Roger Stephen Hegarty

BAgrSc (Hons) (University of Queensland), PhD (University of New England), GDEd (University of New England)

Roger Hegarty graduated in Agricultural Science (Honours1) from the University of Queensland in 1984, and was awarded the Bell Medal for his Honours Thesis. He received a PhD (University of New England; UNE) in ruminant nutrition in 1990 and a Graduate Diploma in Education (UNE) in 2004.

Roger was appointed as a Livestock Research Officer at the NSW Agriculture Nutrition and Physiology Laboratory, Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Camden, in 1990. In 1996 Roger moved to the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), Beef Industry Centre, Armidale. At this early stage of his career, Roger recognised the contribution of ruminant methane, one of the so-called greenhouse gases (GHG), to global climate change and, in 2001, established a large animal methane facility in Armidale with joint funding from NSW DPI and UNE. In 2008, Roger took a year’s leave of absence from NSW DPI to fill an interim role as the leader of the methane research team at AgResearch, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Prior to his appointment as Professor of Animal Nutrition at UNE in 2011, Roger had been an Adjunct Lecturer at UNE for many years. Throughout his career in the DPI and at UNE, he has conducted extensive research on protein and energy nutrition of ruminants. Specific topics include the nutritional manipulation of lamb carcass composition and skin biology, and the role and importance of protozoa in the rumen microbiome. Over the past two decades a major focus of his research has been developing strategies for studying and reducing GHG emissions, including the measurement and management of methane emissions from ruminants, the breeding of sheep and cattle with below-average methane output, and the dietary inclusion of nitrate, lipids and tannins – and the elimination of rumen protozoa – as strategies for reducing ruminant methane emissions. He has gained an international reputation for his research on breeding ruminants with lower GHG emissions, which has been conducted with international collaborators. Roger has evaluated dietary strategies for reducing GHG emissions by grazing ruminants, including the use of nitrate as an inhibitor of methane emissions while also acting as a non-protein source in feedlots and lick block supplements. He has also pioneered methods for collection of supplement intake and animal growth data at remote locations using satellite technologies. Roger has published over 133 journal articles as well as reviews, book chapters and invited conference papers. He has served on the International Scientific Committee and the organising committee of GHG and Animal Agriculture, and the organising committee for Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition – Australia for more than a decade. He is also a member of the editorial panel for the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition.

Roger has played a major role with the Australian and New Zealand Governments in developing national enteric methane research. Roger has conducted numerous consultancies and served on science advisory groups for the Australian GHG Office, Department of Climate Change and for the Australian Climate Institute and Australian Farm Institute. He has been invited to present aspects of his research in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Germany, Canada, Japan, Thailand, Switzerland and Ireland and has facilitated workshops in South America, Asia and North Africa under the auspices of the Global Research Alliance.

Throughout his career, Roger has been passionate about delivering clear and articulate messages, with humour, to his audiences at scientific meetings, with livestock producers, and in lectures to his students. He has numerous PhD and other postgraduate students. Roger has contributed to ASAP and now the Association over many years as an active member, and a contributor to the biennial conference.

In recognition of his contribution to the ruminant industries through teaching, research and leadership, the Australian Association of Animal Sciences is pleased to enrol Professor Roger Hegarty as a Fellow.