Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

From the Acting Director

Dr Ehsan Tavakkoli and teamI am writing this Director’s report not from my office at the Graham Centre but from home. Like many people Graham Centre staff are working remotely while the COVID-19 restrictions are in place.

Of course that doesn’t mean our activity has stopped, in fact I’ve been impressed by the commitment of our members to continue teaching, research and engagement through the pandemic and the innovative ways they are overcoming challenges.

We’ve seen Honours research students set up microscopes on the kitchen table, field trials continue with appropriate social distancing, scientists showcasing their findings in webinars and of course we’re all learning to connect through technology and what seems an endless schedule of zoom meetings.

I know that many farmers are used to working alone but I also know how important it is to come together in the agricultural sector. Honours student Jordan Bathgate set up the microscope on the kitchen table to keep workingThere’ll be an opportunity to do just that when the Graham Centre Livestock Forum is held online on Friday 31 July.

While COVID-19 is preventing large face-to-face gatherings we’re making use of an interactive digital platform for the Livestock Forum so that people will still be able to network and tap into the latest research from Charles Sturt University, the NSW Department of Primary Industries and industry. We know how much the event is valued and are embracing the opportunity to allow more people to attend online from the comfort of their home.  I hope to see you there.

Graham Centre Acting Director Professor Leigh Schmidtke.
photo captions

Graham Centre researchers Graeme Heath and Dr Russ Barrow have been busy establishing research sites as part of the Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers project. This site is at Rennylea, near Wymah in southern NSW. The research is gathering data to assess and quantify the impacts the beetles are having on such things as pasture growth, soil carbon content and nutrient profiles.Top: Graham Centre member and NSW DPI researcher Dr Ehsan Tavaookoli and his team sowing trials and soil sampling as part of research looking at subsoil constraints.(photo Ehsan Tavakkoli)

Middle: Honours research student Jordan Bathgate set up a microscope on the kitchen table to continue his research, read more later in the Innovator. (photo courtesy Jordan Bathgate)

Middle 2: Graham Centre researchers Graeme Heath and Dr Russ Barrow have been busy establishing research sites as part of the Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers project. This site is at Rennylea, near Wymah in southern NSW. The research underway is focused on gathering data to assess and quantify the impacts dung beetles are having on such things as pasture growth, soil nutrient profiles, soil texture and organic matter content. (photo Lucinda Corrigan)Winter planting of weed competitive wheat underway for winter 2020 following healthy autumn rains in the Riverina

Bottom: Winter planting of weed competitive wheat underway for winter 2020 following healthy autumn rains in the Riverina, Dr Saliya Gurusinghe, Dr Shamsul Haque and Graeme Heath.

 

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