Australian Agronomy Conference - February 2003

SOME 400 delegates are expected for the Australian Society of Agronomy's 11th biennial conference in Geelong, 2-6 February 2003. The biennial conference has become the principal forum for exchange of information on traditional and innovative agronomy between re searchers, extension speciali s ts, advi sers and industry personnel, and increasingly growers.

For 2003, the committee has taken the opportunity to broaden the scope of the conference beyond 'traditional' agronomy, under the general theme of "Solutions for a Better Environment".

Specific sessions are planned on biotechnology, new crops and crop products, new solutions for salinity, market perspectives, global warming and precision agriculture. The Society recognises that agronomic research must focus on innovative technologies, linked to an increased awareness of the impact of agronomic practices on the environment, the sustainability of production systems, and the welfare of rural communities.

Keynote speakers include Professor Tim Reeves, a former President of the Agronomy Society and Director General of CIMMYT; Professor Phil Cocks, CEO of the new CRC for Plant Based Management of Dryland Salinity; Peter Gregory, Professor of Soil Science at the University of Reading; and Dr John Williams, Chief of CSIRO Division of Land and Water.

Peter Gregory will talk on 'Global Environment Change and Future Crop Production'. He will use his experience as a member of the international Global Environmental Change and Food Systems (GECAFS) program, and draw on his research interests in sustainable systems of crop production.

Five field tours will cover a wide range of agricultural, research and industry ventures within 50 km of Geelong:

  • achieving market targets through optimal use of pastures (dairy, bull beef and prime lambs)
  • Werribee Food and Agriculture Precinct (Melbourne Water, EPA, AgriFood Technologies, Food Science Australia)
  • high value agriculture (buckwheat, pyrethrum, potatoes, piggery)
  • value chain (Incitec, Barret Burston, Grain Terminal)
  • raised-bed cropping systems (with Southern Farming Systems).

Full proceedings will be available on CD and the web site (

The GRDC is providing generous sponsorship for the conference and urges researchers, growers, advisers, consultants and industry personnel with an interest in agronomy, the environment and Australia's rural communities to attend.

For further information, please contact:

  • Ben Thiessen at Conference Design - accommodation, tran sport and organisation (ben@cdes [] 0362243773
  • Bob Belford, President of the Australian Agronomy Society; VIDA, Private Bag 260, Natimuk Road, Horsham Vic 3401 ( 5362 2112
  • Sue Knights, Secretary of the Australian Agronomy Society; RMB 3000, Horsham Vic 3401 ( 0353847396