UWA Institute of Agriculture showcases postgrads

Monday, 16 June 2008

Frontiers in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management were the themes for eight presentations by postgraduate research students from the four schools within the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (FNAS), The University of Western Australia (UWA).

Yesterday, at the opening of the 2008 UWA Institute of Agriculture Postgraduate Showcase, Professor Don Markwell, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Education, said UWA was deeply committed to fostering research and the event highlighted recent developments and brought together staff, students, industry and potential employers.

Engineering soil quality indicators

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Resource economics, using mathematical models and numbers to investigate farming and environmental problems, could provide a simple procedure for summarising multiple physical, biochemical and biological parameters into a single soil quality index.

Masturbating ostriches a touchy business

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

People say a “bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”, but try masturbating a two metre tall, 120 kilogram male ostrich with powerful legs and toenails and you’ve got a challenge on your hands.

Researchers in the School of Animal Biology at The University of Western Australia (UWA) have achieved a world-first by developing animal and human-friendly methods for semen collection and artificial insemination in ostriches.

West welcomes Iranian input to barley breeding

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Quantifying how well cereals, such as barley and wheat, can tolerate drought can be a measure of their true value to dryland agricultural systems, such as those in Western Australia and Iran.

Although hemispheres apart, there are similarities and some of these were recently assessed by Iranian PhD scholar Shahab Maddah-Hosseini while in WA on a six month ATSE Crawford Fund training award from August 2007 to January 2008.

Zinc link made in barley breeding

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Chromosomal regions conferring zinc efficiency in barley, recently identified by three WA researchers, could have important implications for improving the zinc status of the human diet.

Behzad Sadeghzadeh, PhD student and Professor Zed Rengel, both of the School of Earth and Geographical Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (FNAS) at The University of Western Australia (UWA), worked with Dr Chengdao Li from the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) on the project.

Mt Barker farmer awarded honorary doctorate in agriculture

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Mt Barker farmer Terry Enright last night became the first farmer to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Agriculture from The University of Western Australia (UWA).

Dr Enright, who grows barley, canola and pulses and grazes sheep and cattle on his Great Southern property, has devoted 25 years to agriculture, natural resource management and research and has played a leading role in the administration and strategic direction of agricultural research and education.

Graeme Martin, Joanne Elliott, Neroli Smith and Kadambot Siddique

Agricultural Science graduates show their talents at the Young Professionals in Agricultural Forum

Monday, 7 April 2008

The Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (AIAST) recently awarded top honours for scientific excellence in agriculture to the University of Western Australia (UWA) animal science PhD student Ms Joanne Elliott and Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) research officer Ms Neroli Smith as joint winners of the Young Professionals in Agriculture award. 

The good oil on WA sandalwood

Thursday, 3 April 2008

While world supplies of natural sandalwood may be dwindling, women can still buy perfumes, such as Obsession by Calvin Klein and Opium by Yves St Laurent, which contain the essential oil, thanks to researchers such as Chris Jones, a PhD candidate in the School of Plant Biology at The University of Western Australia (UWA).

Once widespread throughout southern WA, but almost wiped out in the grainbelt due to clearing for farmland, sandalwood, Santalum spicatum and it’s northern relative, S. album, are making a comeback as plantation trees.

“In WA’s Kununurra area close to 2000 hectares of Santalum album  have been planted and more than  4000 hectares of S. spicatum have been planted in the wheatbelt area of southern WA,” Mr Jones said.

UWA researchers ‘ion’ out wheat toxicity issue

Monday, 31 March 2008

Researchers at Institute of Agriculture, The University of Western Australia (UWA), are supporting WA wheat breeders and ultimately growers by characterising the genetic and physiological traits of wheat that enable it to tolerate high concentrations of aluminium, manganese and iron.

With funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA), Dr Hossein Saberi and Professor Zed Rengel of the School of Earth and Geographical Sciences and Institute of Agriculture, UWA, have developed screening techniques for assessing the tolerance of different wheat varieties to ion toxicity.

Heat on white rust in mustard

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Researchers from the School of Plant Biology at The University of Western Australia (UWA) and Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) have identified useful sources of resistance to white rust in Brassica juncea mustard germplasm sourced from Australia, China and India.

White rust affects cruciferous plants, which include the cabbage family, and the infection can be local, appearing as white pustules on leaves, stems and floral parts, or systemic, as abnormal distorted growth of stems, pods and flowers, which is commonly referred to as stagheads. Flowers displaying staghead formation are sterile.

Pushing back agricultural frontiers

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Eight PhD students from four schools within the Institute of Agriculture at the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (FNAS) at the University of Western Australia (UWA) recently presented their research to an audience of 60 in a post-graduate showcase, ‘Frontiers in Agriculture and Resource Management’.

Focussing on innovative land management and animal production systems, as well as plant production for the future, the sessions were an opportunity to showcase high quality research and for students to interact with the industry and potential employers.

New website menu a smorgasboard for growers

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Growers and people working in agribusiness who have ever yearned for computer access to Green Manure or Lime Calculators or just a down-to-earth look at soil properties in their region of WA need look no further.

Dr Daniel Murphy from the School of Earth and Geographical Sciences and Institute of Agriculture at the University of Western Australia (UWA) has launched a free interactive website designed with such clients in mind.

Mystery of blackleg resistance revealed

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Canola breeders will soon know for the first time exactly how host resistance in their varieties responds to the fungal parasite that causes blackleg disease of canola crops across Australia.

The most damaging disease of canola worldwide, blackleg caused the total collapse of WA’s canola industry in the 1970s and remains the number one threat to canola production.

The University of Western Australia (UWA) Institute of Agriculture post-doctoral researcher, Dr Hua Li said canola breeders and growers had not known how the blackleg parasite overcame resistance.

‘Meating’ the clean green ethical challenge

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Consumers want clean, green and ethical meat products and maintaining the integrity of the sheepmeat industry is a challenge the Institute of Agriculture at The University of Western Australian (UWA) is successfully addressing.

Growers, researchers and industry representatives recently attended a clean, green and ethical industry forum at UWA to discuss innovations in animal production to meet consumer expectations, with a strong focus on the sheep industry.

UWA Institute of Agriculture Director, Professor Kadambot Siddique said consumers no longer wanted only nutritious and quality meat products, but those from animals raised in sustainable, animal friendly environments and not fed antibiotics or artificial hormones.

New doctors will help growers

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Juggling work commitments and study has paid off for three University of Western Australia (UWA) post-graduate students who recently completed their theses with the Western Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (WAHRI).

David Minkey, Catherine Borger and David Ferris were granted study leave from the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) to complete their PhDs with WAHRI.

Optimise special K to sustain cereals

Thursday, 19 July 2007

A new approach to fertiliser management that investigates how different wheat and canola genotypes respond to fertilisers will help graingrowers develop better nutrient management practices and reduce the financial and environmental costs of wasted fertiliser.

Recognising that fertiliser is a graingrower’s greatest single expense, with annual farm input cost at 16 percent, the Crop Nutrition group at The University of Western Australia (UWA), led by Professor Zed Rengel, is examining the optimal management of potassium (K), nitrogen (N), sulphur (S) and phosphorus (P) for wheat, barley and canola.

China collaboration combats climate change

Thursday, 28 June 2007

International collaboration can help combat climate change and WA and Chinese researchers are joining forces to improve climate adaptation strategies and pass on the subsequent benefits to growers.
As part of a A$1.9 million project, the University of Western Australia (UWA) Institute of Agriculture is collaborating with China’s Lanzhou University on a sustainability initiative for dry and cold ecosystems, using west China as a model.

GM moratorium limits lupins

Thursday, 14 June 2007

When the current moratorium on genetically modified (GM) crops is lifted, The University of Western Australia (UWA) has GM lupin lines with superior seed quality and yield readily available for wider testing and evaluation in the WA grainbelt.

According to UWA Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis Director, Professor Craig Atkins, sustaining cereal production through rotating legumes drove the UWA GM lupin breeding program, which commenced in 1992.

Canola connections in China

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Collaborating with leading Chinese and Indian canola scientists in rapeseed breeding, pathology and agronomy could greatly benefit Australia’s oilseed industry.

In particular, WA growers may profit from India’s shatter-resistant pod research and China’s successful Sclerotinia resistance research.

Wallace Cowling, Associate Professor at The University of Western Australia (UWA) Institute of Agriculture and School of Plant Biology, said international collaboration could improve varieties and also canola biotechnology.

Telling no till tales

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Combining no tillage farming and integrated weed management (IWM) strategies can reduce graingrower reliance on herbicides and help create long term sustainable and profitable cropping practices.

The University of Western Australia (UWA) Institute of Agriculture graduate, Frank D’Emden, won the 2006 Australian Agriculture and Resource Economics Society (AARES) masters thesis prize for a study on southern Australian grain growers’ adoption of conservation tillage.