Profitable and sustainable crops and pastures through improved management.
Research Pathway Leader: Professor Jim Pratley
NB List is sorted alphabetically by Researcher.
They may be small but dung beetles can provide some big ecosystem benefits on-farm. The Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers (DBEE) project aims to fill in the gaps in the distribution of beetles in southern Australia by introducing new species. It will also build on previous research to: expand the distribution of existing species; develop a supply and distribution pipeline so more livestock producers can access beetles.The national research project will also quantify the ecosystem services and economic benefits provided by dung beetles. Check out the project website here.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Funding source: MLA through the Australian Government Rural R&D for Profit program
This research is undertaken as part of a Murray LLS project 'Climate change adaptation in Southern NSW lower rainfall agriculture'. The aim of the overall project is to undertake a biophysical and economic assessment of whole farm performance for three irrigated Murray Valley mixed farming systems at two sites (east and west), and model the impact of a projected climate and irrigation allocation scenario. The objective of the FarmEcon project is to develop a framework capable of integrating AusFarm simulations over 35 years to produce whole farm financial and economic analyses. Key collaborators are Michael Cashen, Kim Broadfoot, Phil Graham and Anthony Clark (NSW DPI). [Ref: 101585]
This project proposes an unprecedented information delivery approach, through a grower-centred bottom-up approach in differing geographic ranges across five states to improve adoption of recommended weed control practices. With the aim of benefitting the largest number of growers possible, farm scale participatory on-farm validation sites of best practice (BMP) will be conducted through active coordination of state and local government agencies, private sector contractors and advisors, and local growers groups. Research activity will refine the BMP to be relevant to individual producer's business context. Improved adoption of BMP will be achieved through raising awareness, identifying drivers and barriers of adoption, demonstrating the biological and economic benefits of BMP, and developing regionally adapted BMP (see http://silverleafnightshade.org.au). Collaborating researchers include Dr Hanwen Wu (PI), Karen Herbert, Phil Bowden and Associate Professor Vaughan Higgins. [Ref: 101981]
The rice industry is not different from dryland cropping in that herbicide resistance is a major issue. Resistance was reported in more than 35% of populations, in 3 weed species, to a major rice herbicide, in a survey 16 years ago. With limited herbicide options available in rice this has placed increased selection pressure on the development of resistance to other rice herbicides. Surveys will be undertaken across the rice growing regions of southern NSW to collect samples of 6 major rice weed species. These samples will be screened for resistance to a number of different herbicides to determine the current level of resistance present across the rice growing regions. [Ref: 101519]
It is estimated that herbicide resistant weeds cost Australian farmers more than $200 million annually. This project aims to determine the extent of herbicide resistance in weeds of winter crops across the cereal growing region. Surveys of randomly selected cropping paddocks are being undertaken, that collect seeds of grass (eg. ryegrass, wild oats, brome grass and barley grass) and broadleaf (eg. wild radish, Indian hedge mustard, wild turnip, fleabane and sow thistle) weed species.These weeds are screened for resistance to a wide range of herbicides commonly used for their control. This is a joint project between CSU, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, University of Adelaide and University of Western Australia. [Ref: 101177]
Certain crop species and cultivars suppress weeds effectively at standard establishment rates due to their ability to effectively compete with weeds for resources, or potential allelopathic effects associated with the crop or remaining residues after harvest. Canola is noted for its weed suppressive effects and is being evaluated in trials (grain and grazing cultivars). Subsequent weed growth and seed viability on the soil surface or in the upper soil layer under minimum tillage and conventional cultivation are being evaluated. The trials are an extension of research that evaluated Brassica napus cultivars and their ability to suppress weeds through crop competition, potential allelopathic effects and post-harvest and summer weed emergence. [Ref: 101533]
Contact: Leslie Weston Funding Source: Pacific Seeds
The Mekong Delta of Vietnam produces 50% of the nation's food yet this production is challenged by ever increasing salinization associated with climate change and changes to upstream water resource management. In order to maintain food security and profitability for Vietnamese farmers, alternatives to current agricultural practices are required. This project aims to identify key research gaps that exist within the matrix of current development research within the Mekong Delta which are aimed to mitigate the effects of climate change on agricultural production. The project involves collaboration with Dr Sergio Moroni and Susan Orgill (Graham Centre), Murdoch University, UNE and Can Tho University, Vietnam. [Ref: 102062]
The MDBA and NCGRT entered a 3 year strategic research partnership in January 2015. The partnership recognises the critical role groundwater plays in the Basin and assumes there are opportunities to increase agricultural production by integrating surface and groundwater management. The NCGRT team includes CSU (socio-economic), Flinders University (hydrogeology) and ANU (integration/modelling) and is undertaking case studies in the Campaspe (Victoria) and Murrumbidgee (NSW). The CSU team of Professor Allan Curtis and Dr Jenifer Ticehurst is working with stakeholders to identify and evaluate (at pre-feasibility stage) opportunities for conjunctive use of water, assess the adoptability of on-farm water use efficiency, and explore the social acceptability of groundwater trading. [Ref: 101741]
Professor Allan Curtis and Dr Emily Mendham have been engaged to assist the Wimmera CMA evaluate outcomes of investments in sustainable agriculture by the Australian Government. A key focus is on the extent farmers are becoming 'flexible and adaptive managers.' The research also supports the next phase of a longitudinal study involving a survey of 2000 rural landholders in 2016. Previous surveys were undertaken in 2002, 2007 and 2011. These surveys explore the adoption of best practice and trends in social and farming structure. [Ref: 101042]
The NC CMA is the lead agency for the Gunbower Forest Key Asset Protection, Gunbower Forest Living Murray and the Gunbower Creek Environmental Water Management Plan projects. These projects are a key part of efforts to achieve the best possible outcomes from environmental water releases intended to improve the health of Gunbower Forest. As part of their long-term research collaboration with the NC CMA, Professor Allan Curtis and Dr Emily Mendham have been engaged to assess the social acceptability of these projects. Stakeholder interviews and a survey of 500 local residents were conducted in 2014 and will be repeated in 2017. [Ref: 101024]
Ammonia fertilisers added to soil are oxidised to nitrite and then nitrate by soil bacteria, preventing their use by crops. The use of nitrification inhibitors can slow the oxidation process, allowing greater use of applied fertilisers by plants, and potentially increasing crop yields for farmers. This project investigates the use of nitrapyrin to inhibit nitrification in a variety of field soils to identify important factors leading to its optimal functionality. [Ref: 101711]
The aim of this project is to improve the profitability of lowland farming systems by increasing dry season crop production through the improved management and use of water, improved crop nutrition and the alleviation of key soil constraints. [Ref: 100914] Read more
This study aims to identify strategies for optimising coffee production and other foods on smallholder farms in PNG. It involves a comprehensive review of current production systems for coffee and major food crops to identify productivity constraints and how to overcome them. Information on existing consumptive horticulture crops will be collected, and the feasibility of other potential production options, including consideration for associated socio-cultural factors affecting productivity will be investigated. Concurrently, an assessment of factors influencing coffee production, including plant material, cropping patterns, nutrition/water and pest and diseases will also be undertaken. The influence of post-harvest management on coffee quality will also be considered. The findings will be used to shape a further, more expansive, subsequent study proposal. [Ref: 101868]
Contact: Dr Scott Glyde Funding Source: ACIAR
This project is developing a biological understanding of the syndrome and its causal pathogen that is important as this determines the risk management strategy and future control efforts. This is particularly significant to PNG as coconut is a major crop and other palms and banana may be affected by the same or a closely related phytoplasma. An important International Coconut Genbank of coconut germplasm for the whole pacific region is located in Madang Province. This will be threatened by any expansion of the affected area so a rescue plan is being implemented. BCS also constitutes the first recorded coconut lethal yellowing disease in Oceania, so is of regional significance. [Ref: 100978]
This project contributes to the development goal of improving the livelihoods of sweetpotato producers and their communities, especially in the highlands of PNG, with a main focus on facilitating the development of commercial sweetpotato production and marketing. A subsidiary development goal is to promote the economic engagement of women in sweetpotato value chains. The central technical aim of this project is to develop, test and promote the adoption of sustainable solutions to the major crop protection threats to sweetpotato. The result of the pilot study is available in the open access journal PeerJ (https://peerj.com/preprints/2394/). [Ref: 101666]
This project aims to increase the productivity of the feedbase in mixed enterprise systems of WA and NSW to close the feedgaps left by decreased clover production and increased cropping frequency that removed valuable pasture legumes and changing rainfall patterns. The project will focus upon introducing alternative robust pasture legumes and elite rhizobia through a novel approach to pasture establishment (summer and strategic dry sowing). This will lead to increased feedbase productivity which increases sheep growth rate, results in earlier weaning and higher reproductive performance as a result of increased protein for growth and weight maintenance. Scientific inputs will come from the legume development scientists at DAFWA and Charles Sturt University, and the pasture rhizobium scientists at Murdoch University. [Ref: 100794]
A series of events to disseminate knowledge and information related to integrated farming systems, including the production of non-rice crops, livestock and mechanisation in the rice-growing lowlands of southern Laos to diversify smallholder livelihoods and income streams. The 'travelling roadshow' aims to convey to the broader community key messages from a number of past and present ACIAR projects using a combination of unconventional and conventional extension methods. The main focus of these events, held during March 2017, was the introduction of generalised topics through a light-hearted, humoristic education program designed and developed by a team of international and local technical specialists and theatrical performers. [Ref. 102052]
This project builds on the previous two phases of research in China, designed to rehabilitate degraded grasslands and improve herder incomes. It is a collaboration between the Chinese, Mongolian and Australian Governments, working with two institutions in each country. Both China and Mongolia spend large amounts of money each year aimed at improving the environmental values of grasslands (China spends $2b per year on grasslands) and on poverty alleviation. The aim of this policy project is to devise improvements in the way these funds can be used to ensure lasting benefits. [Ref: 101565]
This is the second phase of a large collaborative project between the Australian and Chinese Governments that aims to improve the 400m ha of degraded grasslands and improve herder incomes across China. Herders are among the poorest people in China. China has funded $40m in associated projects. We provide the core coordination and modelling tools used to analyse grassland, livestock farms while 5 Chinese groups provide data, manage large field experiments and run hundreds of demonstration farms. We have shown that stocking rates can be reduced and household income increased, and as a result, grasslands are now in better condition. [Ref: 5103]
This project is a collaborative arrangement between CSU and NSW DPI. CSU will focus on the mechanisms of innovative amendments in the amelioration of acid soils and the corresponding effect on crop plants. A strategic evaluation for tolerance to soil acidity will also be done among current crop varieties. The research will be carried out in the controlled environment facilities at CSU and in the field experimental program that is managed by CSU and NSW DPI. [Ref: 101174]
This project is collaborative arrangement between CSU, NSW DPI and CSIRO. The main focus of the CSU component is to provide a deeper understanding of the phenological and physiological processes that govern growth, development, rooting depth, water-uptake and water-use efficiency in canola. Detailed studies will use the growth-cabinets and rhizolysimeter facilities at CSU, complementing the broader field experimental program managed by NSW DPI and CSIRO. [Ref: 101691]
Significant yield advances have been made in the low rainfall southern region as the result of gains in water use efficiency. However, cropping remains risky in these environments and the Low Rainfall Regional Cropping Solutions Network has identified the need to develop farming systems with lower input costs. This project investigates how the application of Low Input Sustainable Agriculture (LISA) or Low Input Farming Systems (LIFS) strategies can be integrated into the practices of grain growers in the low rainfall zones of the GRDC southern region. Partnerships have been developed between the Graham Centre and the low rainfall farming systems groups: Central West Farming Systems (CWFS), Mallee Sustainable Farming Systems (MSF), Birchip Cropping Group Incorporated (BCG) and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) (representing the Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research Foundation (EPARF) and Upper North Farming Systems (UNFS)) to identify research outcomes, economic feasibility and the suitability of implementation at the regional level. [Ref: 100809]
A literature review of greenhouse gas emissions (Carbon dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxides) was produced for the Holbrook Landcare Network (HLN) as part of a Carbon Farming Project. The implications for farming systems in the HLN area was presented and included Life Cycle Assessment procedures and management strategies. [Ref: 100961]
The project is developing low-risk, low-cost options for establishing understorey in revegetation initiatives that allow the creation of less weedy and more complex communities and habitats. It is evaluating agronomic principles of plant population, spacing, density, competition, seed treatment and seedbed requirements to develop establishment and management guidelines and information packages. The principles and on-site/off-site benefits of more complex understories (weed reduction, IPM, shelterbelts, connectivity) will be demonstrated through collaboration with agencies and landholder groups undertaking revegetation initiatives. The project works across southern and central NSW with a key focus on the wheatbelt where greater landscape complexity is critical. [Ref: 100901]
The development of the cotton industry in southern NSW makes quick and even crop germination an imperative so crop yields are not compromised. The project looked at the impact of rice production as well as the allelopathic impact of residues on subsequent cotton establishment and mycorrhizal associations. The outcomes are important for determining rotation management in order to minimise the impacts. [Ref: 101166]
Herbicide resistance is rife and is a particular challenge in annual ryegrass. The prospect exists to use the chemical exudates of crop plants to give effective to weed control without herbicide inputs. This research involves laboratory screening of a wide range of germplasm, and field trials of selected genotypes for proof of concept. Identification of the bioactive compounds is also important as a potential source of 'natural' herbicides. [Ref: 101346]
Current testing for herbicide resistance requires growing the collected weed seeds and treating with herbicide to see whether the weed survives. The use of Diversity Arrays Technology (DArT) potentially allows resistance determination in-season, (ie. 9 months earlier than is currently done.) This would also enable one test for all resistances provided the background library and markers are established. [Ref: 101289]
Contact: Prof Jim Pratley Funding Source: Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (DAWR)
The East India Plateau is characterised by endemic poverty, food insecurity, comparatively low agricultural productivity, lack of irrigation infrastructure and civil unrest. The project will embed on-farm agricultural research within a rural development project building on previous research. It aims to change farmer and development officer perceptions away from traditional mono-cropping systems to flexible and diverse cropping systems that better utilise available but largely unrecognised water resources.
The project aims to improve plant biosecurity in the Mekong region, with a specific focus on commodity production systems. Each partner is conducting research and diagnostics of plant pests and diseases, with collaborative research and verification of diagnoses being undertaken within the region. The aims will be achieved via the establishment of standard diagnostic protocols, taking into account technical capabilities of each partner, enhancing capacity of crop protection and plant quarantine staff in diagnostics, the utilisation of knowledge networks within the diagnostic framework, and the creation and maintenance of disease records that meet the need for pest reporting in both local, regional and international biosecurity systems. [Ref: 100461]
The project aims to (1) Refine crop-livestock technologies to intensify and diversify production and marketing systems in community hubs in Phin, Phalanxay, Champhone and Phonthong Districts in Savannakhet and Champassak Provinces in southern Lao PDR, (2) Assess potential effectiveness of alternative systems approaches, and (3) Initiate innovation platforms with partners for commercialisation and co-learning. Outcomes include increased income, reduced risk and increased institutional capacity across the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), Provincial and District Agricultural and Forestry Offices (PAFO, DAFO) in Lao PDR, and CSU. [Ref: 101149]
This project is evaluating diverse strategies including crop rotation, herbicide application, seeding rates and other cultural practices to effectively manage new and emerging weeds of importance across the southern and western regions of Australia including NSW, VIC, SA and WA. Herbicide resistance in emerging weeds of importance including fleabane, sowthistle, Indian hedge mustard, bromegrass and barley grass, is also under evaluation to determine rate of resistance in emerging weeds throughout the southern and western region. [Ref: 101035]
The overall objective for this project is the development of weed management techniques and strategies that allow the mitigation and avoidance of problems associated with the widespread occurrence of herbicide resistance in northern region cropping weeds. Initially a region wide survey will establish the extent of herbicide resistance in the dominate weed species of northern region winter and summer and identify the occurrence and in-crop population densities of these weed species across the region. Herbicide innovation will focus on the development of new and alternate herbicidal weed control techniques. The lead investigators from each of the five programs will develop an outreach program for the dissemination of weed control developments throughout the northern region specifically and but also nationally where relevant. [Ref: 101978]
Contact: Prof Leslie Weston Founding Source: GRDC
This project evaluates the performance of selected genetically diverse wheat cultivars and accessions in multiple locations across NSW, for their ability to suppress weeds both in crop, due to early vigour and post-harvest, due to the presence of suppressive crop residues in crop fallows. Newly released cultivars and accessions showing early vigour, and the heritage cultivar Federation, were studied for their ability to suppress weeds. Parameters including early growth and vigour and light interception by canopy, have proven important in weed suppression. Secondary metabolites produced by the plant and its residues were also studied to determine their role in weed suppression as potential allelochemicals. [Ref: 100950]
This project is evaluating chemical and non-chemical strategies to reduce herbicide resistant weeds (particularly bromegrass and barleygrass) in pasture rotations. These strategies involve targeted grazing, application of herbicides, use of competitive rotational legumes and summer fallow crops, and ensilage of weed seeds to reduce weed seedbank numbers over time. Herbicide resistant weeds were also surveyed across VIC, TAS, NSW and SA in pasture settings to evaluate the development and rate of resistance over a 5 year survey period across southern Australia. Seed infestation of sheep carcases was also evaluated with respect to region, sheep age, sex, and local climate. Strategies to reduce carcase contamination through targeted management strategies for barley and bromegrass were developed. An electronic HACPP-based tool for producers was developed and used to assess producer risk and efficacious strategies for weed management. [Ref: 100682]
Various non-chemical and chemical strategies are used in cereal crops to improve weed management in mixed farming systems across southern Australia. The use of high and low input systems for herbicide application and choice of rotational crops to control annual ryegrass and bromegrass are being investigated. Using herbicide resistant legumes for long-term weed suppression in large seeded bean crops is also being evaluated. The incidence of herbicide resistance to commonly applied herbicide families from populations collected in random surveys conducted in cereal fields across VIC, TAS, NSW and SA was investigated by region. The use of weed suppressive wheat, canola, and barley cultivars to reduce weed populations was evaluated in multiple locations. Projects evaluating the mechanism of weed suppression in selected competitive wheat cultivars and mechanisms of herbicide resistance in glyphosate resistant fleabane populations are also underway. [Ref: 100657]
This project has studied Paterson's curse (Echium plantagineum) genetics, ecology and chemistry as they impact plant invasion. Multi-trophic level approaches to these studies involve the investigation of the plant and its interactions with other weedy species, insect herbivores and insect biocontrol agents. Bioactive naphthoquinones in root exudates and periderm and toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids in shoots play critical roles in plant defence. Both abiotic and biotic stressors including temperature, herbivory, plant competition and drought were shown to strongly impact the production of naphthoquinones, and to a lesser extent, pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Genetic diversity and fecundity are also likely important factors in invasion success. [Ref: 100160]
|Student||Full Project Title||Supervisors||School|
|Kelly, J||The impact of weed seeds on sheep production for different sheep genotypes|
Impacts of the pasture legume phase on the seedbank, establishment, and growth of barnyard grass (Echinochloa crusg-galli) in drill-sown rice.
|Subhan, N||Bioprospecting Australian Acacia||Obied|
The researchers in the research discipline groups collaborate to form our multi-disciplinary research projects to address the complex problems facing food and fibre production systems.