Every 2 years, Protected Cropping Australia (PCA), formerly known as the Australian Hydroponic & Greenhouse Association, offers industry awards that recognise and celebrate outstanding industry achievement and excellence. The winners of the 2011 awards were announced at the biennial conference held in Adelaide from 3-6 July 2011.
The recipient of the industry’s highest award, Most Outstanding Contribution to the Protected Cropping Australia Industry, was Dr Geoff Connellan from the Department of Resource Management, University of Melbourne, Burnley Campus. Dr Connellan has 30 years’ experience in urban horticulture water management, research and education and outreach. Between 1977 and 2007 he held a range of positions at the Burnley Campus including Senior Lecturer in Plant Science and Engineering, and Principal Lecturer between 1997-2007. Since 2007 he has been providing consultancy services in urban water management through G&M Connellan Consultants. His expertise includes strategies for sustainable irrigated open space, water demand management, evaluation of water use and water technologies. Dr Connellan is a leading authority on greenhouse technology and regular presenter at Australian and international conferences. In May 2008 he was awarded the McLean Iedema Award in recognition for his outstanding contribution to irrigation in Australia.
Previous recipients of PCA’s top award include Rick Donnan (1999), Dr Stephen Goodwin (2001), Dr Keith Garzoli (2003), Steven Carruthers (2005), Graeme Smith (2007) and Mark Millis (2009).
Researcher of the Year was awarded to Dr Kaye Ferguson from the South Australian Research & Development Institute (SARDI). Dr Ferguson has been the face of SARDI research in protected cropping for the last 5 years, working on projects including investigating sustainable management of leaf diseases and conversion from soil growing to hydroponic production. At the national conference Dr Ferguson presented a paper on a Hydroponic manual she is producing to help growers who want to convert to hydroponics.
The Young Achiever of the Year went to Prue Matheison from Flavourfull Hydroponics located at Pyalong (Vic). The Chairman’s Award went to the PCA Company Secretary, Saskia Blanch. The Best Exhibit was awarded to combined exhibitors Biocontrol Services from Loxton (SA) and Manchil IPM Services from Wanneroo (WA), both specialists in biocontrols and IPM management.