Soil Science and Agronomy

Under performing agricultural soils cost Australian farmers billions of dollars a year in lost productivity.

Yields of some horticultural crops in Australia are 75% lower than the best overseas yields due to multiple constraints conferred by our soil.

To maximise crop yields under these constraints, farmers apply chemicals, fertilisers and amendments. They often make these complex management decisions with inadequate information and guidance, and only have access to ineffective and sub-optimal products.

The challenge

Integrated, innovative and multi-level approaches to agriculture are needed across all aspects of production to maximise yields, achieve sustainability and deliver on-farm solutions that lower costs and increase effectiveness.

Our mission

To develop innovative on-farm solutions, better crop establishment and growth, and sustainable management of soil to minimise soil degradation and maximise the water stored in the soil.

Our research initiatives

Professor Caixian Tang has been working on management of soil constraints and nutrients (N and P). He has studied the adaptations of grain legumes to alkaline soils, causes and management of soil acidification/ acidity in farming systems, the role of organic matter in soil pH change and in amelioration of soil acidity and subsoil constraints, screening wheat genotypes for tolerance to soil acidity, and the impacts of farming practices on soil carbon sequestration.

Developing management packages for early sown winter wheat

Associate Professor James Hunt’s work focuses on adaptation and management packages for new wheat genotypes with improved adaptation to climate change, particularly autumn rainfall decline.

National Phenology Initiative

Led by Associate Professor James Hunt, the GRDC (Grains Research and Development Corporation) National Phenology Initiative is a collaboration between:

  • La Trobe
  • CSIRO
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI)
  • South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI)
  • WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

It aims to predict flowering time of new wheat and barley cultivars.

Contact us

Inspired by our work? Enquire about our partnership opportunities.

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