Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Archived 2014

Recognition for International rice research team

23 December 2014

Dr Estela PasuquinA paper detailing the findings of research testing the growth responses of 18 diverse rice cultivars to constant day/night temperature of 25, 28, 31 and 34 degrees Celsius in artifically-lit growth chanbers in Wagga Wagga, NSW and in naturally-lit chambers in Yanco, NSW, has been selected as one of the best papers published in the Journal of Plant Production Science in 2013.

The research was undertaken by Estela Pasuquin as part of her PhD, and a team of internationally renowned researchers including Graham Centre members Associate Professor Philip Eberbach and Professor Len Wade.

The research team will be presented with their award at the 239th meeting of the Crop Science Society of Japan, Nihon University Fujisawa on 27 March 2015.

Happy Christmas from the Graham Centre

18 December 2014

Christmas Card and message

2014 Graduations

18 December 2014

Congratulations to all Graham Centre students who graduated this week.

Doctor of PhilosophyDr John Broster with his parents and supervisor Assoc Prof Michael Friend

John Broster - Thesis: Design and characteristics of shelter belts and their influence on survival of new born lambs

Randy Adjonu – Thesis: Whey protein peptides as dual-functional ingredients in food nanoemulsions

Estela Pasuquin – Thesis: Response of rice (oryza sativa L.) cultivars to altered climatic conditions, particularly elevated temperature

Adeola Alashi – Thesis: Dual functional properties of canola meal protein hydrolysatesProfessor Deirdre Lemerle, Assoc Prof Chris Blanchard, Dr Adeola Alashi and Prof John Mawson.

Sunil Singh Thesis: Prioritisation of pest species for biosecurity risk assessments: a case study using plant-parasitic nematodes

Master of Philosophy

Cina Vipin –Identification of loci associated with Pleiochaeta Setosa in white lupin

Bachelor of Science (Honours)
With Honours Class 1

Karen Alpen

With Honours Class 2 Division 1

Sri Barber

With Honours Class 2 Division 2

Louise Sundermann

Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours)
With Honours Class 1 and the Agricultural Science Medal

Leah Garnett

With Honours Class 1

Brigette Ryan
Diona Schmutter

Bachelor of Animal Science (Honours)
With Honours Class 2 Division 1

Kristy Barnes

Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Bachelor of Veterinary Science (Honours)
With Honours Class 2 Division 1

Michelle Eastwood

40 years of agricultural education

10 December 2014

Prof Jim Pratley has recently celebrated 40 years at CSUA passionate advocate for agricultural education, Charles Sturt University (CSU) Emeritus Professor Jim Pratley has been recognised for 40 years of service to the University.

Professor Pratley was recently presented with the 40 Year Service Medal by CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann.

Professor Vann said, "Over the past four decades, Jim has demonstrated a long standing, and outstanding, commitment to secure a future for Australian agriculture through his teaching, research, administration and networking.

"His impact on the rural sector spans the spectrum from teaching and inspiring university students through to industry development and contributing to government policy."

Professor Pratley took up an academic position at Wagga Agricultural College, one of the preceding institutions to CSU, in 1972.

Read more on CSU News

Functional Grains Centre website goes live

4 December 2014Logo - Functional Grains Centre

The Functional Grains ITTC website is now live with information about the Centre's research and scholarship opportunities.

The Functional Grains ITTC will transform the Australian Grains Industry from a commodity-based industry into a highly efficient industry producing high quality food and feed products that exceed market expectations.

Graham Centre celebrates a successful year

3 December 2014

Congratulations-to-all-our-award-recipients-left-to-right-P-Wynn-J-Quinn-L-Weston-S-Fowler-S-Mukhopadhyay-C-Blanchard-and-J-PratleyThe Graham Centre celebrated a successful end to 2014 on 2 December, with members, staff and industry gathering for the Centre's End of Year Function.

Professor Deirdre Lemerle gave an overview of the year presenting the Centre's highlights and achievements, followed by the presentation of awards in recognition of members outstanding achievements during the year. Congratulations to all award recipients.

Award for the Highest Research Income – Professor Leslie Weston

Award for highest Number of Publications in 2013 – Dr A Raman

Outstanding Media Coverage and Research Promotion Award – Ms Soumi Paul Mukhopadhyay (Early Career) and Professor Jim Pratley (Senior Researcher)

Award for Best 2014 Publication (PhD Student) – Ms Stephanie Fowler

Award for Best 2014 Publication (Post-Doctoral Fellow) – Dr Julie Pattemore

Award for Best 2014 Publication (Senior Researcher) – Dr Harsh Raman

Multi-disciplinary Team Award – Plant and Animal Toxicology Group

Private Sector Engagement and Project Development Award – Associate Professor Chris Blanchard

International Reputation and Leadership Award – Professor Peter Wynn

Jim Pratley's life in Agriculture

27 November 2014

Professor Jim Pratley's life in agriculture will be kept on record at Australia's National Library thanks to Year 6 Kapooka Public School students Lily Watkins, Victoria Kean, Ashley Gardiner and Cassie Baker. As part of an initiative funded by the Murray Darling Basin Association, Wirraminna Environmental Education Centre and Riverina Local Land Services, students from across the Riverina had to research, photograph, illustrate and interview local agricultural identities. The students then pulled the information together into a short story, with the competition winners having their stories published. Read Professor Pratley's story online

Visiting scientist to learn about livestock systems

25 November 2014

Dr-Yingxin-Huang-is-visiting-the-Graham-Centre-from-China-learning-about-livestock-systems-and-grazing-management-researchPlant ecologist Dr Yingxin Huang, Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun, China is visiting the Graham Centre for three months to learn more about the Centres' livestock systems and grazing management research, and to gain skills in this area.

On his first day he received a presentation on a current MLA-sponsored research project focussing on increasing meat production in mixed-farming systems by including grazing crops in the feedbase. Shawn McGrath presented data from the first two years of the project at Wagga Wagga, which includes Dorper and crossbred lamb production systems and the potential use of novel legume species for finishing lambs in late-Spring, and described the research protocols used in this project. This included discussion with Graham Centre members Associate Professor Michael Friend (Charles Sturt University) and Graeme Sandral (NSW Department of Primary Industries) on the current experiment where growth rates of lambs grazing a number of established and novel pasture species are being compared, including French serradella, bladder clover, forage brassica, lucerne, lucerne and phalaris, and chicory and arrowleaf pastures.

Dr Yingxin Huang will be involved with the Graham Centre project and has already assisted Dr Edward Clayton with the collection of blood samples from lambs grazing different pasture species for fatty acid analysis. Dr Huang will be involved with other research activities including weighing of livestock with Shawn McGrath and sampling for dry mater production and botanical composition with Shane Hildebrand.

Biopesticides emerge as an alternative cropping tool

20 November 2014

Prof-Gavin-Ash-explains-how-biopesticides-are-emerging-as-an-alternative-cropping-toolGrain growers are being urged to think about how an alternative to synthetic chemical pest control could benefit their farming systems in the long-term as part of an integrated pest management strategy.

Researchers from around the southern cropping region are finding more and more potential benefits from biopesticides, which use naturally occurring bacteria and fungi to protect crops.

Charles Sturt University and Graham Centre Deputy Director plant pathologist Prof Gavin Ash said that, as knowledge and technology progresses, more widely-available and cost-effective biopesticide options will become available to growers.

"Biopesticides that have been successfully commercialised are competitive on a cost basis with normal, synthetic pesticides. The challenge is to extend the range of available biopesticides and get new products into the market at a reasonable cost," Prof Ash said. Read full media release

CSU agriculture research on show

7 November 2014

Research-Fellow-Dr-Belinda-Hackney-explains-the-benefits-of-hard-seeded-legumes-in-our-farming-systemsThe Federal Minister for Agriculture, The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, has visited the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga to see first-hand research to enhance Australian agriculture.

The visit, on Thursday 6 November, followed an invitation to the Minister from Centre Director Professor Deirdre Lemerle extended through the Federal Member for Riverina Mr Michael McCormack, MP.PhD-student-Soumi-Paul-Mukhopadhyay-talks-chickpeas-with-the-Federal-Minister-for-Agirculutre-The-Hon-Barnaby-Joyce-MP-and-Federal-member-for-Riverina-Mr-Michael-McCormack

Minister Joyce visited research facilities including the phytotron, glasshouses and National Life Sciences Hub. He spoke with academics and PhD students involved in a wide-range of research from the development of new hard-seeded legume options, to biosecurity and pest management, and improving the market value of chickpeas. Read more at CSU Media

International award for a leader in animal production

7 November 2014

An international animal science award will be presented to a Charles Sturt University (CSU) academic this month for his commitment to animal production in Australia and throughout Asia.

Professor Peter Wynn, Professor of Animal Production in the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at CSU in Wagga Wagga, will receive the 10th Asian-Australasian Association of Animal Production (AAAP) Animal Science Award for his 'outstanding contribution to animal production'.

He was nominated for the award by the Australian Society of Animal Production.

Society President Dr Russell Bush said, "Peter is well known throughout the Asia region for his dedication and service to education and research in animal production.

"His distinguished career spans four decades with service given to Australia's leading research and educational institutions, including the Australian Wool Innovation company, Australian Department of Agriculture, CSIRO, University of Sydney, and Charles Sturt University," Dr Bush said. Read more at CSU Media

Strengthening links with the US

5 November 2014

Linkages with the United States have been strengthened with a visit by the US Consul General to the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation and Charles Sturt University on 30 October. The Consul General met with a number of the Centre's PhD students and researchers, exploring the Centre's key research areas and benefits to the agricultural industry both nationally and internationally.


CSU researcher joins great talents

9 October 2014

Professor-Geoff-Gurr-is-a-recipient-of-a-prestigious-1000-talent-award-from-ChinaA senior Charles Sturt University (CSU) researcher has been recognised among some of the world's top research talent during a recent visit to China.

As a recipient of a prestigious 1000 Talents Award from China,Graham Centre member and CSU's Professor Geoff Gurr was part of celebrations marking the 65th anniversary of the People's Republic of China and the contribution of leading international experts currently addressing major scientific problems in China and worldwide.

"As part of the 1 000 Talents Fellowship I received from the Chinese government, I will make visits to China over the next three years to investigate the ecology of some the world's most important agricultural insect pests, such as the infamous diamond backed moth, and their natural enemies," Professor Gurr said.

Read more at CSU media.

10th AAAP Animal Science Award

8 October 2014

Congratulations to Professor Peter Wynn on being awarded the 10th AAAP Animal Science Award, in recognition of his work in Australia and Asia in the area of Animal Production.  Peter has been invited to attend the award presentation during the opening ceremony in November of the 16th AAAP Animal Science Congress, at Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyarkarta, Indonesia.

Major investment in grains research capacity in NSW

25 September 2014

The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP (Australian Minister for Agriculture) and The Hon. Katrina Hodgkinson (NSW Minister for Primary Industries) announced a $10.8 million boost for grains research and development (R&D) in NSW. Read Media Release

What farmers know and do about stubble

25 September 2014

Despite widespread interest in and experience with retaining crop stubbles on their paddocks as part of crop rotations, a Charles Sturt University (CSU) study shows that many grain growers still prefer to burn stubble.

Study author Associate Professor Vaughan Higgins, senior social researcher with the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation in Wagga Wagga, said, "Personal values, cost, and the biophysical impacts of burning were important for grain growers rather than any outside pressures in deciding whether retain crop stubble from the previous season."

Read more at CSU Media

Insight into Indonesian beef industry

23 September 2014

A group of Charles Sturt University (CSU) students has a new understanding of production, cultural and animal welfare aspects of a key beef export market, after a tour of Indonesia.

The ten students from CSU's School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences in Wagga Wagga also visited Padjadjaran and Gadjah Mada Universities to learn about their courses and host animal welfare workshops for Indonesian students.

CSU Professor of Animal Production, Peter Wynn accompanied the students on the two-week tour which was funded by the Australian Government's New Colombo Plan.

Read more at CSU Media

Australian Museum Eureka Awards showcase the best of the best

17 September 2014

Congratulations to Associate Professor and Deputy Director Graham Centre Michael Friend and the Evergraze team on their selection as finalists in the Department of Agriculture Landcare Eureka Prize for Sustainable Agriculture section at the recent Eureka Awards. EverGraze was a project based on great science, but importantly integrated the outcomes of that science into whole farm systems to show that significant improvements in profit and Natural Resource Management can be achieved concurrently. The Evergraze project has resulted in significant practice change on thousands of Australian farms.

Congratulations to Dr John Kirkegaard and Dr James Hunt, CSIRO and Mr Stuart Kerns, GRDC on winning the Department of Agriculture Landcare Eureka Prize for Sustainable Agriculture for their Water Use Efficiency project.

Japanese interest in eucalypts and bushfires

15 September 2014

A Charles Sturt University (CSU) botanist is continuing to share his insights into the survival secrets of the eucalypts during bushfires – this time to a Japanese audience.

Associate Professor in Plant Science Geoff Burrows, from the School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences and the Graham Centre, at CSU in Wagga Wagga, recently hosted a film crew from Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) – the Japan Broadcasting Corporation.

The film crew interviewed the CSU academic about his important research into why the eucalypts are some of the world's most successful post-fire re-sprouters.

Read media release at CSU News

Crop and pasture field forum success

4 September 2014


Around 100 farmers, advisors, researchers and students attended the Graham Centre Crop and Pasture Systems Field Forum on 3 September.

Two Q & A panel sessions focussed on 'Farming with stubble' and 'Livestock and the feedbase', addressing weed, disease, pest and frost management; and matching livestock requirements with the feedbase, biosecurity and risk management.

Dr Tony Fischer, Honorary Research Fellow with CSIRO delivered the keynote address, commending the Graham Centre for its research in mixed farming system,s and encouraged people to continue to challenge new ideas and innovations in agriculture to ensure food security globally in the future.

Dr Edward Clayton, Livestock Research Officer, NSW Department of Primary Industries and author of the Centre's monograph 'Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in ruminant nutrition; benefits to animals and humans' spoke about the effects of different production systems on the content of beneficial fatty acids in meat.

Researchers from Charles Sturt University and NSW DPI also presented their trials and results to those in attendance as part of the field tour prior to lunch.

View photos from the Crop and Pasture Systems Field Forum

Forum examines global challenges for producers

4 September 2014

More than 200 producers and industry representatives at the recent Charles Sturt University (CSU) 'The Business of Beef' forum gained valuable insights into the global challenges that beef producers face.

Senior lecturer in agribusiness in the CSU School of Agricultural and Wines Sciences in Orange, Dr Karl Behrendt, said the forum last month at Blayney, NSW, covered everything from marketing to genetic improvement.

"While Australian beef producers maintain some of the lowest cost cow/calf production systems in the world, they also experience lower returns due to both lower prices and higher production costs," Dr Behrendt told the forum.

Visit CSU Media to read the full media release

Spotlight shines on industry research

29 August 2014

Research focussing on the ruminant feedbase, stubble and weed and disease management will be the focus of this year's Graham Centre Cropping and Pasture Systems Field Forum.

Researchers from CSU and NSW DPI will present their trails and results to farmers, advisors and students.

Following the successful format in 2013, the Centre will again host two Q & A sessions addressing 'Farming with stubble' and 'Livestock and the feedbase' as part of the day.

Read media release

Crop and pasture systems field forum to focus on stubble, livestock and the feedbase

28 August 2014

2014-Graham-Centre-Crop-and-Pasture-Systems-Field-Forum-will-focus-on-farming-with-stubble-and-livestock-and-the-feedbaseThe Graham Centre's annual Cropping and Pasture Systems Field Forum is being held on Wednesday 3 September, Graham Centre Field Site, 8.30am for a 9am start - 1.15pm. The field forum brings together farmers, researchers and advisors. It's your opportunity to help identify gaps in our knowledge and set research and development priorities while learning the latest on mixed farming in southern NSW.

Following the successful format of 2013, two forums will run throughout the day focussing on:

1. Farming with stubble: coping with weeds, diseases and pests; canopy temperature during frost events.

2. Livestock and the feedbase: strategies for managing risk; matching livestock requirements with the feedbase; managing biosecurity.

Participants will also see demonstrations and trials on conservation cropping, weed and disease management, pastures and crop sequencing.

Catering and BBQ lunch provided by Eurongilly CWA.

Download the program

Advancing Australian exports for mixed farmers

20 August 2014

A senior figure in the development of Australian exports to international emerging markets will deliver the keynote address at Future Proofing Mixed Farming Systems Forum at Wagga Wagga on Friday 22 August.

Mr Grame Barty is General Manager of International Marketing and Emerging Growth Markets at the Australian Trade Commission or Austrade.

He'll address the Forum from 8.20am in the Charles Sturt University (CSU) Convention Centre in Wagga Wagga. The Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation is organising the Forum as a 'think tank' on a 30 year vision for mixed farming systems. Read full media release.

Voices for Australian agribusiness

18 August 2014

The head of one of Australia's largest horticultural companies has called for political action to secure a viable future for the country's agribusinesses.

Mr John Brady, Chief Executive Officer of KAGOME Australia, the country's largest tomato processor based in Echuca, in regional Victoria, will address the Future Proofing Mixed Farming Systems forum from 11.30 am on Friday 22 August.  The forum is being hosted by the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga.

Mr Brady will outline his views on the main challenges to ensure the continued growth of Australia's agribusiness: water, energy and logistics. Read full media release.

CSU research finalist in Eureka Prize

11 August 2014

Charles Sturt University (CSU) research which has increased farm profits and improved the environment is part of a project named as a finalist in the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.

CSU was one of six partners in the national EverGraze program which brought together leading scientists under the Future Farm Industries Cooperative Research Centre to design, test and implement farming systems based on perennial plants in high rainfall areas in southern Australia.

Read more at CSU Media

There has never been a better time to determine your future

5 August 2014

Identifying-key-issues-that-drive-mixed-farming-systems-addressing-fragmentation-along-the-supply-chain=and-having-a-united-voice-to-ensure-productive-profitable-and-sustainable-food-and-fibre-systems-into-the-future-will-be-key-outcomes-of-the-future-proofing-mixed-farming-systems-forumWith the upcoming release of the Federal Government's Agricultural White Paper there has never been a better time to determine what mixed farming systems might look like in the future.

An industry-wide 'think tank' hosted by the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation (an alliance between Charles Sturt University and NSW Department of Primary Industries) will explore potential scenarios for securing the future of mixed farming systems in Australia.

Critical internal and external drivers of mixed farming systems viability and sustainability will be identified, and recommendations to address these drivers will be developed.

"Business leaders will speak about the opportunities they have identified, challenges faced along the way, successes, failures and their vision for the future of their business," said Professor Deirdre Lemerle, Graham Centre Director.

"We are bringing together representatives from industry stakeholders to provide input into the identification of key issues that drive mixed farming systems, addressing fragmentation along the supply chain and having a united voice to ensure productive, profitable and sustainable food and fibre systems into the future." Read media release.

Don't fence me in - the welfare of cattle in feedlots

5 August 2014

high-quality-handling-in-the-feedlot-and-on-farm-is-crucial-for-welfare-and-performance-in-the-feedlotFeedlotting cattle raises a variety of potential welfare concerns associated with the inability of cattle to express their full repertoire of natural behaviours, such as grazing, when confined in a feedlot environment.

Some specific issues have been well investigated such as the appropriate provision of space and feed, how best to manage and limit the effects of heat stress and understanding effective ration feeding to maximise growth and reduce the risks of acidosis.

But other welfare issues associated with feedlotting are less easy to address.

"Behavioural traits can be difficult to address. When cattle enter the feedlot environment for the first time they are exposed to a significant number of changes in a short period," said Dr Rebecca Doyle. Read media release.

Hydatids found in Tasmanian dogs

4 August 2014


Charles Sturt University (CSU) research has found a tapeworm which can cause significant human and animal health problems in Tasmania.

The state was thought to be free of Hydatid tapeworm but a large study by CSU and Graham Centre researcher Dr David Jenkins has found some Tasmanian dogs and livestock infected with the parasite.

Hydatid disease in humans, livestock and wildlife is caused by a tiny tapeworm (Echinococcus granulosus) infecting dogs, dingoes and foxes. The disease can infect humans, leading to major health problems and sometimes death.

Read more at CSU Media

Overall prospects remain positive despite challenges from rising costs & policy reform

30 July 2014

Dr-David-Jenkins-has-found-livestock-and-dogs-in-Tasmania-infected-with-the-hydatid-tapewormThe year 2013 returned some profitability to beef and sheep production in countries that experienced moderate climatic conditions. In other regions, particularly in sections of the Southern Hemisphere  drought and adverse weather conditions continued to depress margins. This was one of the main conclusions of the agri benchmark Beef and Sheep Conference 2014 hosted by the Italian Research Centre for Animal Production (CRPA) in Turin, Italy from June 5-11. Read media release

Australia's involvement in the agri benchmark research and network is funded by Meat and Livestock Australia, and coordinated by Dr Karl Behrendt of Charles Sturt University and the Graham Centre. The Australian team comprises staff from MLA and state departments of agriculture, as well as market and agricultural consultants. For information about the network see the agri benchmark Website

Farmers understanding & approach to control of Pestivirus

29 July 2014


Pestivirus or Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVDV) is a virus many Australian farmers have heard of, but their approach to controlling BVDV varies across eastern Australia.

Pestivirus is a virus that many recognise as being implicated in poor fertility and abortion, but it also has effects on foetal development (deformities), the immune system (immunosuppression, allowing secondary infections), and calf viability (dead or weak calves at birth).

"The virus spreads primarily through viral shedding from persistently infected (PI) animals," said Dr Alistair Smith, School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Charles Sturt University.

Read media release

Working with cattle to build better stockyards

24 July 2014

Understanding-cattle-behaviour-is-the-basis-for-good-yard-design-and-cattle-handlingUnderstanding how cattle perceive the world and knowing how they are likely to react in given situations is the basis for good yard design and cattle handling.

"The benefits of working cattle in yards that are built fit for purpose and promote the animals' willingness to move, combined with an understanding of cattle behaviour reduces the risk of operator and animal injury, and the stress on both animals and the operator," said Mr Bill Thomas, Proway.

"Other benefits include reduced labour input, faster turnaround time for animals to get back to feed, better animal husbandry and the creation of opportunities to handle different types of cattle and take advantage of markets."

Read full media release

$2 million fellowship to stamp out pests

18 July 2014

Agricultural pests in China and worldwide have received a further kick in the mandibles with a senior Charles Sturt University (CSU) researcher receiving a major Chinese Government award to investigate ecological solutions for agricultural pests.

The Graham Centre's Professor Geoff Gurr, recently commenced a prestigious "Thousand Talents Fellowship" at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University (FAFU) in southern China. Worth over $2 million, the fellowship aims to attract overseas talent to work in China. Read more at CSU Media.

Future proofing mixed farming systems

18 July 2014


The 21st and 22nd August sees the Graham Centre facilitate an industry-wide 'think tank' on potential scenarios for securing the future of mixed farming systems. Critical internal and external drivers of mixed farming systems viability and sustainability will be identified, and recommendations developed for the Graham Centre, industry and government to assist in addressing those drivers.

Two industry tours across the Riverina on Thursday 21 August will showcase the richness of alternative business models to draw on and discuss shaping our future.

The forum on Friday 22 August will explore challenges and opportunities along the entire value chain, focussing discussion around 3 key themes: 1. creating a resilient mixed farming system, 2. to value add or not - that is the question, and 3. beyond the farm gate.

Further information and the program can be downloaded from our website.

Blayney Business of Beef Forum

18 July 2014

Producers-will-hear-from-leading-Australian-and-International-beef-industry-experts-at-the-Business-of-Beef-Forum-in-Blayney-on-7-August-2014Leading experts from Australia and overseas will converge on Blayney on 7 August for the 'Business of Beef Forum'. Producers will hear from leading authorities across all areas of the beef industry, with the aim increasing producer productivity and efficiency.

'We have assembled a wide variety of speakers to cover all aspects from the paddock to processing and right through to our international markets,' Graham Centre and steering committee member Dr Karl Behrendt said.

The Business of Beef Forum will be held at the Blayney Community Centre, Thursday 7 August, 8.30am-4.30pm. Further information including a full list of speakers and booking details can be found at or by calling 02 6369 1600.

Registrations for Beef Forum now open

11 July 2014


Registrations are now open for the Graham Centre's Beef Forum on Friday 15 August. Industry experts from Charles Sturt University, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Local Land Services and The University of Melbourne will discuss issues of key relevance to producers and the industry.

Producers will hear about managing the challenges of volatile seasons and markets in beef production, online processing technologies predicting carcass and meat quality traits and what this means for producers, opportunity and drought feedlots - practical experience and examples of making it work, animal welfare issues in feedlots, working with cattle to build better stockyards and farmers' understanding and approach to control of pestivirus in eastern Australia.

Click here to register online, E: or call Toni Nugent on 02 6933 4402.

Students excel at HDR symposium

8 July 2014

Congratulations to the following Graham Centre post graduate students who received the prizes for outstanding presentations at the Faculty of Science HDR & Honours Symposium, held last week in Wagga:

Poster Presentation Prize: Clare Flakelar (School of Agriculture & Wine Science)

Honours Oral Presentation Prize: Dione Schmutter (School of Agriculture & Wine Science)

Federal Education Minister visits

7 July 2014

The Hon Christopher Pyne, Minister for Education visited the Graham Centre on Thursday 3 July. Minister Pyne met with Graham Centre PhD students and researchers during his visit. As part of his visit he announced a $2million Agriculture in Education program that will see the development of online content to promote agricultural education in schools.

Photos - Ministerial Visit.

2014 Sheep Forum addresses key issues

7 July 2014Dr-Susan-Robertson-CSU-addresses-producers-at-the-2014-Graham-Centre-Sheep-Forum

On Friday 4 July more than 70 producers joined industry experts and researchers to learn the latest research on key issues affecting their sheep production enterprises.

Professor Bill Malcolm, The University of Melbourne, spoke about the use of capital to counter the threat of low and volatile farm income, stressing the best performing farm businesses have increased productivity to counter the downward pressures on profit.

Producers also heard about drought lots and their success during dry times, nutrient management to reduce embryo mortality in ewes, the quest for acid-tolerant lucerne, lifting the limits imposed by worms on prime lamb production and structuring flexible management to maintain profitable and sustainable lamb production systems.

The field day is run in conjunction with Local Land Services Riverina, with sponsorship contributed from Novartis Animal Health, Animal Health Australia, Ancare, Riverina Cooperative, National Australia Bank, Regional Development Australia Riverina, Making More From Sheep and Knights Meats and Deli.

Copies of presentations are available online in PDF Format (click here).

Essential oils to treat mastitis in cows

23 June 2014

Oregano, thyme and cloves are not usually associated with milk but Charles Sturt University (CSU) researchers hope essential oils from these plants may be useful in treating a costly problem for the dairy industry.

CSU and Graham Centre PhD student Ms Lynne Appleby, together with CSU researchers Drs Nigel Urwin, Jan Lievaart and Professor Heather Cavanagh, are investigating if essential oils may compliment or provide an alternative to the traditional use of antibiotics in treating mastitis in dairy cows.

"Mastitis is an infection of the cows udder that is usually caused by bacteria," said Ms Appleby."It's a problem for dairy farmers because it can reduce production and affect the quality of the milk."

Mastitis is conventionally treated with antibiotics but Ms Appleby said that can be costly, sometimes ineffective, and requires careful management as milk from treated cows has to be discarded. Read story at CSU News.

Showcasing careers in agriculture

17 June 2014


One hundred agriculture and primary industries students from across the region participated in the Graham Centre's 9th Science and Agriculture Enrichment Day on 13 June. Students came from Wagga, Tumut, Leeton, Griffith, Cootamundra and Deniliquin to learn about meat quality, grain quality, soil root nematodes and the healthy human brain.

Students commented it was great to see different career pathways in agriculture, with many commenting the day also increased their passion and enthusiasm to pursue a career in the agricultural industry.

Science & Agriculture Enrichment Day

12 June 2014

Tommorrow, 13 June,sees over 100 agriculture and primary industry students from across the Riverina descending on the Graham Centre for our Science and Agriculture Enrichment Day. Students will participate in four interactive, hands-on workshops looking at meat quality, grain quality, soil root nematodes and the science of a healthy brain. Students will gain an insight into the in work done by professional agricultural and animal scientists.

Local GRDC rep wants to hear from Riverina growers

Assoc-Prof-Chris-Blanchard-wants-to-continue-to-address-the known-issues-hampering-productivity-and-profitability-of-the-grains-industry-across-the-riverina12 June 2014

Riverina grain growers will be confronted by challenges old and new in 2014, and local Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Southern Regional Panel member Chris Blanchard wants to ensure the region's cropping issues are being addressed.

Dr Blanchard, a researcher and teacher at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and Director of the Functional Grains Centre based there, is deputy chair of the GRDC Southern Regional Panel, which identifies cropping constraints and opportunities and directs research priorities to benefit grain growers.

Now in his seventh year on the panel, he said he wanted to continue to address known issues hampering productivity and profitability in the area, as well as shedding light on emerging problems. Read full media release

Registrations for Sheep Forum now open

2 June 2014

Registrations-open-for-Graham-Centre-Sheep-ForumRegistrations are now open for the Graham Centre's Sheep Forum on Friday 4 July. Industry experts from Charles Sturt University, NSW Department of Primary Industries and The University of Melbourne will discuss issues of key relevance to producers and the industry.

Producers will hear about nutritional management to reduce embryo mortality in ewes, drought lots and producer experience using them, the quest for acid-tolerant lucerne, determining optimum grazing systems and lifting limits imposed by worms on sheep meat production.

Click here to register online, E: or call Toni Nugent on 02 6933 4402.

GM crop ruling makes sense: CSU academic

29 May 2014

Prof-Jim-Pratley-said-the-landmark-ruling-in-the-WA-Supreme-Court-about-GM-crops-is-a-victory-for-common-senseA landmark ruling in the West Australian Supreme Court about genetically modified (GM) crops has been described as a victory for common sense by Emeritus Professor in Agriculture, Jim Pratley from Charles Sturt University (CSU).

Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Martin ruled in favour of GM canola farmer Michael Baxter, dismissing a compensation claim by organic farmer Steve Marsh. Mr Marsh had unsuccessfully alleged the neighbouring crop had contaminated his organic crop.

Graham Centre member Professor Pratley, from the School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences at CSU in Wagga Wagga, said, "The rights of a farmer to grow a legal crop have been reaffirmed by the Supreme Court and acts of nature are just part of that operation. Read full media release

CSU students win National Merino Challenge

28 May 2014

A team of students from Charles Sturt University (CSU) has won the Tertiary Division of the National Merino Challenge (NMC).

An initiative of Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), the Challenge is designed to demonstrate skills in sheep classing, production and fleece assessment.

The CSU team of Ms Catherine Worner, Ms Jordan Hoban, Ms Dione Howard and Ms Patricia Coleman, from the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences and School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences, claimed first place in the tertiary teams challenge.

Bachelor of Animal Sciences student Ms Hoban, from near Macksville in northern NSW, was named the overall tertiary champion.

"I've learnt an incredible amount of information about the Merino and wool industry and gained an understanding that I didn't have before," she said. "It was a great opportunity to meet new people and develop contacts for my future career."

During the two-day National Merino Challenge in Melbourne, students competed in seven practical challenges including sheep selection, wool valuation and nutrition and feed budgeting.

The CSU team has been trained by Graham Centre members Associate Professor Michael Friend and Research Fellow Dr Susan Robertson from CSU's School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.

Read full media release

Crop yields and global food security: will yield increase continue to feed the world?

28 May 2014

Expert in their field, Dr Tony Fisher and colleagues have recently published an invaluable reference book on the opportunities for crop yield increase to feed the world to 2050. The book is aimed at agricultural scientists and economists, decision-makers in the food production industry, concerned citizens and tertiary students. It includes information on crop area and yield change for wheat, rice, maize, soybean and 20 other important crops; a detailed tour of the key breadbasket regions of the world; a discussion on ways for achieving the target yields without a substantial increase in cultivated lands; and implications of further yield increase for resource use, agricultural sustainability and the environment. Visit ACIAR to purchase a copy

Showcasing agriculture - Science and agriculture enrichment day

13 May 2014

The Graham Centre's 2014 Science and Agriculture Enrichment Day will showcase research on meat quality, grain quality and screenings, the science of a healthy brain and soil root nematodes. Students will have the opportunity to observe and take part in work done by professional agricultural and animal scientists.

With the current skills shortage in agriculture escalating, Science and Agriculture Enrichment Day provides a great opportunity for students to get real hands-on experience and see the science in action, encouraging them to consider a future career in agriculture and veterinary science.

For information contact Toni Nugent, Public Relations Manager, E:

View the program

Food science centre to bolster grain opportunities

13 May 2014

Assoc-Prof-Chris-Blanchard-Christina-Chin-and-Kyle-Reynolds-Image: Paul-Jones)A new centre for food science research will play a pioneering role in exploring new product and niche market opportunities for grain growers in the southern cropping region and the broader Australian grains industry.

Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Southern Regional Panel chair Keith Pengilley says the $2.15 million Australian Research Council Training Centre for Functional Grains, to be located at Charles Sturt University (CSU) at Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, aims to add value to crop production, improve product marketability and boost research capacity within the industry.

"This new centre represents a positive step forward for the grains sector which is dependent on innovative research for the delivery of new technologies and products to promote increased cropping productivity, profitability and sustainability," Mr Pengilley said.

The GRDC is a non-commercial partner of the Australian Research Council-funded centre which will be a research hub for grains scientists from CSU, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and CSIRO. Also involved is the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation – a collaborative research alliance between CSU and NSW DPI.

The Functional Grains Centre (FGC) will focus on three commodities – pulses, canola (both GRDC leviable crops) and rice. Read full media release

Preparing Dairy Sector for Climate Change

12 May 2014

A joint research project involving Charles Sturt University (CSU) has examined how Australian farming industries are responding to demands for more sustainable production.

Leading social researcher Associate Professor Vaughan Higgins, who is also Associate Director of CSU's Institute for Land, Water and Society, examined how farming industries including dairying are responding to the challenges posed by climate change and government pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

"Dairy processors are looking for ways to manage future risks, including pressures from markets and governments to reduce emissions, without affecting their current abilities to meet demand for milk and milk products," Professor Higgins said. Read more

2014 IRRI Rice Production Course

9 May 2014

Photo - Aaron PrestonMr Aaron Preston, a PhD Student at Charles Sturt University's School of Agricultural & Wine Sciences and Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, will be attending a three-week rice production course mid May at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in The Philippines.

The IRRI course aims to create a new generation of plant scientists that are well networked into the international community, and to develop an understanding of the importance of innovative plant science in addressing global problems.

Attendance at the course was made possible through the support of The Crawford Fund.

Boosting biosecurity on neighbours' borders

28 April 2014

A new project is underway in South East Asia to share Australia's knowledge and enthusiasm for protecting our borders from plant pests and diseases.

Dr-Ben-Stodart-is-sharing-Australia's-knowledge-for-protecting-our-borders-from-plant-pests-and-diseases-with-our-neighbours-in-CambodiaThe project, funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), aims to better equip Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) and Thailand to protect their crops from pests and diseases and improve international trading opportunities.

Plant pathologist from Charles Sturt University (CSU) and Graham Centre member Dr Ben Stodart, said, "Currently there is limited or no physical biosecurity and quarantine systems operating in Cambodia or Lao PDR."

The Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the University's School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences should know, having made more than 20 trips to Cambodia during his research career.

The new project, Enabling Improved Plant Biosecurity Practices in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Thailand, is funded by ACIAR through the Plant Biosecurity Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) and CSU. Read more

Foxes found to host sheep measles

14 April 2014

Dr-David-Jenkins-research-shows-that-foxes-are-a-host-for-the-sheep-measles-parasiteCharles Sturt University (CSU) research has shown for the first time that foxes are a host for the sheep measles parasite which costs the industry several million dollars each year.

The finding suggests the current practice of worming domestic dogs is not enough to protect sheep from the parasite.

CSU parasitologist and Graham Centre member Dr David Jenkins, from CSU's School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, conducted the research with Bachelor of Animal Science (Honours) student Mr Thomas Williams. He has called for the commercialisation of a vaccine to prevent sheep measles.

"Sheep become infected through accidentally eating the tapeworm Taenia ovis eggs while grazing," said Dr Jenkins. "These eggs hatch in their intestine releasing microscopic parasites that grow into sheep measles cysts in the muscles."

Sheep measles does not pose a problem for public health but Dr Jenkins said downgraded and condemned meat is a significant cost for abattoirs and a potential trade barrier. Read the media release.

Sharing knowledge to lighten workload

14 April 2014

Charles Sturt University (CSU) scientists hope to lighten the workload of farming women in the tribal regions of North West Pakistan by introducing them to technology commonly used in Australian cattle herds.

An extension project involving researchers from CSU's School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences and the Graham Centre in Australia and the University of Agriculture Peshawar in Pakistan will train women's groups from isolated mountain villages in bovine reproductive management.

The project has received a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and is the idea of CSU Masters student and Adjunct Research Associate Mr Mohammad Riaz Khan. Read the media release.

Increasing research links with international scientists

10 April 2014

Dr-Song-has-been-honing-his-research-skills-at-the-Graham-Centre-over-the-past-12-monthsDr Yantao Song has spent the last 12 months at the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation as a visiting scientist under the supervision of Dr Guangdi Li, Graeme Sandral and Richard Hayes in. Dr Song conducted several experiments in the glasshouse and field looking at weed population dynamics and management strategies under different break crops.

Dr Song was also actively involved in various research projects managed by the Pasture Group in the NSW Department of Primary Industries, including Crop Sequence, EverCrop, N2O emission, Lotus Evaluation and Phosphorus Use Efficiency.

Over the past 12 months, his skills in experimental design, capacity and ability to conduct research have been boosted. He has also learnt how to use the R software for data analysis. Furthermore, he has collected enough data to write at least 3 scientific papers; Influence of break crops and weed management on annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum) dynamics, weed control and crops yield in south-eastern Australia; Aluminium and manganese tolerance of 20 temperate grasses and 4 temperate legumes in solution culture; and Do leaf traits predict wheat productivity?

ACIAR visits the Graham Centre

3 April 2014

Dr-Peter-Horne-and-Dr-Nick-Austin-recently-visited-the-Graham-Centre Continuing to develop strong partnerships with industry, the Centre hosted a visit from Dr Nick Austin, CEO and Dr Peter Horne, General Manager Country Programs, ACIAR on 2 April. The meeting provided an update of the Centre's research focus and capacity, showcased our facilities and provided an opportunity to discuss ACIAR priorities and opportunities for project development in the future.

Women in Australian Agribusiness

28 March 2014Lucinda-Corrigan-has-been-named-the-winner-of-the-WIAA-Outstanding-leader-in-agribusiness-award

Congratulations to Lucinda Corrigan, Graham Centre Industry Advisory Committee Chairperson on winning the Women in Australian Agribusiness 'Outstanding leader in agribusiness' award. Lucinda was 1 of 7 women selected from the final 100 by judges for this award. The judges were looking for women who lead initiatives that have achieved great innovation, business success or highlight issues in Australian agribusiness. These women demonstrate an ability to influence and inspire people in Australian agribusiness.

2014 Graham Centre Internships

21 March 2014

Congratulations to the following students on being awarded Graham Centre internships for 2014.

  • Graham-Centre-2014-Interns-Chloe-Roberts-Jessica-Verwey-Lucy-Darragh-and-Emma-Knight-Rowan-Alden-is-absentMs Jessica Verwey, Bachelor of Vet Science/Vet Biology
    (Mentor: Dr Rob Woodgate)
  • Ms Rowan Alden, Bachelor of Science (Mentor: Dr Belinda Hackney)
  • Ms Chloe Roberts, Bachelor of Agricultural Science
    (Mentor: Dr Bree Wilson)
  • Ms Emma Knight, Bachelor of Animal Science (Mentor: Dr Susan Robertson)
  • Ms Lucy Darragh, Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Mentor: Dr Hanwen Wu)
Photo Caption: Graham Centre 2014 Interns - Chloe Roberts, Jessica Verwey, Lucy Darragh and Emma Knight. Rowan Alden is absent.

Racing the clock to save a species

10 March 2014

Charles Sturt University (CSU) researchers are racing the clock to learn more about a virus threatening the world's last remaining Orange Bellied Parrots.

Only about 50 of the birds remain in the wild, in a breeding population which migrates from South West Tasmania across Bass Strait to spend winter on the mainland.

The species earned notoriety in the 1990s when the then Victorian Premier Mr Jeff Kennett called it a 'trumped-up corella' during debate over the relocation of the Coode Island Chemical storage facility in Melbourne.

CSU Professor of Veterinary Pathobiology Shane Raidal said although about 250 Orange Bellied Parrots were held in captive breeding programs, both the wild and captive populations were threatened by psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD). Click here to read the full story.

Strengthening links with the US

4 March 2014Professor-Jeff-Weidenhamer-is-visiting-the-Graham-Centre-on-an-Endeavour-Scholarship

Professor Weidenhamer is Trustees' Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Ashland University (Ohio, USA) where he has taught for the past 25 years.

He is visiting the Graham Centre at Charles Sturt University through to the end of July, where he is being hosted by Professor Leslie Weston.  Professor Weidenhamer's visit is funded by an Endeavour Research Fellowship.

The common thread in Jeff's educational background is a deep and abiding interest in the chemical aspects of plant-plant interactions.

During his Master's work at Ohio State he worked with Glover Triplett, who had done some of the pioneering research on no-tillage agriculture, and developed an interest in the question of whether the use of chemicals for weed control in this system could be reduced by using crops or cover crops to provide natural weed control.  His PhD and postdoctoral research focused on understanding how allelopathy works in a natural community (the Florida Scrub) to prevent invasion. Through that work he recognised the need for new methods to study allelopathy, which has been his major research objective over the past 25 years.

He has contributed both new bioassay methods based on density-dependent phytotoxicity effects and most recently new soil analysis methods based on silicone materials to measure the dynamics of allelochemicals in the rhizosphere. His research in chemical ecology has been funded by the US National Science Foundation.

Professor Weidenhamer has previously visited Charles Sturt University for six weeks in 2011 as a Fulbright Senior Science Specialist in Agriculture.

While at the Graham Centre, Jeff will participate in studies to evaluate the root exudates of wheat cultivars, and in particular, undertake experiments to examine the impact of climate change on wheat productivity. These studies will be done in collaboration with Dr Weston, CSU and researchers at CSIRO Plant Industries to understand the factors involved in improved wheat performance in Australia, in light of a changing climate.

Root exudation can account for up to 20% or more of the loss of photosynthate from a plant root system. Recent findings suggest that more carbon actually exits the roots through exudation in response to climate change, which impacts activity of soil microbes, and also impacts the rate of C turnover in soil. Root exudates can be biologically active against competitors as well, so a better understanding of root exudation is crucial to understanding how crops such as wheat may respond to climate change. Prof. Weidenhamer will also be assisting Drs. Weston and Quinn with isolation and identification of active compounds in biserrula, an annual legume associated with photosensitization in grazing livestock.

What's the relationship between soil biology and carbon?

24 February 2014

Soil carbon can be significantly increased by retaining crop stubble after harvest; however adoption is constrained by difficulties of sowing into subsequent crops, with up to 50 percent of farmers' still burning stubble across south eastern Australia.

Stubble-forum-will-explore-the-relationship-between-soil-biology-and-carbonResearch by Graham Centre member and CSIRO researcher Dr Clive Kirkby shows that stubble incorporated with added nutrients increases carbon sequestration by 3-10 times in the top 30 centimetres of soil.

Approximately 45 people attended a Stubble Technical Forum at Corowa on Wednesday 5 March, 2014, as part of the Graham Centre's stubble project, 'Enabling landholders to adopt profitable and sustainable carbon cropping practices'.

"The forum is being held in conjunction with Riverine Plains and provides a platform for growers, researchers and industry experts to engage and network, building knowledge and understanding about the use of stubble for carbon sequestration," Professor Lemerle, Graham Centre Director said.

Dr Pauline Mele and Dr Lori Phillips, Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries, will deliver the keynote address looking at soil biology and its relationship to carbon.

Visiting Endeavour scholar boosts links with China

24 February 2014

Professor-Mingang-XU-is-visiting-the-Graham-Centre-for-2-months-as-an-Endeavour-Executive-scholarThe Endeavour Executive Scholar, Professor Minggang XU, Deputy Director General of the Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences is visiting the Graham Centre for 2 months.

The main aims during his visit are to better understand the research and development of agriculture in Australia; to develop skills for administrative and leadership capabilities to manage research on an institute scale; and develop collaborative linkages between China and Australia, particularly in the field of agricultural resources and utilisation.

During his 2 month stay, he will access new facilities at the Graham Centre including the rhizolysimeter, controlled environment facilities, field experimental sites, and speak with researchers and farmers.

Professor XU will visit and talk with scientists and groups involved in soil and plant nutrition, climate change and adaption, crop production, pastures and weeds, to learn new and engaging practices such as soil organic carbon sequestration practices and modeling, soil improvement and lime application practices and weed control practices. He will also do presentations and attend scientific workshops, meetings and forums.

Visiting scientist boosts weed population dynamics modelling

24 February 2014

Associate-Professor-Jianmin-LIN-will-work-with-Dr-Hanwen-Wu-at-the-Graham-Centre-for-the-coming-three-monthsAssociate Professor Jianmin LIN has recently joined the Graham Centre as a visiting scientist working on weed modelling. He will spend about 3 months in the Centre under the supervision of Dr Hanwen Wu.      

Associate Professor Jianmin LIN is the Deputy Director of the Institute of Applied Research, College of Mathematical Sciences, Hua Qiao University, Fujian, China. He has extensive experience in computer programming, software development and tertiary teaching.

He will construct simulation models on existing data collected under laboratory and glasshouse conditions and from field experiments. Hydrothermal time models will be used to predict the emergence of a number of weed species such as fleabane, barley grass, wild radish and silverleaf nightshade. His short visit will greatly facilitate international collaborations and enhance the weed research capability of the Weed Group in the Centre.

Strengthening industry partnerships

Professor-Deirdre-Lemerle-Director-Graham-Centre-Associate-Professor_Helen_Scott_Orr-NSW-Coordinator-The-Crawford-Fund_and_Professor_Leslie-Weston_CSU 19 February 2014

Visits to the Centre over the past week by Meat and Livestock Australia and The Crawford Fund, has allowed for strategic exploration of a model for seamless RD&E in our region and discussion around future capacity building. PhD students and researchers also spoke about their research during a tour of the facilities, showcasing our RD&E capacity. Grower Groups are a critical link in the RD&E model and the Centre has strong partnerships with a number of grower groups across southern Australia. FarmLink, Central West Farming Systems and Holbrook Landcare Network participated in the recent meetings. We welcome the opportunity for industry to visit the Centre to further strengthen existing partnerships and develop new ones.

Stubble retention knowledge review to guide RD&E

19 February 2014

A review of existing knowledge of the benefits and challenges associated with retaining crop stubbles in the southern cropping region will guide future grains industry investments in relevant research, development and extension (RD&E).

Stubble-review-to-guide-future-grains-industry-investments-in-relevant-RD&EThe Grains Research Development Corporation (GRDC) commissioned the review to indentify gaps in what is known about the impact of stubble retention in southern cropping systems, to ensure appropriate RD&E initiatives are put in place to fill the voids in knowledge and validation, leading to more consistent results for growers with stubble retention.

The review, Developments in Stubble Retention in Cropping Systems in Southern Australia, was undertaken by a project team comprising New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and Graham Centre (Wagga Wagga) personnel.

The review is an update of the Graham Centre's previous report – Stubble Retention in Cropping Systems in Southern Australia: Benefits and Challenges – and its findings will now underpin the GRDC's $17.5 million, five-year 'Maintaining Profitable Farming Systems with Retained Stubble' initiative that has been instigated by the GRDC Southern Regional Panel and the four Regional Cropping Solutions Networks that support the panel. Read more at GRDC

'Weedsmart Ask an expert' - Up the competition

19 February 2014

Weedsmart-is-an-industry-led-initative-that-aims-to-enhance-on-farm-pracitices-and-promote-the-long-term-sustainable-use-of-herbicides-in-Australian-agricutlure.Excellent establishment of all crops and the strategic use of highly competitive cultivars are powerful management practices that can limit the opportunities for herbicide resistant weeds to take hold.

Lead scientist and director of the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation at Charles Sturt University, Professor Deirdre Lemerle said the genetic control for competitiveness involves multiple genes and is too complex to easily select for in most crops.

"Breeding for competitive advantage has not generally been considered a key aspect of plant breeding programs in the past," she said. "We now know that it is an important agronomic trait and it is being considered in more breeding programs."

How to ask a WeedSmart question

Ask your questions about crop competition, or any other herbicide resistance management strategy, using Twitter @WeedSmartAU or on the WeedSmart website

Questions will be answered online, through our interactive blog, and may also be shared with other growers through this column.

'WeedSmart' is an industry-led initiative that aims to enhance on-farm practices and promote the long term, sustainable use of herbicides in Australian agriculture.

Soil scientist recognised for communicating research outcomes

12 February 2014

GRDC-Southern-Panel-Deputy-Chair-Dr-Chris-Blanchard-presents-Dr-Mark-Conyers-with-the-2104-Seed-of-Light-AwardA New South Wales research scientist who continues to play a leading role in grains industry advances has been officially recognised for his efforts and achievements in communicating the outcomes of research.

Mark Conyers, a soil science authority with the NSW Department of Primary Industries, has been named the recipient of the 2014 Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Southern Region Seed of Light award.

The Seed of Light award was presented to Dr Conyers at the GRDC grains research Update in Temora this week. Read the full story.

Bureau of Meterology Climate Statement for 2013

7 February 2014

Climate of 2013...Australia recorded its hottest year on record in 2013, about 1.2 degrees above average, and it's hottest summer and winter days on record. Heatwaves and warm spells were frequent during 2013. This 2 minute YouTube video outlines some key points of Australia's climate in 2013.

Improving scientists animal health capacity in Papua New Guinea

24 January 2014

Four science graduates from Papua New Guinea (PNG) arrived on 20 January as part of a three-month training program aimed at developing their understanding of animal health and their diagnostic skills.

Tania-Areori-Heather-Taitibe-Wallace-Takendu-and-Daniel-Solomon-PNG-with-Dr-Andrew-Peters-CSUThe program involves field sampling as part of surveillance for significant wildlife diseases, laboratory processing of samples and the subsequent analysis and publication of results. This training, supported by the Graham Centre and the Commonwealth's Wildlife Exotic Disease Preparedness Program, is designed to address the very low capacity in animal health in PNG. Despite having a population of 6 million people, many of whom are highly dependent on wild and domestic animals for food and other materials, PNG has only three national vets. Professor Shane Raidal and Dr Andrew Peters of the Graham Centre are attempting to improve this situation by developing the animal health capacity of scientists already working in PNG.

The four graduates come from different regions of PNG and have a range of interests.

Tania Areori is from Madang and has studied a Bachelor of Science at the University of PNG (UPNG), with her Honours project looking at nesting range and characteristics of Silky Cuscus (a type of possum). Her interest is in doing veterinary science.

Heather Taitibe is from Milne Bay and has studied a Bachelor of Science at UPNG, focusing on frog ecology and the impact of climate change on Manus Island. She is particularly interested in herpetology and is looking at doing a Masters degree.

Daniel Solomon is from the Eastern Highlands and, having completed a Bachelor of Science (Forestry) at the University of Technology in Lae, is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Science Honours program at UPNG, focusing on anthropogenic threats and traditional use of Long-beaked Echidnas in the Highlands of PNG. Daniel would like to further investigate the biogeography of the various Long-beaked Echidna species of New Guinea.

Wallace Takendu works as an intern biologist for the Wildlife Conservation Society and is currently studying the factors affecting the abundance of the Admiralty Cuscus in three villages of Manus Island. He has also completed a Bachelor of Science at UPNG.

Asia scholarship support for CSU student

22 January 2014

PhD-student-David-Gale-has-received-a-2014-Prime-Minister's-Australia-Asia-outgoing-Postgraduate-Scholarship-from-the-Australian-GovernmentIt is a well worn path from Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Wagga Wagga to Vietnam's Mekong Delta for research student Mr David Gale, but it will be made a little easier in 2014 with the assistance of a prestigious scholarship.

The Graham Centre PhD student has been named a recipient of a 2014 Prime Minister's Australia Asia Outgoing Postgraduate Scholarship from the Australian Government.

Mr Gale will use the scholarship to support his 12-month field research from the middle of 2014 into the interactions between compost, synthetic fertilisers and crops in Vietnam.

"The scholarship will help support me during glasshouse and field trials in Vietnam," said Mr Gale, who is based in the School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences at CSU in Wagga Wagga.

"I will work out of Can Tho University as its location in the Mekong Delta enables direct access to local farmland impacted by acid sulphate soils. Read more on CSU News.

Green eggs, no sham

15 January 2014

Dr Seuss might have made them famous, but Charles Sturt University (CSU) researchers hope that 'green eggs' may improve animal welfare in layer hen operations.

"At the moment there's no simple, cost effective way of determing the sex of a chick until it's hatched so day-old male layer chicks are mass culled," said Dr Nigel Urwin, a Senior Lecturer in Genetics at CSU. Read more on CSU News.

New $2.1 million grains research centre at CSU

10 January 2014

Charles Sturt University (CSU) has secured Australian Research Council (ARC) funding to establish a new $2.15 million Centre for food science research. The ARC Training Centre for Functional Grains, funded through the Industrial Transformation Training Centres program for 2014 to 2016, is being hailed as a valuable opportunity to add to the Australian grains industry.

The new Centre will be a research hub for grain scientists from CSU, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and CSIRO, and will focus on three commodities - rice, pulses, and canola.

Also involved is the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation – a collaborative research alliance between CSU and NSW DPI.

Other partners include GrainGrowers, MSM Milling, Flavour Makers, Teys Australia, Woods Grains, Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council, Grains Research and Development Corporation and Rural Industry Research and Development Corporation. Read more at CSU News.