Myrtle rust expert who developed NZPPI online tool presented with major award

13 Dec 2023

Plant & Food Research principle scientist Dr Rob Beresford has been awarded the Lester Burgess Award from the Australasian Plant Pathology Society (APPS).

The Lester Burgess Award - Diagnostics and Extension - recognises APPS members who have made exceptional contributions in the field of diagnostics and extension over a significant period of their career. The primary focus of the award is on contributions to the diagnosis of plant diseases, extension to clients in field crops, horticultural industries, forestry, natural ecosystems, and amenity plants.

Rob was presented with the award at the recent Australasian Plant Pathology Society conference, held in Adelaide last month.

Since myrtle rust was first discovered in a North Island plant nursery in 2017, Rob has been part of NZPPI's industry project to develop a plant production myrtle rust management plan. This project included gaining an understanding of the biology and life-cycle of myrtle rust and using this as the basis for effective strategies to manage the disease in young plants.

His contribution included undertaking critical trials, developing a series of technical resources and practical guidelines for managing the disease, and working with tech company HortPlus to develop an online myrtle rust climate risk model

Rob also participated in our extension programme, which included a series of regional workshops attended by plant producers, including  iwi and community nurseries. The participants appreciated the open and generous way that Rob shared his knowledge and advice. 

NZPPI congratulates Rob on his well-earned award and industry recognition.



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