Australian agriculturalist Professor Stephen Powles will retire as director of the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative at the end of June, ending a career that has led him to become a leading authority on herbicide resistance in weed populations on farms across Australia and throughout the world.
Raised on a dairy farm on NSW North Coast, Professor Powles left school at 15 years old but through hard work and determination became a global expert in weed management and herbicide resistance.
After completing a masters degree of crop science in the United States, Professor Powles then studied a PhD in Canberra, before receiving a grant in 1980 to study anywhere in Australia, and he decided to attend the University of Adelaide Waite Agricultural Research Institute to look into herbicide resistance.
Despite the risk of critical herbicides succumbing to the ever-increasing incidence of weed resistance and no longer being available to agriculture, Professor Powles said those involved in farming still had the time and capacity to head off the threat if they applied sound, resistance-management techniques.
Although Professor Powles will be retiring from his director role, he will remain working part-time at the University of Western Australia, and devote more of his time to his role on the GRDC board and other professional activities.