Precision Horticulture

CQUniversity’s Precision Horticulture team is focussed on improving the productivity and profitability of Queensland’s major horticultural commodities.

Horticulture currently contributes more than $2 billion to the Queensland economy and by working in partnership with the Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries, the research team is aiming to deliver innovative future farming practices that have the potential to make a substantial impact on the state economy.

It is no coincidence that the Precision Horticulture team is based in Bundaberg, Australia’s second largest horticultural crop production region, with our team working directly with the sweet potato, chilli and tomato industries.

Led by Professor Phil Brown, the Precision Horticulture team is also supporting international development through a sweet potato production and marketing project in Papua New Guinea, and horticultural supply chain research in the Pacific Islands.

The scope of work ranges from crop agronomy, to high-tech solutions including the use of drones to measure crop status indicators with data flowing through to online management support tools.

Supporting commercial sweet potato production and marketing in the PNG highlands
Advanced Management Decision Tool for Tropical Protected Cropping Systems
Non-lethal deterrent of Flying Foxes and Rainbow Lorikeets from Lychee Orchards with UAVs
Developing biocontrol fungi agents to manage root-knot nematode in ginger.


Specialist research skills:

  • Production practices for tropical environments
  • Assessing the cost-effectiveness of innovations in structures and production practices
  • Plant and pest physiology
  • Crop agronomy and production practices
  • Farmer training and support to obtain higher value markets
  • Non-lethal deterrent of flying foxes and rainbow lorikeets with UAVs
  • Drone-based crop sensing for biomass, yield, crop water status and early detection of pests and diseases
  • Advanced management decision support tools
  • Plant parasitic nematode management in vegetable crops
  • Automated pest insect monitoring systems.
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Video transcript

[Music]

This trial site is not only looking at the performance of drip irrigation in cane, but more importantly the application of fertigation management as one possible solution to improve fertiliser efficiency putting what the crop needs when the crop needs it. An important outcome from this trial is actually evaluating the performance of these drip systems in a cane production system, both in terms of the potential yield gain we can get from improved irrigation and fertigation management, as well as the economic return from this type of system.

I am mainly focusing on the crop physiology, more specifically by using sensor technology and IT platform try to detect the problems with the crop and report to the stakeholders. It really opens the window for the farmers to monitor their crops remotely it provides some safety in their mind. So basically you will be able to see the situation your crops based on their sensor data feeding back, for example with one of our industry partner with Beauty one system online so they can monitor directly from the office in Sydney about what things are happening in Bundaberg.

For example you will be able to know when the crops appear to have some water stress and they need water, and then it will further be able to link that to the automatic irrigation system. It's critical to keep a good relationship with industry partner especially communicating with them without barriers so we can have a good understanding about what they really need and make sure the technology we have been integrating will be deployable for them. We are trying to understand some of the issues, some of the problems that are faced by farmers with this kind of system. I'm also looking at using remote sensing techniques including drones to improve irrigation scheduling. We want to make sure that the water being used in agriculture is used as efficiently as possible.

[Music]

Netafim are very pleased to be involved in this trial here at Bundaberg. This trial is a collaboration between CQU and DAF and it's a fertigation trial to optimise how we fertigate sugarcane.

This trial hopes to deliver optimal rates, timings and scheduling of fertigation and water to sugarcane, currently there are some models for irrigation but there's very few, if none, for the fertigation of sugarcane. We can really do a lot better using the modern technologies, better automation, better in-crop monitoring so those systems are being tested here with the hope of growing more crop for farmers in a more profitable way. It makes sense for us to work with this. Netafim are very keen for this trial to succeed and we are delighted to be involved with our collaborative partners.

Key Research Personnnel

Professor Phil Brown

Professor Phil Brown - Professor of Horticultural Science

Professor Phil Brown is a horticultural scientist with more than 25 years experience in horticultural crop research. He has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree and PhD from the University of Tasmania, and has held both academic and research leadership positions in the higher education sector. Phil has led more than 40 externally funded projects covering a range of horticultural industry topic areas, focussing specifically on collaborative research with industry to address issues that impact on productivity, profitability and sustainability. He is a past President of the Australian Society for Horticultural Science. He is currently the Director of the Institute for Future Farming Systems at CQU and leads the Precision Horticulture research cluster.

Current research projects:
  • Integrating protected cropping systems into high value vegetable value chains in the Pacific and Australia – Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
  • Supporting commercial sweetpotato production and marketing in the PNG highlands - Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
  • Optimisation of a crop fertility management program - Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
  • Advanced Management Decision Tool for Tropical/Subtropical Protected Cropping Systems - Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation
  • Novel approaches for root-knot nematode control - Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation
Industry and funding partners:
  • Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
  • Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation
  • Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd
Publications:

  • Griffin, K, Gambley, C, Brown, P, Li, Y (2017) Copper-tolerance in Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato and Xanthomonas spp. and the control of diseases associated with these pathogens in tomato and pepper. A systematic literature review. Crop Protection 96, pp. 144-150
  • Healey, M.A., Senior, L.J, Brown, P.H., Duff, J (2017) Relative abundance and temporal distribution of adult Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) and Frankliniella schultzei (Trybom) on French bean, lettuce, tomato and zucchini crops in relation to crop age. Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology 20, 3, pp. 859-86
  • Crisol-Martínez, E., Ford, G., Horgan, F.G., Brown, P.H., Wormington, K.R (2017) Document Ecology and conservation of insectivorous bats in fragmented areas of macadamia production in eastern Australia. Austral Ecology 42 (5), pp. 597-610
  • Crisol-Martínez, E., Moreno-Moyano, L.T., Wormington, K.R., Brown, P.H., Stanley, D. (2016) Using next-generation sequencing to contrast the diet and explore pest-reduction services of sympatric bird species in macadamia orchards in Australia. PLoS ONE, 11 (3) e0150159
  • Neupane, T., McHenry, M.T., Brown, P.H. (2016) Predicting field grown tomato crop performance. Acta Horticulturae 1123, pp. 53-59
  • Pandey, S., Brown, P.H., McHenry, M.T. (2016) Plant root development as a measure of soil health. Acta Horticulturae, Vol.1123, pp.41-45
  • Ishak, L., McHenry, M.T., Brown, P.H. (2016) Soil compaction and its effects on soil microbial communities in Capsicum growing soil. Acta Horticulturae 1123, pp. 123-129
Students under supervision:
  • Alison Jensen, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Redefining Pachymetra root rot management strategies and varietal resistance in commercial sugarcane fields.
  • Hari Pathak, MSc Candidate CQUniversity - Understanding Adoption of Precision Agriculture Technologies by Vegetable Farmers in Queensland
  • Jamel Fani, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Effect of agronomic practices on quality attributes in ginger and tumeric
  • John Coulombe, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Measuring plant physiological changes triggered by water stress at a fine temporal and spatial scale using precision ag technologies.
  • Karina Griffin, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Investigation of copper resistance in Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato
  • Lafta Alatshan, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Multispectral and thermal imagery approaches to pest and disease detection in horticultural crops
  • Rajaratman Muhunthan, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Investigation of interaction between organic soil amendments and irrigation scheduling in relation to crop-water status
  • Robin Rayner, Doctor of Education Candidate CQUniversity - A conceptual framework for investigating agricultural literacy in the compulsory years of schooling in a selection of Queensland schools
  • Craig Henderson, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Agronomy and physiology studies of sweetpotato
  • Tham Dong, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Understanding agronomic factors that affect the development of sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.) storage roots
  • Upamali Peiris, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Sustainable Management of Root-knot Nematodes; Case Studies on Sweet potato and Ginger
  • Karli Groves, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Examining key constraints to product quality and crop longevity in protected cropping systems in tropical and subtropical environments

Simon White

Associate Professor Simon White - Senior Research Fellow (Agricultural Management)

Dr Simon White joined CQU within the School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences (HMAS) in July 2017 and comes with 20 years’ experience in agricultural research programs from working for various state and federal government organisations, universities, research development corporations and multi-national companies. He holds a bachelor degree in Applied Science (Rural Technology) with First Class Honour’s and a PhD in irrigation management.  Dr White’s main areas of expertise are in soil, water and climate risk management, and land resource management and rehabilitation. His past research experience has involved irrigation systems evaluations, water management studies, climate risk impacts, soil management and rehabilitation, food security in a developing country context and crop agronomy improvements. His current research focus within the Institute for Future Farming Systems (IFFS) is in precision horticulture and the advancement of innovative future farming practices. Working also previously in the commercial world of precision agriculture, Dr White understands the needs of the agricultural sector when it comes to practical and useful implementation of agtech innovations and integration of remote sensing in crop monitoring and management.

Current research projects:
  • Improving economic productivity and environmental sustainability of sugarcane production with advanced fertigation management
  • Improving irrigation management in bag based crop production
  • Advancing the adoption of wireless network systems for real time crop monitoring and autonomous system control.
  • Use of drone based sensor for crop monitoring and advanced agronomic management
Industry and funding partners:
  • Sugar Cane- Netafim Australia and Qld Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • Chillies and Avocados - AustChilli
  • Ginger- Bundaberg Sugar and Bundaberg Brewed Drinks
Publications:
  • Abawi, Y. & White, S. (2015) Predictability of Seasonal Rainfall, Monsoon Onset and Duration in Indonesia, Philippines and Bangladesh APN Science   Bulletin, Issue 5. Pp 8 – 9. ISSN 2185-761x.
  • C. Vacher, S. White, J. Eberhard, E. Schmidt, N. Huth, D. Antille. (2014). Quantifying the impacts of coal seam gas (CSG) activities on the soil   resource of agricultural lands in Queensland, Australia. Proceedings of ASABE   and CSBE/SCGAB Annual International Meeting, Montreal, Quebec Canada, July 13–16, 2014
  • Abawi, Y. & White, S. (2013) Identifying key climate drivers in Southeast Asia to improve climate forecasting and risk management decision-making. APN   Science Bulletin, Issue 3. Pp 130 – 132. ISSN 2185-761x.
  • White, S. C.; Raine, S. R. (2009) Physiological response of cotton to a root zone soil moisture gradient: implications for Partial Root Zone Drying   irrigation. Journal of Cotton Science Vol.13 No.2 pp.67-74 ref.40
  • White, Simon Charles (2007) Partial rootzone drying and deficit irrigation in cotton for use under large mobile irrigation machines. PhD Thesis, University of Southern Queensland.
  • Foley, JP, Wigginton, D, White, S, McCarthy, C & Raine, SR (2006) OverSCHED - a centre pivot and lateral move irrigation management tool. Proceedings of the 13th Australian Cotton Conference, Australian Cotton Growers Research Association, Gold Coast, Australia.

Total documents and source
14 (Google Scholar)
Total citations and source
51 (Google Scholar)
H-index and source
5 (Google Scholar)

Students under supervision:
  • Karli Groves, PhD (Assoc), 2018 – 2021, Protected cropping systems for improved agricultural development in tropical climates.

Yujuan Li

Dr Yujuan (Jady) Li - Senior Research Officer

Dr Yujuan (Jady) Li received a bachelors degree in plant pathology in 2003 and PhD in soil nematode ecology in 2008. She possesses broad knowledge and strong expertise in nematode taxonomy, plant pathology, soil biology and ecology. Her current research interests are plant disease and pest management, including biological control of plant parasitic nematodes. Since joining CQU in 2015, her research has focused on improving horticultural systems for industry outcomes by developing integrated management of root-knot nematodes and other crop disease (e.g. fruit fly, tomato bacteria speck  and pachymetra root rot disease).

Current research projects:
  1. Li YJ. Novel approaches for root-knot nematodes control. Advance Queensland Mid-Career Research Fellowship, Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation.
  2. Li YJ. Development of fungal biocontrol agents to manage root-knot nematode in ginger.Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
  3. Li YJ, Xu CY, Brown P, Stirling G, Henderson C. Alternative products as urgent solutions of losing nematicides in sweetpotato. Central Queensland University.
  4. Li YJ, Xu CY, Brown PH, Stirling G, Layden I, Henderson C. Sustainable management of plant-parasitic nematodes in sweetpotato. Central Queensland University.
  5. Xu CY, Li YJ, Halpin N, Wright G, Coulombe J, Brown P. Application of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for remote crop disease detection. Central Queensland University.
Industry and funding partners:
  • Organic Crop Protectants (Novel approaches for root-knot nematodes control)
  • Australian Sweetpotato Growers association (Novel approaches for root-knot nematodes control)
  • Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland Government (Novel approaches for root-knot nematodes control)
  • Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (Development of fungal biocontrol agents to manage root-knot nematode in ginger)
  • Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (Development of fungal biocontrol agents to manage root-knot nematode in ginger)
  • BASF Chemicals (previous industry consultant project)
Publications in the last two years:

  • Li YJ, Stirling G, Seymour N. 2017. The effect of organic amendment input and crop management practices on the nematode community and suppression of root-lesion nematode (Pratylenchus thornei) in a grain-growing soil. Australasian Plant Pathology 46: 463-472(IF: 1.026 )
  • Griffin K, Gambley C, Brown P, Li YJ. 2017. Copper-tolerance in Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato and Xanthomonas spp. and the control of diseases associated with these pathogens in tomato and pepper. A systematic literature review. Crop Protection 96: 144-150 (IF: 1.652)
  • Peiris PUS, Groves K, Xu CY, Li YJ, Brown PH. 2017. Assessing the biocontrol efficacy of nematode trapping fungi Arthrobotrys oligospora and A. dactyloides against root-knot nematodes in ginger. Proceedings of Science Protecting Plant Health 2017.
  • Peiris PUS, Xu CY, Groves KM, Brown PH, Li YJ 2017. Assessing the efficacy of chemical and organic nematicide products to control root-knot nematode damage in sweetpotato. TropAg2017 Book of Poster Abstract, p158.
  • Peiris PUS, Groves K, Xu CY, Brown PH, Li YJ. 2017. Assessing the biocontrol efficacy of nematode trapping fungi Arthrobotrys oligospora and A. dactyloides against root-knot nematodes in ginger. Proceedings of Science Protecting Plant Health 2017.
  • Groves KM, Peiris PUS, Brown PH, Li YJ. 2016. Assessment of the biocontrol efficacy of nematode trapping fungi against root-not nematodes. Proceedings of 9th Australasian Soilborne Diseases Symposium, p 50.
  • Griffin K, Gambley C, Brown P, Li YJ. 2016. Copper tolerance of Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato strains in Queensland Australia contributes to reduced field control of bacterial speck in tomatoes. Proceedings of 5th International Symposium on Tomato Disease.
  • Li YJ, Yang GP, Neher DA, Xu CY, Wu JH. 2015. Status of soil nematode communities during natural regeneration of a subtropical forest in southwest China. Nematology, 17: 79-90. (IF 1.061)
  • Seymore NP, Stirling GR, Li YJ. 2014. Evidence of biological suppression of Pratylenchus thornei in the northern grain region of Australia. Proceedings of the 8th Australasian Soilborne Diseases Symposium.
  • Li YJ, Seymour NP, Stirling GR. 2012. Antagonists of root-lesion nematode in vertosols from the northern grain-growing region. Proceedings of 7th Australasian Soilborne Diseases Symposium, p 28.

Students under supervision:
  • Upamali Peiris (PhD candidate): Sustainable management of nematode disease in sweetpotato
  • Karina Griffin (PhD candidate): Investigation of seasonal trends in the microbial communities of the tomato leaf phyllosphere and copper resistance in bacterial speck (Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato)
  • Alison Jensen (PhD candidate): Redefining pachymetra root rot management strategies and varietal resistance in commercial sugarcane fields
  • Tham Dong (PhD candidate): Management to promote root health and production of sweetpotato.

Kirt Hainzer

Kirt Hainzer - Senior Research Officer - Agriculture Value Chain Management

Kirt is an agro-ecologist with more than 10 years experience in agriculture research and development. He has a Bachelor of Finance degree from Newcastle University and a Master of Science from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and has worked within industry, government and academia. Kirt is focussed on improving the functionality of value chains within developing economies specifically on research which addresses trust and relationships.

Current research projects:
  • Supporting commercial sweetpotato production and marketing in the PNG highlands - Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
Industry and funding partners:
  • Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

Richard Koech

Dr Richard Koech - Lecturer - Agriculture

Richard is a Lecturer based at the CQUniversity’s Bundaberg Campus. He is an Agricultural Engineer, with Masters and PhD qualifications in the field of irrigation engineering and hydraulics.

Richard’s expertise and research interests include:

  • Agricultural soil and water management
  • Agricultural education and extension
  • GIS and remote sensing applications in agriculture
  • Flow measurement and instrumentation

He undertakes research in collaboration with a number of government and industry partners.

Current research projects:
  • Sugar cane irrigation and fertigation trial (in collaboration with Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QLD) and Netafim)
  • Smart sensor and drone data integration for precision irrigation (in collaboration with Multikraft Probiotics Australia  )
  • Improving the transition of agricultural students between vocational and higher education
  • Optimising irrigation efficiency in the horticultural and sugar cane industries
Publications:

  • Koech, R. K., Smith, R. J. and Gillies, Malcolm H. (2014) Evaluating the performance of a real time optimisation and control system for furrow irrigation. Agricultural Water Management 142:77–87.
  • Koech, R. K., Smith, R. J. and Gillies, M. H. (2014) A real time optimisation system for furrow irrigation. Irrigation Science, 32 (4), 319-327.
  • Koech, R.K, Camargo, A., Molle, B., Saretta, E., Frizzone, J., Benhu, G. and Pezzaniti, D. (2015) Intercomparison dripper testing within the INITL Flow Measurement and Instrumentation doi:10.1016/j.flowmeasinst.2015.08.003.
  • Koech, R.K, Camargo, A., Molle, B., Saretta, E., Frizzone, J., Benhu, G. and Pezzaniti, D. (2015) Intercomparison testing and evaluation of sprinklers within the INITL Journal of Irrig. and Drain. Engineering DOI:10.1061/(ASCE)IR.1943-4774.0000937.
  • Langat, P.K., Kumar, L. & Koech, R. (2017). Temporal Variability and Trends of Rainfall and Streamflow in Tana River Basin, Kenya. Sustainability, 9(11), 1963.

H Index: 4

Students under supervision:
  • John Coulombe (PhD Candidate): Assessment of crop water status in macadamia and chilli using unmanned aerial vehicle acquired multispectral and thermal imaging.
  • Raj Muhunthan (PhD Candidate): Investigation of interaction between organic soil amendments and irrigation scheduling in relation to crop-water status

Shahla Hosseini Bai

Dr Shahla Hosseini Bai - Senior Lecturer - Agriculture

Dr Shahla Hosseini Bai is passionate about soil conservation and promoting sustainable land management practices on fragile soils against climate change and human disturbance, both in Australia and across the Pacific. Dr Hosseini Bai's research interests encompass soil and plant interactions in diverse ecosystems, including forestry, agroforestry, revegetation and agriculture. Her current research focusses on soil response to biochar application, drought and alternative weed control methods. Most recently, she has developed expertise in digital agriculture and leads a research group that uses hyperspectral imaging to rapidly predict plant stress, soil nutrient concentration, fruit set and food quality. Her research in the Pacific focusses on improving soil fertility, increasing food security and improving post-harvest processing (e.g. drying and value adding) of nuts and fruit. Dr Hosseini Bai is also an adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

Current research projects:
  • Enhancing private sector-led development of the canarium industry in Papua New Guinea.
  • Effects of biochar and compost applications on soil fertility and plant productivity in horticulture, agriculture and agroforestry.
  • Using novel methods for drought mitigation.
  • Non-destructive assessment of nutrients in soil, leaf and crop using hyperspectral imaging.
  • Effects of agroforestry systems on soil nutrient availability in Papua New Guinea.
  • Effects of herbicides on soil bio-chemical properties.
Industry and funding partners:
  • ACIAR
  • Horticulture Innovation Australia
Publications:

  • Bai SH, Tahmasbian I, Zhou J, Nevenimo T, Hanet G, Walton D, Randall B, Gama T, Wallace HM (2018) A non-destructive determination of peroxide values, total nitrogen and mineral nutrients in an edible tree nut using hyperspectral imaging. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. In press
  • Gama T, Wallace HM, Trueman SJ, Hosseini-Bai S (2018) Quality and shelf life of tree nuts: A review. Scientia Horticulturae 242:116-126.
  • Nguyen TT, Wallace HM, Xu CY, Zwieten LV, Weng ZH, Xu Z, Che R, Tahmasbian I, Hu HW, Bai SH (2018) The effects of short term, long term and reapplication of biochar on soil bacteria. Science of The Total Environment 636:142-51.
  • Bai SH, Trueman SJ, Nevenimo T, Hannet G, Bapiwai P, Poienou M, Wallace HM (2017) Effects of shade-tree species and spacing on soil and leaf nutrient concentrations in cocoa plantations at 8 years after establishment. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 264:134-143.
  • Nguyen N, Xu CY, Tahmasbian I, Xu ZH, Zhou X, Wallace HM, Bai SH (2017) Effects of biochar on soil available inorganic nitrogen: A review and meta-analysis. Geoderma 288:79-96

Chengyuan Xu

Dr Chengyuan (Stephen) Xu - Research Fellow of Horticulture Cropping Systems

Stephen’s background is in plant ecophysiology, having completed a PhD with Columbia University, in the United States. During his career he has worked on diverse topics of research unified by the theme of applying plant physiological principles to improve crop production and sustainability, including:

  • Crop physiological responses to climatic factors and resource availability;
  • Detection of crop stress and other issues with drone and sensor technologies;
  • Carbon (C) farming approaches to improve soil fertility and crop yield; and
  • Understanding the physiology and adaptation of invasive weeds to improve their management and control.

Since joining CQUniversity in 2015, his research has focused on improving horticultural systems for industry outcomes by combining general crop physiological principles and novel technologies including sensors and drones and digital data platforms.

Current research projects:
  • Xu CY. Applications of smart home IoT (internet-of-things) sensors in agriculture science, Queensland Department of Innovation, Tourism Industry Development and the Commonwealth Games
  • Li YJ, Xu CY, Brown PH, Guo W. Novel approaches for root-knot nematodes control, Advance Queensland Mid-Career Research Fellowship, Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation
  • Xu CY, Brown PH, Swain D, Jovicich E. Early Detection of Crop Stresses in Tropical Protected Cropping Systems, Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation
Industry and funding partners:
  • Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation
  • Queensland Department of Innovation, Tourism Industry Development and the Commonwealth Games
  • Perfection Fresh Australia
Publications:

  • Farrar, M. B., Wallace, H. M., Xu, C. Y., Nguyen, T. T. N., Tavakkoli, E., Joseph, S., Bai, S. H., Short term effects of organic and biochar-based fertilisers on plant yield and nutrient cycling, Journal of Soils and Sediments, in press.
  • Zhou, X., Xu, C. Y., Bai, S. H., Xu, Z., Smaill, S. J., Clinton, P. W., and Chen, C., 2018. Manipulating interactions between plant stress responses and soil methane oxidation rates, Biogeosciences, 15, 4125-4129.
  • Nguyen, T. T. N., Wallace, H. M., Xu, C. Y., van Zwieten, L., Weng Z., H., Xu, Z. H., Che, R. X., Tahmasbian, I., Hu, H. W., Bai, S. H., 2018. The effects of short term, long term and reapplication of biochar on soil bacteria. Science of the Total Environment, 613, 142-151.
  • Liu, W. J., Li, L. f., Biederman, J. A., Hao, Y. B., Zhang, H., Kang, X.M., Cui, X. Y., Wang, Y. F., Li, M. W., Xu, Z. H., Griffin, K. L., Xu, C. Y., 2017. Repackaging precipitation into fewer, larger storms reduces ecosystem exchanges of CO2 and H2O in a semiarid steppe, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 247: 356-365.
  • Zhou, G. Y., Zhou X. H., Zhang, T., Du, Z. G., He, Y. H., Wang, X. H., Shao, J. J., Cao, Y., Xue, S. G., Wang, H. L., Xu, C. Y., 2017, Biochar increased soil respiration in temperate forests but had no effects in subtropical forests, Forest Ecology and Management, 405: 339-349
  • Hao, Y. B., Zhou, C. T., Liu, W. J., Li L. F., Kang, X. M., Jiang, L. L., Cui, X. Y., Wang, Y. F., Zhou, X. Q., Xu, C. Y., 2017, Aboveground net primary productivity and carbon balance remain stable under extreme precipitation events in a semiarid steppe ecosystem, Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 240-241: 1-9
  • Nguyen, T. T. N., Wallace, H. M., Xu, C. Y., Xu, Z. H., Farrar, M. B., Joseph, S., van Zwieten, L., Bai, S. H., 2017. Short-term effects of organo-mineral biochar and organic fertilisers on nitrogen cycling, plant photosynthesis and nitrogen use efficiency. Journal of Soils and Sediments, 17: 2763-2774.
  • Roiloa, S., Lopez, L., Xu, C. Y., Grana, S. A., Perez, L. L., 2016, The effect of stolon fragmentation on the colonization of clonal invasive Carpobrotus edulis in a coastal dune system – a field test, Plant Species Biology, 2017, 32:460-465.
  • He, Y. H., Zhou, X. H., Jiang, L. L., Li, M., Du, Z. G., Zhou, G. Y., Shao, J. J., Wang, X. H., Xu, Z. H., Bai, S. H., Wallace, H. M., Xu, C. Y., 2017. Effects of biochar application on soil greenhouse gas fluxes: a meta-analysis. Global Change Biology Bioenergy, 9: 743-755.
  • Nguyen, T. T. N., Xu, C. Y., Tahmasbian, I., Che, R., Xu, Z., Zhou, X., Wallace, H. M., Bai, S. H., 2017. Effects of Biochar on soil available inorganic nitrogen: A review and meta-analysis, Geoderma, 288: 76-96.

H Index: Google Scholar-18, Scopus-17

Students under supervision:
  • Tham Dong, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Understanding agronomic factors that affect the development of sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.) storage roots
  • Upamali Peiris, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Sustainable Management of Root-knot Nematodes; Case Studies on Sweet potato and Ginger
  • Jamel Fani, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Effect of agronomic practices on quality attributes in ginger and tumeric
  • John Coulombe, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Measuring plant physiological changes triggered by water stress at a fine temporal and spatial scale using precision ag technologies.
  • Lafta Alatshan, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Multispectral and thermal imagery approaches to pest and disease detection in horticultural crops
  • Rajaratman Muhunthan, PhD Candidate CQUniversity - Investigation of interaction between organic soil amendments and irrigation scheduling in relation to crop-water status
Research Projects
New Research Untangling the Nematode Knot

Following the removal of chemical nematicide products from the market in recent years due to concerns about toxicity impacting on human and environmental health, the agricultural industry and in particular the sweet potato industry has become increasingly threatened by the invasion of the root-knot nematode (RKN).

CQUniversity and MEDIFARM - Medicinal Crop Research

CQUniversity's agricultural research team specialises in working with its communities to assess and support new agricultural innovations across our region and around the world. CQUniversity has an exceptional record in assessing new and novel crops for their suitability to production in new areas. This has included assessing dryland rice for production in North Queensland and assessing the performance of high-value spice crops, such as black sesame, for production in broadacre systems.

Our experience in non-traditional crop research also includes a strong track record in assessing medicinal poppy performance in Tasmania and industrial hemp in Queensland. Professor Philip Brown, who heads CQUniversity’s Institute for Future Farming Systems (IFFS), led research projects in Tasmania which identified key yield and quality determinants for opium poppy production.

Industrial hemp research led by Dr Surya Bhattarai identified that the photoperiodic sensitivity of the crop could be controlled by the activation or deactivation of genes triggered by the change in light duration perceived by photoreceptive pigments. By improving the understanding of the mechanisms of photoperiodicity and sexual inheritance, Dr Bhattarai contributed to advances in breeding and crop management for commercial cultivation.

News Articles
CQUni Lecturer Wins International Ag Research Fellowship

A commitment to making a difference to agriculture in developing countries has been awarded with a prestigious fellowship for CQUniversity’s Dr Shahla Hosseini Bai. Dr Hosseini Bai is currently completing a John Dillon Fellowship provided by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), which is awarded to top researchers to develop their leadership skills in research management, agricultural policy and extension technologies.

Australia-First Trial of Black Sesame Shows Seeds of Success

CQUniversity researchers were on hand at Alton Downs, near Rockhampton, as an Australia-first trial crop of black sesame was shown to be a success.

CQUni Supports Efforts to Smash the Avocado Production Bottleneck

A new stem cell multiplication method could double Queensland’s avocado production as well as reducing the time for new avocado varieties to reach commercial orchards.

CQUni Spicing up Crop Research with AustChilli

Breaking down the traditional separation between the research community and the farm-gate is paying dividends for Bundaberg’s horticultural sector. CQUniversity has partnered with Australia’s largest chilli company, AustChilli, to address issues affecting on-farm production, starting from the ground up.

New Research Untangling the Nematode Knot

Sweet potato growers have shown their eagerness for new insights into controlling the costly problem of root-knot nematodes (RKN) following a treatment assessment trial by CQUniversity Australia and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Commercialisation of PNG Sweet Potato Crop Supported Thanks to $5 Million Project

Commercialisation of Papua New Guinea's sweet potato crop will be supported by CQUniversity's Institute for Future Farming Systems thanks to a $5 million project.

Black Sesame Crops