The Sustainable Agricultural Production research group has internationally recognised expertise in sustainable intensification of crop, pasture and animal production.
Its researchers combine their expertise in agronomy, plant physiology, plant genetics, crop and forage growth, livestock nutrition and production, integrated farming systems and new technologies to simultaneously enhance productivity and ecosystem health.
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The Sustainable Agricultural Production research group offers capabilities and skillsets which covers various applied and fundamental research areas in various crop, pasture and animal production systems.
Our specific areas of research include:
- Pre-breeding and breeding of abiotic and biotic stress resistance to develop new crop cultivars
- High throughput phenotyping of genotypes for various abiotic and biotic stresses
- Speed-breeding to shorten the crop breeding cycle
- Resource efficient microgreen production protocols in soilless vertical farming set-up
- Understanding dual-purpose crop production for sustained grazing, crop yields and maintaining soil health
- Understanding native crop cultivation and their nutritional profiling for their development as commercial crops. from paddock to plate
- Understanding silicon-mediated drought and heat tolerance at the physiological, biochemical and molecular level for crops
- Understanding drivers for enterprise diversification at a regional level
- High power microwave heating of agricultural and biological materials
- Microwave-assisted pyrolysis of biowaste for the recovery of valuable products (biochar, bio-oil and syngas)
- Microwave plasma treatment of surfaces for disinfection and surface treatments
- Microwave holography for detection of objects embedded in other materials
- Automatic data acquisition development
- Applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in agriculture and resource management
- Robotic dairy use in pasture feeding system
- Greenhouse gas emissions mitigation from livestock production
- Feed efficiency biomarker development
- Crop use in dairying
- Grazing management of livestock
- Gender mainstreaming in projects
- Gender analysis and assessing gendered impacts of agriculture projects
- Gendered impacts of Whole Family Extension approach on dairy-beef smallholder farmers
- Institutional analysis of green infrastructure
- Impacts of wastewater irrigation on livelihoods and food security of smallholder farmers
- Impacts of urban agriculture on livelihoods and food security of smallholder farmers.
Crop trials at scale, agronomy, nutritional profiling and breeding
The Sustainable Agricultural Production group offers controlled and field trials, including for native crops, and breeding for desired traits.
Vertical farming in a fully controlled soilless environment
The Sustainable Agricultural Production group offers evaluation of microgreens and other crop production for resource efficiency and nutritional biofortification and analysis in a fully controlled vertical farming set-up.
Microwave applicator systems and evaluation of microwave and plasma treatment of materials
The Sustainable Agricultural Production group offers experimental and semi-commercial assessment and modelling of microwave heating in agriculture, forestry and other applied contexts.
Use of crops for dairying production
Experimentation with different hay crops that can be used in dairying production, including investigation of quality and yield characteristics.
Greenhouse gas emissions identification and mitigation from international livestock production
We use Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calculating tools to identify and suggest mitigation strategies for greenhouse gas emission from international livestock production.
Gender Analysis and Gender Mainstreaming for agricultural and rural industries
Gender analysis is a socio-economic analysis that uncovers how gender relations affect a development problem. Gender mainstreaming is integrating a gender equality perspective at all stages and levels of policies, programs and projects.
Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) and livelihoods impact assessments
Sustainable Agricultural Production research group members can help organisations solve complex issues and adapt to change through applications of the Institutional Analysis and Development framework (IAD) and livelihoods impact assessments.
Meet our researchers.
Professor Timothy Reeves
Enterprise Professor of Sustainable Agriculture
Timothy Reeves’ research interests are focused on sustainable intensification (SI) of agri-food systems, globally and in Australia. He is particularly interested in the role of SI as a scientifically sound pathway to more resilient, more restorative and more regenerative agri-food systems. Professor Reeves has current SI projects in Samoa, Tonga and Australia.
Dr Dorin Gupta
Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Agriculture, Vavilov Frankel Fellow
Dorin Gupta’s research focuses on food crops (particularly cereals, legumes, native and annual horticulture crops) crop genetics and physiology for nutritional enhancement and abiotic and biotic stress resistance; pre-breeding (introgression of genes from wild and distant relatives of crops); use of macro and micro nutrient supplementation to improve crop productivity; resource efficient soilless vertical farming (especially microgreens) and exploration of native vegetables and herb crops.
Dr Surinder Chauhan
Senior Lecturer in Livestock Genetics and Genomics
As an animal scientist with a background in veterinary and meat sciences, Surinder Chauhan’s research involves improving and promoting sustainable and efficient livestock production systems; mitigating and developing strategies to manage animal responses to heat stress and understanding the genetic, molecular and biochemical basis of meat quality.
Dr Paul Cheng
Lecturer (Livestock Nutrition and Grazing Management)
Paul Cheng’s research focuses on sustainable livestock production (particularly use of pasture and crops as a feed source). Dr Cheng works in the space of nutrition and feeding interaction, greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, robotic dairying, feed efficiency biomarker development and novel feed source use in livestock production.
Dr Gayathri Mekala
Tutor (Water Management and Policy)
Gayathri Mekala is a Social Scientist and Gender Expert. Dr Mekala’s research interests include: gender mainstreaming in projects; gender analysis and assessing gendered impacts of agriculture projects; institutional analysis; social research including livelihoods impact assessments for smallholder farmers; urban agriculture; stakeholder engagement.
The Sustainable Agricultural Production research group underpins its capacity through unique skill sets which include fundamental, applied and adaptation research covering staple and minor crops and mixed farming.
Research capabilities in various fields have led to established national and international collaborations with research organisations and commercial partners to fill the research gaps in areas such as sustainable intensification of agricultural production including crop agronomy, resource use efficiency, genetics, abiotic and biotic stress resistance and mitigation including microwave aided weed management and driver to the adaptation of needed change at production and policy level.
Sustainable Agricultural Production research team members have national and international experiences, and disseminate their knowledge through public speaking at national and international conferences, to industry bodies, in university teaching and in the media.