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Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences

CQUniversity campuses span a vast area of significant agricultural output from grazing, cropping, horticulture and forestry industries, and therefore it is strategically relevant for CQUniversity to support a strong agricultural research capacity. Central Queensland is one of Australia’s richest and most diverse agricultural regions, containing centres of production for beef, sugarcane, vegetables, citrus, and macadamia that rank at or near the top of the production region lists for each commodity nationally. The CQUniversity research activity within 07 FoR covers a range of discipline areas at the 4 digit code level, reflecting the strength and diversity of agricultural industry in our footprint region. In order to support research across several important commodity and discipline areas within the limits of resources available, our research operates within a systems framework and is predominantly applied research. Knowledge and technologies from our research program find direct application in improved agricultural, land and farm management practices.

The research program has been well supported by external funding from nationally competitive grant schemes as well as direct industry funding, consistent with the applied focus of the research. The expertise base of research staff in agricultural science is strong in the core research activities including animal-based research (predominantly focused on the northern beef industry), horticultural research, water and irrigation research, natural resource management and resource economics with strong links to Environmental Sciences (05). A technology theme across these discipline areas has resulted in an emerging area of research on precision agriculture through the use of sensor networks, linking agricultural research to the engineering research capability within the University.

In the 2018 ERA results, CQUniversity achieved a rating of 4 in both Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (FoR 07) and Agriculture, Land and Farm Management (FoR 0701) and a rating of 5 in Horticultural Production (FoR 0706), which means that research in these areas is rated above and well above world standard.

EI2018 - Case Study

Delivering Improved Fruit Quality Through Innovative Use of Near Infrared Spectroscopy

CQUniversity research into the use of near-infrared spectroscopy technology has led to the development and commercialisation of technology to non-invasively assess the internal quality of fruit. This technology is now in use for assessing when to harvest fruit to achieve maximum flavour and eating quality. It is also used in market (at the wholesale and retail stage) to assess fruit in context of an eating quality specification. Australian mango growers are prime adopters, achieving economic benefits through decreased fruit wastage (less immature and out of specification fruit harvested) and improved sales and prices (up to a 40% increase in sales noted by Australian Mango Industry Association) through delivering consistently sweet fruit to consumers.

More information about Professor Kerry Walsh