Mallee Sustainable Farming is proud to announce Agricultural Research Engineer, Dr Jack Desbiolles the 2023 winner of the David Roget Award for Excellence.

Jack was presented with the prestigious award Friday 19th May at an online GRDC Amelioration and Crop Seeding Machinery Innovation workshop where he was surrounded by colleagues and peers.

Jack was nominated by the farming community for his exceptional service to the industry and the nomination was strongly endorsed by the MSF Board, recognising Jack’s long-standing contribution to supporting the adoption of no-till and more recently sustainable soil amelioration practices in the MSF region.

Jack’s work has resulted in a pivotal change in the profitability of Mallee farming but has had broader impact than the Mallee, with many of his projects receiving national and even global recognition with Jack taking his expertise in no-till to Eritrea, Morocco, Tunisia, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, and Cambodia. His efforts have improved the livelihoods of farmers working in some of the most hostile and challenging environments.

Jack is a firm believer in farmers, advisers and researchers, machinery manufacturers, and input suppliers all working together to achieve a common objective; this being the adoption of conservation farming systems.  Jack and his team at the University of South Australia’s unique Agricultural Machinery Research and Design Centre (AMRDC), have pioneered many innovations that have been fundamental to farmers in the Mallee and further afield achieving significant yield improvements whilst improving the sustainability of their farming systems.

Jack humbly accepted the award saying, “ is an honour and privilege to receive this award which reflects the combined efforts and synergy of working over the years with a dedicated agricultural engineering research team at the AMRDC, alongside an inspiring group of collaborating farming system research scientists, agronomists and advisors, as well as the broader MSF team, and not least guided by leading Mallee farmers being active contributors in participatory R,D&E projects and sharing their wealth of knowledge”.  

Some of Jack’s work with his team includes a deep-slotting point with back-swept shallow wings, bent leg openers, the high work rate plough, improving the design of inclusion ripping and ripping with wings, and more recently in MSF’s Future Drought Fund Robust ground cover project validating the use of strip amelioration to reduce erosion risk and seed priming for improved dry seeding outcomes.

Jack’s drive to solve real farmer engineering issues and communicate that in a farmer-friendly way has been key to the uptake of innovations such as no-till. He has always made himself available to talk with farmers and is one of those researchers that understands the importance of getting out and talking to people.

Jack’s dedication to communicate his results extends beyond meeting with farmers and advisers at events. He has authored countless papers and guides, including a large number of MSF FarmTalk fact sheets and compendium articles with a more recent transition to digital communications.

This has all contributed to a vital legacy of innovations that will continue to propel agriculture into an efficient and sustainable future.

Over the years Jack has been a true champion of Conservation Agriculture.

This David Roget Award for Excellence is judged on:

  1. the contribution one makes to improving environmental, economic, and social sustainability of dryland farming production systems in the MSF region, and
  2. the recipient demonstrating impact broader than the initial target of the activity or initiative.

When it comes to meeting these two objectives, Jack has excelled at both with passion and dedication and is a most deserving winner of the David Roget Award for Excellence for 2023.

Jack Desbiolles discussing inclusion ripping and with a group of local farmers and advisors at a recent MSF field day
Jack Desbiolles and Chris Saunders with the deep ripping display trailer at a recent field event

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