engaging with growers and advisors on his work.
Background Mr Wheeler managed agronomic research projects in barley, durum wheat, cereal and pulse herbicide tolerance, and supported a range of other agronomic projects.
In 2012, Mr Wheeler received the GRDC Seed of Light Award for his outstanding contribution in communicating the findings of cereal variety research to the Australian grains industry.
Over the latter part of his career Mr Wheeler mentored numerous young research scientists in the field of agronomy and crop evaluation, many of whom have now gone on to establish significant careers of their own.
The New Variety Agronomy Program is now being led by SARDI research scientist Andrew Ware. SARDI is a division of Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA).