Trevor Dillon was born in Wagin in WA, educated at Hope Valley Primary and Norwood High Schools and graduated from Roseworthy College in 1957.
Trevor’s career in agriculture was both diverse and profound. He began selling windmills for Southern Cross in the SE region of SA & later managed a property at Wilcannia in NSW & then worked on a farm in WA.
In 1965 he joined the SA Department of Agriculture working as a technical officer for the Medic Breeding program based at the Northfield Research Laboratories. From 1969 to 1971 he was appointed Hills Improvement Officer based at Jamestown & then Nuriootpa. Then in 1971, he established the first SA Department of Agriculture office at Lameroo working as the District Agronomist for the southern Mallee region before being appointed as District Agronomist at Kadina in 1974.
In the same year, Trevor was seconded by SAGRIC International to work at the El Marj dryland farming demonstration farm in Libya & for a time was Officer-in Charge. Later he also was a member of a project team that developed a major project in Iraq during the mid 1980s.
In 1975 he returned to Kadina & began his impressive contributions to dryland farming systems & practices on Yorke Peninsula as Senior Agronomist & Regional Manager. From 1988 to 1997 he also managed Departmental agronomists at Jamestown, Clare & Nuriootpa & was a Statewide specialist in field crop agronomy. He retired from the Department in 1997 & became a farm consultant.
Trevor’s contributions & leadership in the development of modern farming systems was indeed legendary. He was an astute observer of paddock & crop health & he sought from farmers what they had done. As farming systems intensified & diversified he progressively assembled & integrated a regional picture of “best agronomic practice” by noting positive practices that worked from those that didn’t. He also recorded emerging issues that needed research or better definition.
Annually these observations were published in the Kadina Harvest Report that was distributed to 16 Agricultural Bureaux on Yorke Peninsula. Later this innovation became a Statewide publication.
Trevor was also an excellent communicator. He spoke the language farmers understood & articulated his message well to many research groups that sought his critical advice both in planning and interpreting research findings. Many researchers attest to Trevor’s uncompromising search for practical solutions that farmers could adopt.
His many contributions included: his discovery that Festguay wheat had CCN resistance (this influenced wheat breeding objectives) & the adoption of integrated control for this disease; the introduction of rope applicators for weed control to SA from Victoria; early recognition of herbicide resistant weeds; critical advice on solutions for controlling pea weevil, sitona weevil & conical snails; a re-examination of N fertiliser advice to farmers.
This year, Trevor received an Award of Merit from the SA Division of AIAST for his outstanding contributions to agronomy. He was also a strong supporter of the Crop Science Society of SA & the biennial Paskeville Field Days & a founding member of the southern YP Alkaline Soils Group. He was also a Life Member of the Kadina Football Club & the Yorke Peninsula Football League, being a Board member & on the Grounds Committee for many years. As curator of Kadina oval, his efforts assisted a pre-season AFL game between the Adelaide Crows & Port Power being played there!
In February this year, the Roseworthy Old Collegians Association launched the Trevor Dillon Roseworthy Agronomic Study Scholarship to assist undergraduate students attend RAC – the first scholarship will be awarded next year.
Trevor’s funeral was held on his beloved Kadina oval on June 5th. About 800 people paid their respects.
Trevor is survived by his wife, Val, his two sons Simon & Travis, daughter-in-laws Rebecca & Sally & granddaughter Abbie.