2011 Distinguished Past Student Award winner

A Lismore based consultant with a passion for the preservation of our soils was awarded the prestigious Distinguished Past Student award for 2011.

Graduating from Queensland Agricultural College in 1964 with a Diploma in Dairying (Dux), Ray O’Grady has had a long and extensive career in agriculture. Ranging from cheese, pastures, cotton, ginger,
tea-trees to running his own consulting business.

He will soon tell you that it was not an illustrious start when he first went to work on the Snowy Mountains Scheme to save the money to take him to Gatton as a selffunded student.

He was given a reprieve in his second year when he was granted a scholarship with the Queensland Department of Primary Industries (QDPI) Dairy Research Branch.

Following graduation he began work with the QDPI Dairy Research Branch in Brisbane and at which time Queensland cheese was being seriously down-graded by a defect called “fermented flavour”.

Through surveys and experimentation, Ray O’Grady, using cheese starter cultures sourced from both the QDPI and another from the CSIRO, discovered a problem in the quality of the QDPI culture.  This was further tested after being transferred to the Murgon Dairy Research Laboratory, where he convinced the manager of the South Burnett Dairy Co-Operative to try the CSIRO freeze dried starter vials, and from day one there was no further downgraded cheese.

In the late 1960’s after joining Consolidated Fertilizers (CFL), the concept of combining high density
irrigated rye grass with high applications of nitrogen fertilizer (known as High N’ Rye) was conceived to replace grass and clover based dairy pastures. Wide publicity of the success of this concept, resulted in industry acceptance from northern NSW to the Atherton Tableland, where dairy farmers were doubling and tripling their total milk production.  It has been historically suggested that High N’ Rye saved the Queensland dairy industry at that critical time.

Ray was later involved in the ginger industry with the introduction of nitrogen fertiliser (urea) through the irrigation system – again widely accepted by the industry with a doubling in yields from 10–14t/acre to 28–32T/acre, causing an over-supply of ginger with subsequent new export markets developed.