Listen: The footprint of agriculture and the challenge of feeding the world

Eminent agricultural scientist Professor Timothy Reeves addressed the grand challenge of feeding a growing global population in the context of climate change during Research Week 2019.

The world’s human population has exceeded 7.7 billion and is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050. At the same time, the demand for food is expected to increase by 60–110 per cent.

In this public lecture, Dookie campus Professor in Residence Timothy Reeves explores the consequences of the necessary intensification of global agricultural production for land use, use of water resources, carbon balance, and the nitrogen cycle, with a special emphasis on the global nitrogen pollution crisis.

You can listen to Professor Reeves’ lecture below; his presentation slides are available here.

”The footprint of agriculture and the challenge of feeding the world,” by Professor Timothy Reeves

Professor Reeves also explored the roles of research and innovation, and of human dietary habits and behaviour, in improving sustainability of production in the world’s agricultural fields. He discusses what the carrying capacity of Earth for the human population might be, from the perspective of food production and consumption.

Professor Timothy Reeves in an experimental wheat field at the University of Melbourne’s Dookie agricultural campus
Professor Timothy Reeves in an experimental wheat field at the University of Melbourne’s Dookie agricultural campus, where researchers are exploring the use of nutrient recycling to improve agricultural sustainability. Photo: Adrian Vittorio.

Professor Reeves joined the University of Melbourne in 2018, continuing his distinguished career as an international leader in agricultural research, development and extension. He received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences in 2017.

He was a pioneer of no-till and sustainable agriculture at the Rutherglen Research Institute in north-eastern Victoria and has held a high number of senior international roles including as Director General of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico from 1995–2002, member of the United Nations’ Millennium Project Task Force on Hunger and senior expert for the Food and Agriculture Organization.

He is a Fellow (FTSE) of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, and is only the second person to receive both the William Farrer Memorial Medal and the CM Donald Medal from the Australian Society of Agronomy.

In his role as Professor in Residence at Dookie, he provides mentorship to students, researchers and graduate researchers at the campus, and engages with the agricultural community and researchers throughout the Goulburn Valley, Northeast Victoria and Australia.

Banner image: Professor Timothy Reeves with graduate researchers and students at the University of Melbourne, Dookie campus. Photo: Adrian Vittorio.