22 September 2011 - Plant & Food Research scientist Dr Jim Walker has been recognised for his 30 year research career with the presentation of a prestigious New Zealand Plant Protection medal.
Dr Walker, who is based at Plant & Food Research’s Hawke’s Bay site, leads a team of researchers focused on developing innovative tools and techniques for managing pests affecting the New Zealand horticultural industry. During his 30 year career, he has been involved in the development and introduction of the Integrated Fruit Production (IFP) programme in the New Zealand pipfruit sector. The IFP programme has resulted in the sector adopting pest monitoring, pest prediction models and alternative control methods, enabling apple growers to substantially reduce their use of pesticides. More recently Dr Walker has been involved with development of the sector’s ‘Apple Futures’ programme, focused on meeting the demand from consumers for high quality, residue-free fruit. He has also provided crucial guidance for the application of IFP to other sectors including wine grapes, summerfruit, citrus and onions.
The Medal, instituted by the New Zealand Plant Protection Society to honour those who have made exceptional contributions to plant protection, was presented to Dr Walker at the Society’s annual conference. Plant Protection Society President Karyn Froud says the Medal recognises the very top researchers and industry leaders who have progressed plant protection science.
“Jim’s expertise is acknowledged both nationally and internationally,” she says. “He stands out as a researcher who is keen to transfer science to being useful in the orchard. He presents his research in a very accessible way at conferences, grower meetings and technical workshops.”
“We’re very proud of this acknowledgment of Jim Walker’s research career,” says Philippa Stevens, General Manager Bioprotection at Plant & Food Research. “His work has been instrumental in finding alternative ways to control pests and diseases in New Zealand horticulture, developing programmes that move away from the calendar spraying approach to using chemical pesticides only when necessary. The presentation of this medal is well deserved recognition of his enthusiasm and dedication to this research.”
Video profiles of Dr Walker and the Apple Futures programme can be viewed on Plant & Food Research’s YouTube channel.