Elders, Courtney Piesse, agronomy

Elders agronomist wins national Adama award

A senior agronomist from Elders in Kojonup in Western Australia has been named as the inaugural winner of the Adama Young Agronomist of the Year award.

Courtney Piesse toppled a field of 100 young agronomists around Australia to take out the inaugural award.

Adama Chief Executive Officer, Darrin Hines, congratulated Mr Piesse on his win, adding that he demonstrated tremendous agronomic skills throughout the competition.

“Courtney has proven to be an agronomist who farmers can trust and rely on across the full scope of their operations,” Mr Hines said.

Mr Piesse and the two runners-up, Andrew McMahen from Manangatang, Victoria, and Matt Foulis from Wilmington, South Australia, will head overseas in 2016 for an agronomy study tour hosted by Adama for taking out the honours.

Now in his eighth year at Elders, Mr Piesse grew up on his family’s sheep and cropping farm at Kojonup before he obtained degrees in agricultural science and commerce at The University of Western Australia.

On graduating, he worked on local farms around Kojonup for a year before taking up his first professional role at Elders Merredin as an agronomist in 2008.

“I kicked off my career at Elders by working with eastern wheat belt farmers who were very generous with young agronomists like me,” Mr Piesse said.

“These farmer clients allowed me to expand my skills and trial new techniques with them, so I thoroughly enjoyed my four years at Merredin and the opportunity to learn more about farming in a medium to low rainfall environment.”

In 2011, he returned to Kojonup with Elders as agronomist and was appointed senior agronomist for the Great Southern before the company gave him another opportunity to broaden his horizons with a move into horticultural agronomy just three months ago.

As a result, Mr Piesse is adapting his agronomy skills to crops such as potatoes, onions, leafy vegetables, table grapes and tree crops in Midland and Bunbury, broadacre crops in Williams and summer crops in the Pilbara.

“No matter which farm enterprises our clients are involved in, I believe the key issues for agronomists like me are how we address diminishing gross margins for farmers and how we filter the wealth of information they receive to make their operations viable and sustainable.”

Congratulating Mr Piesse on his award, Nick Fazekas, Elders General Manager – Retail, said Elders was committed to attracting and retaining talented agronomists like him because of the key role they play in enhancing the viability of farmer clients.

“In many ways, Courtney Piesse reflects the new face of Elders and our 120 member agronomy team, who share a passion for driving innovation and technology to farmers and the wider industry,” he said.

“That’s why we continue to invest in training and developing our people, a commitment we share with Adama to nurture young talent for the future of our rural industries.”

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