Transformational Farming Systems Research


7 May 2019

Time and Venues

Venues Local Time Time Zone
Adelaide Waite Campus – B101-FG-R00-SmallWICWest 12:00 pm ACST
Armidale – B55-FG-R00-Small 12:30 pm AEST
Bribie Island – B01-FG-Small 12:30 pm AEST
Brisbane St Lucia QBP – Room 3.323 12:30 pm AEST
Canberra Black Mountain – Discovery Lecture Theatre 12:30 pm AEST
Irymple (See Natalie Strickland) 12:30 pm AEST
Narrabri Myall Vale – Conference Room 12:30 pm AEST
Perth Floreat B40-F1-R46-Rossiter Room 10:30 am AWST
Sandy Bay (Hobart) – River View Room 12:30 pm AEST
Toowoomba – Meeting Room 12:30 pm AEST
Townsville (see Liz Do) 12:30 pm AEST
Werribee (Melbourne) – Peacock Room 12:30 pm AEST


Dr John Kirkegaard and Dr Julianne Lilley, CSIRO Agriculture and Food


Australian dryland agriculture has always been focused on the efficient capture, storage and use of rainfall, but the focus has sharpened since the Millennium drought and in the face of climate change. A hallmark of the last 30 years of agronomy research has been the use of benchmarks to assess crop performance against potential in order to diagnose constraints and opportunities for improvement.  Farming systems research combining on-farm agronomic experiments with crop systems modelling provides a powerful and transformational research framework.  We summarize a sequence of research projects since 2004 in southern Australia stimulated by the idea that stored subsoil water represented an underutilized resource, and that innovations in the farming system that could enhance its capture and use while maintaining productivity and reducing risk could be transformational.  As ever, progress was not linear, but numerous successive shorter-term projects aligned and persisted around the general theme, using the research framework described. We discuss the ways in which it is transforming farm productivity.

About the speakers

John Kirkegaard is a Chief Research Scientist who joined CSIRO in 1990 and his career has focussed on understanding soil-plant interactions to improve the productivity, resource-use efficiency and sustainability of dryland farming systems.  A hallmark of his innovative research has been his active integration of farmers and advisers into his research teams, which has undoubtedly led to more rapid adoption and impact in agriculture.  He has led numerous national research programs, and hosted international scientists in his team and is a regular invitee to international forums and advisory committees on agriculture and food security.   He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2016, was recipient of the Farrer Medal for distinguished contribution to agriculture in 2017, and is an ISI Web of Knowledge Highly Cited Researcher for Agricultural Sciences in 2018.

Julianne Lilley is Group Leader in the Soil and Plant Modelling team within CSIRO Agriculture and Food which develops and uses crop, pasture and livestock models in a farming systems context for application in agricultural research across Australia and internationally. Julianne is a crop scientist whose research has included climate change impacts, crop root system function, crop water-use efficiency, whole-farm productivity and resource protection. She applies crop physiological understanding embedded within crop simulation models to expand the outcomes of experiments and draw robust conclusions about the impacts of agricultural management decisions. She is currently involved in projects investigating farm management practices which optimise profitability of canola, and developing the Yield Gap Australia website, understanding canola phenology and improving the APSIM-Canola model.

John and Julianne were both members of the team that was awarded the 2014 Eureka Prize in Sustainable Agriculture for research to improve the water-use efficiency of Australian agriculture.

This is a public seminar.

Open-access to The CSIRO Discovery Theatre @ Black Mountain