Australian Mungbean Association
Australian-grown mungbeans have quality written all over them!
Dr Rex Williams – AMA Life Member
AMA Life Member Dr Rex Williams with AMA President, Mark Schmidt.
22 November, 2019
Recognising outstanding leadership in mungbean research
Dr. Rex Williams has a long association with mungbean so perhaps it is most fitting that we give his age on a mungbean timeline; he was born in Ipswich a short time before the release of mungbean varieties ‘Berken’ and ‘Celera’.
He studied at the University of Queensland, graduating with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science then completing his PhD entitled “A study of the causes of, and selection for resistance to, weather damage in mungbean”. While at UQ Rex worked under the guidance of AMA Lifetime Members Professor Bob Lawn and Dr. Bruce Imrie, contributing to the development and launch of Australia’s first dull-seeded mungbean variety ‘Satin’.
Perhaps the most significant outcome of Rex’s PhD is that it was at this time that he met his future wife Carol who was working for UQ as a Research Assistant. Together Rex and Carol have three children Hayley, Michael and Tom, and are very proud of their three young grandchildren.
Rex first worked as a Lucerne breeder with NSW DPI for nineteen years. While based at Yanco, and then Tamworth, Rex bred and released the varieties ‘Aquarius’, ‘Genesis’, ‘Venus’ and ‘Pegasis’.
When he moved back to Queensland from NSW fourteen years ago Rex joined the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) as a wheat breeder. As an enthusiastic advocate for tropical crops, and in particular mungbeans, Rex has worked passionately as Director of the Queensland Government’s tropical crop improvement research since 2007. His portfolio comprises:
• plant breeding in mungbeans, chickpea, and previously peanuts
• pre-breeding in sorghum and for resistance to foliar diseases of barley
• regional agronomy research from Emerald to Goondiwindi
• crop physiology and crop modelling
Some of the outstanding research achievements and industry impact of Rex’s leadership include:
• more than $10 is returned to industry for every $1 of public funds invested in Queensland's pulse research,
• the rise of Queensland’s tropical pulse industry, with record crops of both mungbean and chickpea worth half a billion dollars in 2016, the United Nation’s International Year of Pulses,
• release of five (and soon to be six) mungbean varieties, including Crystal and Jade-AU,
• development and extension of mungbean best management practice,
• an ambitious partnership with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) that has transformed the research landscape for mungbean,
• release of five desi chickpea varieties including PBA HatTrick, PBA Boundary and PBA Seamer,
• a world-leading public-private partnership in sorghum pre-breeding at Hermitage Research Facility to develop new genetic traits used by seed companies to produce hybrids that will perform better for farmers.
In conferring this highest industry honour on Dr Williams on behalf of the Australian Mungbean Association, AMA president Mark Schmidt said the mungbean industry was indebted to Dr Williams for his enthusiastic support and outstanding contributions over many years.
“The growth of the mungbean industry to its current 5-year average value of over $120 million in export earnings is underpinned by focussed agronomic research and the development of ever-improving mungbean varieties,” said Mr Schmidt. “Dr Williams has been a key player in achieving this outcome and we are pleased to recognise his contribution to the industry with this special award. He is just the twelfth recipient of Life Membership to the AMA in its 33-year history.”
AMA President Mark Schmidt presenting Dr Rex Williams with his Life Membership Award.
AMA Life Member Dr Rex Williams with his wife Carol and son Michael.
Contact for more details
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