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‘First-class’ plant pathologist recognised by grains industry

Grant Hollaway has been presented with the GRDC 2022 southern Recognising and Rewarding Excellence Award.
Photo: GRDC

A leading plant pathologist who has dedicated much of his working life to supporting grain growers in combating crop diseases has been recognised for his outstanding endeavours.

Grant Hollaway has been presented with the GRDC 2022 southern Recognising and Rewarding Excellence Award.

Voted upon by the GRDC Southern Region Panel, the Recognising and Rewarding Excellence Award acknowledges long-standing input and commitment to the nation’s grains industry.

The award was announced during this week’s online GRDC Grains Research Update.

Based in Horsham, Victoria, Dr Hollaway is a highly respected figure in the grains industry, especially in his chosen field of plant pathology, according to GRDC Southern Region Panel member Michael Treloar, who presented the award.

“Grant is passionate about his work, and his commitment to supporting grain growers is unwavering,” Mr Treloar says.

“Grant’s loyalty is without question. He has been a plant pathologist with Agriculture Victoria since 1992 and has been the Department’s Senior Research Scientist in Plant Pathology since October 2009.

“Grant leads several GRDC-supported Agriculture Victoria disease management projects and heads up a team of six scientists. His work includes the development and extension of strategies for the management of crop diseases.”

Mr Treloar says Dr Hollaway’s contribution to the national grains industry over decades had been extensive and impactful, and his relationship with GRDC was long-standing.

“Grant is the leader of GRDC’s national soilborne disease project and several other state-based disease management projects. His research program also makes a significant contribution to the assignment of disease ratings for new wheat and barley cultivars.

“Not only has Grant’s expertise and experience been acknowledged across Australia, he is also internationally recognised, having undertaken a sabbatical within the rust program at CIMMYT in Mexico and contributing to nematology training in Turkey, among other global endeavours.

“In Australia, Grant has been instrumental in the development of the cereal disease screening nurseries in Horsham, which is now a huge operation with more than 100,000 rows sown annually for the major Australian breeding companies and GRDC.

Michael Treloar and Grant Hollaway

GRDC Southern Region Panel member Michael Treloar (left) presenting the Recognising and Rewarding Excellence Award to Grant Hollaway during the online Grains Research Update. Photo: GRDC

“Grant has been a pivotal player in the GRDC’s flagship National Variety Trials program in terms of disease ratings, and he has played a key role in the Australian Cereal Rust Control Program (ACRCP), chairing its Consultative Committee.”

Through the ACRCP and other initiatives, Dr Hollaway has collaborated closely with University of Sydney Professor Robert Park, who is Director of the ACRCP.

“I have had the pleasure of working closely with Grant for at least 20 years now,” Prof Park says.

“He is a rare individual who combines a passion for applying science to solve problems in agriculture to benefit our growers with an encyclopaedic knowledge of cereal pathology and first-rate communication skills.

“He has superb management skills, and I have often marvelled at his ability to moderate discussions while keeping people focused on the issue at hand and being able to step back and see specific issues in the context of the broader picture. Above all, Grant is a first-class human being who really cares about people.

“I am absolutely delighted that his long-term commitment and his impactful contributions to the Australian grains industry have been recognised by this prestigious award,” Prof Park says.

Dr Hollaway has sat on a multitude of committees at regional, state and national levels. He was among the first members to be appointed to the GRDC’s Southern Regional Cropping Solutions Network, now known as the National Grower Network.

“Grant has attended countless GRDC Grains Research Updates, workshops, conferences, meetings and industry events,” Mr Treloar said. “He has authored and contributed to more than 40 published scientific papers, been involved in the development of new tools to assist growers, and has appeared in numerous videos, podcasts and other communication products.

“His life is an incredibly busy one, but being the selfless person that he is, Grant always has time for others – be they growers seeking disease-related advice, junior scientists and agronomists who have gained from the training he has provided, or other industry personnel for whom he has been a mentor.”

Dr Hollaway says he was “stunned and truly honoured” to be presented with the award and to be recognised alongside the award’s previous recipients.

“Thirty years ago, I started work with Agriculture Victoria in Horsham – it has been a fantastic journey,” Dr Hollaway says.

“It’s been a privilege to be able to work in such a progressive industry and to make a contribution where I can.

“It’s important to recognise that the work I have done has been the achievement of so many other people. They should take a lot of pride in this award, particularly the plant pathology team at Agriculture Victoria – those who have gone before me and those who follow.

“I also thank my colleagues nationally. One of the great pleasures of working in plant pathology is being among the network of experts across the nation. Many of those people have been so generous with their time to help me develop as a scientist so that I can help support the Victorian grains industry.

“I acknowledge all the growers and agronomists who have kept me relevant and have been very generous with their time to help us undertake the research the industry needs, and I thank GRDC and Agriculture Victoria for their long-term support.

“Finally, to my family – thank you for your support which has enabled me do the work I do and to pursue the things I love doing.”

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