Steve Miller HNT Trustee with Mark Mortimer. Image Credit: Department of Primary Industries.


Tullamore animal genetics practitioner Mark Mortimer has been awarded the prestigious Helen Newton Turner Medal for his major contributions to Australia’s livestock genetics research and development.
Named after Dr. Helen Newton Turner, a distinguished researcher renowned for her dedication to enhancing sheep genetics for superior wool production, this award celebrates exceptional accomplishments and remarkable contributions to the field of animal genetics in Australia.
Kate Lorimer Ward, Chair of the Helen Newton Turner Trust and Deputy Director General of Agriculture for NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) said Mr Mortimer was a well-deserved recipient of this medal.
“Mr Mortimer has played a pivotal role in enhancing the genetic quality of livestock in Australia through his remarkable achievements in implementation, innovation, and research,” she said.
“For example, in 2003 Mark worked closely with the Sheep CRC to develop the use of RFID tags in the stud, successfully developing software linking the systems for data collection and decision implementation.”
Mr Mortimer is currently the Technology and Data Analysis Manager for the Nucleus Stud and Centre Plus Merino Group, a family partnership with his father Robert and brother Doug. His skill in data management and attention to detail is demonstrated by the Centre Plus Merino group’s rating of 98.6% for the accuracy of data entered into the Sheep Genetics database.
“It’s amazing to learn that his journey into this field began at just 16 when he took on a data entry position with his parents’ sheep breeding operation,” Ms Lorimer-Ward said.
“Today, his status as one of Australia’s leading genetic practitioners is demonstrated by his inclusion on many industry advisory groups, including the Sheep Genetics Advisory committee, and Meat & Livestock Australia’s National Livestock Genetics Consortium.”
Adding to the 2023 honours list, beef genetics research scientist Dr Brad Walmsley received the inaugural Helen Newton Turner Bright Futures Award, acknowledging his accomplishments as a rising talent in animal genetics.
“Dr Walmsley is a real asset to the Australian beef industry through his continued initiative in applied quantitative genetics,” Ms Lorimer-Ward said.
Dr Walmsley is a research scientist at the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU), NSW DPI’s joint venture with the University of New England. He provides leadership in the BREEDPLAN research team responsible for the technical and implementation stewardship of BREEDPLAN and BreedObject. His guidance also extends to supervising postgraduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and staff, ensuring the continued success and implementation of BreedObject.
Among his many achievements, including 18 scientific journal papers and 11 genetics presentations since 2014, Dr Walmsley is an active contributor to the design and ongoing conduct of the Southern Multibreed project, a major cattle genetics project involving NSW DPI, the University of New England, AGBU and Meat and Livestock Australia.
“Awards like this not only encourage and inspire those working in animal genetics, but also reinforce the pivotal role it plays in improving animal productivity, health, welfare, enhancing sustainability in agriculture, and conserving biodiversity,” Ms Lorimer-Ward said.
The official award ceremony was held at the Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics (AAAGB) Conference in Perth.

Brad Walmsley HNT Bright Futures Award 2023. Image Credit: Department of Primary Industries.

Brad Walmsley HNT Bright Futures Award 2023. Image Credit: Department of Primary Industries.

Last Updated: 09/08/2023By

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