DAS00169 - Improving sustainable productivity and profitability of Mallee farming systems with a focus on soil improvements

Project Summary

Project Start Date
16 March 2017
Project End Date
30 June 2021
Supervisor Name
Nigel Wilhelm
SA Research and Development Institute
The aims of the agronomy program within the bilateral agreement are that relevant and targeted research is undertaken in the main cropping regions of SA, that delivery of research outcomes to the regions is via locally relevant validation trials and that regional capacity is maintained in applied research and with farming systems groups. At the core of this bilateral initiative, is the recruitment, retention and training of the next generation of agronomists required to serve farmers' needs in the regions. As part of the bilateral agreement a research agronomist position has been created within SARDI to deliver applied research and validation in the SA mallee, to be based after training and induction at Loxton. This position will be based within the Farming Systems science area of SARDI which has a key focus on low rainfall farming systems and will be supported and mentored by staff within that science area and by other scientists and technicians also based at the Waite Research Precinct eg (within the Agriculture flagship of CSIRO, University of Adelaide and Rural Solutions SA). The mallee environment is a major but fragile agricultural production zone in southern Australia. Farming systems are dominated by large scale family farms which integrate cropping and livestock production across widely varing soil types in an environment characterised by low and variable rainfall. Many of these soils are coarse textured and highly weathered which makes them vulnerable to wind erosion, conducive to soil borne diseases and often very infertile. Crop and pasture production is constrained by these soil based limitations which results in poor conversion of the low and erratic rainfall into saleable commodities. This position will support local FS groups and other relevant organisations (eg NRM boards) to directly address and overcome productivity and sustainability constraints in the mallee zone of SA, with the results being directly applicable to other mallee systems of southern Australia. The incumbent will use these groups and other relevant organisations (eg Low rainfall RCSN) to identify high priority issues, add value to their existing D and E activites and intitiate their own to address these high priority issues. Due to the fragile and constrained nature of many mallee soils, this position will have a focus on soil-based constraints and develop skills and experience in this important area.
Published Date
14 February 2018

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