Fallow periods are commonplace within Australian broadacre production systems. The aim of fallow periods is to store soil moisture for the next cash crop. However, fallow periods often have low efficiency and degrade soil health, leading to losses of soil organic carbon and soil fertility. I have a number of projects available for students to research the impacts of reducing fallow periods in broadacre agricultural systems on soil health. Students can conduct their research within summer (sorghum) or winter (wheat) cropping systems, depending on their own interest. Research projects will explore novel agricultural systems that aim to reduce fallow periods either by the integration of cover crops, or by attempting to increase the intensity of crop production (i.e., by increasing the number of crop harvests per season). Within this, projects can focus on a range of topics, including impacts on soil organic carbon and soil moisture availability, soil nitrogen dynamics and crop nutrition, soil microbial communities, and crop yields. Each research project will involve elements of field and laboratory work, data management and analysis, and research report writing.

Location: Gatton

This project is available to Honours and Postgraduate Coursework students.

Project members

Dr Alwyn Williams

Senior Lecturer in Agronomy
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences