A NEW book which explores the evolution of Australian farming systems over the past 30 years was launched at the 19th Australian Agronomy Conference at Wagga Wagga in southern New South Wales this morning.
The e-book, ‘Australian Agriculture in 2020: From Conservation to Automation’, has been edited by Charles Sturt University Emeritus Professor Jim Pratley and CSIRO chief research scientist and Charles Sturt Adjunct Professor Dr John Kirkegaard.
Professor Pratley is the plant systems research pathway leader at the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, an alliance between Charles Sturt and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
He was the foundation Dean of the Faculty of Science and Agriculture at Charles Sturt, has been president of the Australian Society of Agronomy, and was awarded a Fellowship of the Society in 2017.
Professor Pratley said the book charted the changes in soil management practices in Australia’s history, as well as identified the challenges facing farmers in the decades ahead.
“This book celebrates the achievements of agronomy, the research teams, and farmers in transforming our agricultural landscape to one of soil stability,” he said.
“It details the changes to farming practice and technology, including new approaches to weed, pest and disease management.
“Of course, our understanding of sustainability has changed over time and the book also looks past 2020 to examine the challenges of climate change and the opportunities presented by digital agriculture and automation.”
Dr Kirkegaard is one of Australia’s long-standing agronomists and was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2016. In 2017, he was awarded the Farrer Medal for his contributions to agriculture.
“Farming systems must always evolve to meet emerging challenges, and the book records the success of partnerships between innovative farmers and evidence-based agronomy,” he said.
“It also demonstrates the optimism, ideas and emerging technologies that, with sufficient support, will meet the challenges of the future.”
The book is free to download on the websites of Agronomy Australia and the Graham Centre.
The Australian Agronomy Conference has drawn more than 300 agronomists, advisers and researchers to Wagga Wagga to explore the latest research to improve crop and pasture production under the theme, ‘Cells to Satellites’.
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