MORE than 300 agronomists and researchers are set to gather in Toowoomba later this month for the 20th Australian Agronomy Conference to share ideas, network, and strengthen collaborations with industry at the first such meeting in three years.
Hosted by the Australian Society of Agronomy, the biennial event was last held in Wagga Wagga, NSW, and COVID restrictions postponed the event originally scheduled to take place in Toowoomba last year.
The conference theme is System Solutions for Complex Problems, and covers topics including the need to foster soil biology for enduring profitability, carbon sequestration, herbicide resistance, and relationships between food production, energy and the environment.
Organising committee president and University of Queensland professor Daniel Rodriguez said the program holds wide appeal for delegates including growers, consultants and representatives of the agribusiness sector.
“The theme underpins the need to strengthen collaborations between practitioners and researchers from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds to address increasingly complex problems and uncertainties,” Professor Rodriguez said.
“The question is not if, but when and how multidisciplinary collaborations will be developed.”
Professor Rodriguez said the research community was looking forward to meeting face to face at the event, and interacting with agronomists who play a crucial part in helping growers chart the best way forward for their businesses and the environment.
Broad range of speakers
The conference features leading international and national speakers who will share up-to-the-minute research findings and insights, and the Donald Oration will be delivered by UQ adjunct professor Dr Brian Keating on the topic of Australian agronomy since 1973.
International keynote speakers addresses will come from Cornell University’s Professor Laurie Drinkwater on the topic of cover crops, and Professor Franck Dayan of Colorado State University, speaking about prospects for herbicide discovery.
From closer to home, NSW Department of Primary Industries senior principal research scientist Professor Annette Cowie will be speaking on the land sector’s role in meeting net zero, and while EY Net Zero Centre associate principal Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds will look at megatrends shaping Australian agricultural systems.
A highlight of the event will be the presentation of association awards, including the C.M. Donald Medal for Agronomy, the Young Agronomist Award, and three fellowships.
Expo, field days planned
The conference is being held across five venues within the Empire Theatre precinct in Toowoomba’s CBD from Monday September 18 to Thursday September 21, with Wednesday offering associated events in the form of an expo and field trips.
Agronomy Australia’s Expo will be held at the Goods Shed, across the line from the Toowoomba Railway Station.
It is open free of charge from noon to 3pm to growers, consultants and other industry participants who wish to interact with conference delegates and sponsors.
Four field tours have also been organised for the day, and transport to the sites will be staged from the Goods Shed in order to give conference delegates a chance to visit the expo upon their return.
The conference program runs all day on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
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