Kevin Powell – AKA the Phylloxera Guru – has been appointed as a senior research scientist with Sugar Research Australia, in the role of Leader, Entomology.

“This is a huge loss to the wine industry’s phylloxera research capability and we at Vinehealth Australia are deeply disappointed,” said Inca Pearce, Vinehealth Australia CEO.

Kevin has led Australia’s phylloxera research efforts for almost two decades, joining the Rutherglen Research Institute in Victoria in 1998. He has been instrumental in advancing our knowledge on the biology and epidemiology of phylloxera and its different strains, detection methods, disinfestation requirements, rootstock resistance and tolerance, and has also been pivotal in extending this information to industry and to enhance policy development

“This is a significant loss of knowledge on a high priority pest for the wine industry. We are sad to see Kevin go, but we would like to thank him for advancing our knowledge of phylloxera and its management, and wish him well in his new role. The sugar industry is lucky to have secured the service of such a skilled entomologist.

“We’ll continue contact with Kevin to ensure that we maintain an important link to existing knowledge on phylloxera.”

Vinehealth Australia is also working with Dr Liz Waters and Dr Sharon Harvey of Wine Australia and Dr Paul Cunningham, Associate Professor and Research Leader, Invertebrate & Weed Sciences, at the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, to secure the future of phylloxera research in Australia and continue to deliver practical advancements for industry.

And we can’t blame Kevin for taking up the new job with Sugar Research Australia – tropical Cairns is a pretty attractive work location.