Research in the School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences
A vigorous research profile within the School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences benefits the industries it serves. Academic staff conduct research in their fields of expertise, with funding from various sources, including the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Environmental Protection Agency, New South Wales Department of Agriculture, New South Wales Wine Industry Association and the Australian Research Council. Postgraduate students enrolled in research degrees (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Masters and Honours programs) work closely with staff on their research projects.
Extra Research Information for Orange
- Rural Management Information for USYD Students
- Weather Station Data
- Staff Research Interests and Activities
- Research Facility Specifics
This small but dynamic unit is currently focussed on innovative research that paints traditional farm management and marketing with the green tinge of environmental and resource management under the motto 'ecology is our business, our business is ecology' or, alternatively...'green backs means green bucks'.
- a major consultancy project for the CRC for Plant-based Management of Dryland Salinity. This project involves investigating the market potential for products from plant based systems, especially woody perennials, and includes investigations of marketability of eco-labelling such products.
- the role of taxation incentives and professional practice in landcare investment decisions
- the detection and control of corruption and fraud in institutionalised agricultural marketing under regulation and deregulation.
Farmers are faced with the challenge of remaining profitable in the face of looming environmental problems, increased cost of production and declining returns for agricultural produce. The challenge, in terms of agronomic research, is to investigate management options that can help farmers meet these challenges. The research work is funded by a range of external organisations including, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Australian Research Council and The CRC for Plant-Based Management of Dryland Salinity. Research is also conducted in collaboration with other schools in CSU, NSW Agriculture, Department of Primary Industry, Victoria and CSIRO Division of Plant Industry.
- The potential of allelochemicals for weed control
- Management of native perennial grass species for recharge control
- Mineralisation of N from pasture residues
- Management of herbicide resistance in ryegrass
Research activities are based at our Equine Centre in Orange.
Extension research embraces the complexities and social aspects of agriculture and resource management. People doing this research are interested in the big picture of agriculture and rural communities. Problems addressed are in the real world of regional agriculture and its environment rather than a research station or laboratory. Topics and methods examine what farmers and others do in their jobs where data are obtained by talking to people (sometimes using surveys) and observing social phenomena. Communication, information and knowledge sharing or transfer are often the focus of such research. Also important is how people change - what new methods and skills are used and what learning has occurred.
- Assisting change in an irrigated farming community to meet economic and environmental goals in a climate of changing policy and community expectations.
- Working with dairy farmer groups to conduct and adopt their own pasture research
- Studying the exchange of information between wineries and viticulturists to improve grape quality
- Investigating the knowledge sharing and sources between researchers, farmers and extension/agribusiness service providers.
Environmental Horticulture research focuses on management of Australian native woody species and containerised trees. Researchers are studying the influence of environment on the reproductive success of eucalypts. Investigations of the seed production of eucalypt trees occurring in woodlands and those isolated from other individuals of the same species, have been able to assess the influence of cross and self pollination. Important contributions to our knowledge of Acacia germination have also been made by the group.
Environmental Horticulture staff have recently made a breakthrough in the understanding of why eucalypts are so successful at resprouting from the stem and branches after fire, even intense crown fires. This research has received considerable popular, ecological and horticultural media attention, both in Australia and overseas.
- Remnant vegetation in the South West Slopes
- Buds and meristems in the Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobliis)
- Buds and meristems in eucalypts and post-fire recovery/regeneration
The demands for water to ensure that river health and the environment are maintained have resulted in less water being available for irrigation than previously. In meeting this challenge irrigators must reduce the amount of water used per hectare or consider alternative crops which deliver a higher value from the available water.
The CSU Irrigation group is working with irrigation farmers, irrigation companies and other institutions, mainly in southern NSW. Projects aim to improve the sustainability of cropping systems which enhance the social and economic viability of communities while safeguarding the environment.
- Reducing the impact of muddy water on rice crop establishment
- Sustainable nutrient balances and more precise fertilizer management of crops
- Prediction of salinity trends in irrigation areas
- Crop establishment with sub-surface drip irrigation systems
Pests reduce plant production by up to 30%. Our mission is to minimise the impact of these pests by using traditional and molecular technologies.
The research of our group focuses on reducing the impact of insects and pathogens on plant production through the use of integrated approaches to management. Major research areas include the discovery, production and formulation of biological control agents, synergy of biocontrol agents and phylogenetics and diversity of insects and plant pathogens. Traditional breeding, tissue culture and molecular markers are also being used to address plant disease management and plant improvement. Further targets for improved control of pests are being sought using cellular and molecular strategies.
- Biocontrol of weeds, diseases and insect pests
- Cell and molecular targets for pest management
- Microencapsulation of control agents
- Diseases of rice, jojoba, lupins and canola
- Capacity building in countries such as Cambodia nd East timor
- Management of wheat streak mosaic virus
The team focuses on the major problems confronting the maintenance or improvement of the soil resource. In broad terms we are working on the management of nutrient supply to crops and pastures, management of water use to reduce salinity and acidity, evaluation of acidification of soils and contamination of soils especially with agrochemicals. We have been particularly successful with grant applications and publication.
Current topics include
- management of water use by native and agricultural species to reduce ground water movement
- quantifying soil processes that contribute to acidification in cropping and grazing systems.
- N transfer between pulse and following cereal crop
- identifying the fate of agricultural chemicals in the agroecosystems
Research activities in wine science are based in the collaborative National Wine and Grape Industry Centre (NWGIC) and chemistry research activities are based in the School. Research within the university is administered by the Centre for Research and Graduate Training