Queensland agronomist Tessa Dimond has been awarded a Nuffield Australia Scholarship to further her studies on how agricultural chemicals’ Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) can affect Australian grain prices and access to international markets.
Working with Nuffield sponsor GrainCorp, Tessa aims to gain a global perspective on the role of MRLs in the international market and to share best management practices, global trends and leading-edge technology with Australian growers.
A broadacre and irrigation agronomist from St George, in southern Queensland, Tessa will travel to the UK, the US, Canada, China, Indonesia and Europe during the 12-month program.
“Label directions, spray quality and drift are cornerstones of protecting access to chemicals, but the same attention is not paid to chemical residues, including MRLs.
“There is an opportunity to better understand international MRL requirements, which are part of the final commodity and market requirements, and how these have reformed chemical application and stewardship globally.”Tessa Dimond, 2023 Nuffield Scholar
Tessa says the Nuffield Scholarship will support her professional goals of helping the agriculture industry strive for greater sustainability.
“I believe opportunity lies in building awareness of how grower application of chemicals not only impacts commodity pricing and access to international markets, but also the international reputation of Australian grain and the future sustainability of our grains industry.
“I’m also passionate about continuing to bridge the gap between the agricultural industry and our metro consumers, or risk losing our social licence to operate.”
GrainCorp Managing Director and CEO Robert Spurway says the Company is delighted to sponsor Tessa for the 2023 Nuffield Scholarship, as GrainCorp’s first-ever scholar through the program.
“We’re passionate about leading sustainable and innovative agriculture, and so supporting the program is just one of the ways we can help invest in the future sustainability of the Australian grains sector.
“As an important interface between growers and consumers, GrainCorp recognises MRLs are a topic of growing importance in the industry, and we’re continually exploring ways to minimise chemical use and maintain food safety and quality.
“Tessa’s research into MRLs will be greatly valued by our employees, stakeholders and consumers, who have a strong interest in where and how MRLs are used along the value chain.
“We’re really looking forward to working with Tessa to support her through this project and see where her research takes her.”
 A maximum residue limit (MRL) is the highest amount of an agricultural chemical residue that is legally permitted in a food product, and many countries apply different MRLs.