Grains Research and Development

Date: 20.01.2016

Mike McLaughlin Panel Profile

Author: Sharon Watt
Mike McLaughlin

Based in Adelaide in South Australia, Mike is a researcher with the University of Adelaide and CSIRO at the Waite campus.

He specialises in soil fertility and crop nutrition, as well as contaminants in fertilisers, wastes, soils and crops.

Mike currently manages the Fertiliser Technology Research Centre at the University of Adelaide and has a wide network of contacts and collaborators nationally and internationally in the fertiliser industry and in soil fertility research.

Originally from Ireland, Mike studied in Ireland and the UK before moving to Australia to undertake his doctorate studies.

He has been associated with wheat industry research since 1983 when he studied for his PhD looking at phosphorus fertiliser strategies in wheat-pasture rotations.

Mike says he joined the Southern Regional Panel “to start to give back to the grains industry in Australia”.

“I would like to be part of the process of setting research investment priorities and also giving back in terms of capacity building and bringing young researchers into agriculture.

“I’ve been associated with the GRDC since 1983 and they helped fund the project that I was involved in as part of my PhD. Since then I have been involved in many projects with the GRDC.”

Mike’s affiliation with the GRDC has increased in recent years through his involvement in the More Profit from Crop Nutrition initiative, for which he chairs the program advisory committee.

Mike recognises that a wide range of cropping issues confront growers in the southern cropping region. “Weeds, pests, diseases and climate variability pose constant challenges,” he says.

“Personally, I’m particularly interested in the management of nitrogen in a variable climate, which is a critical issue for grain growers. And non-wetting and sandy soils are also big issues for growers in the drier parts of the southern region.”

Mike believes management of subsoils is likely to be the next frontier in crop nutrition to boost productivity and profits for growers. “We need to increase the fertility of subsoils to allow crops to access water beneath the surface so they can produce more grain.”

Mike is looking forward to contributing his expertise in soils and crop nutrition to the Southern Panel’s discussions and decision-making and hopes his personal experience with overseas research initiatives will be a positive asset for the Panel and the GRDC.

“At the same time I’m keen to learn more about other aspects of crop production and farming systems in the southern region. Since becoming a Panel member I’ve already learnt more about GRDC investments in programs such as the National Variety Trials, the National Frost Initiative and heat tolerance research.”

M 0409 693 906

E michael.mclaughlin@adelaide.edu.au or Mike.McLaughlin@csiro.au

Region South