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Theme 4: Agrimetrics

Agrimetrics refers to the use of both existing and newly derived data from sensor technologies to improve our understanding and optimisation of complex agricultural systems. It harnesses the latest in soil and crop sensor technology, machine learning, geostatistical methods and process modelling to produce data capturing detailed information on soil and crop status. This synthesis will support the adoption of sustainable farming practices, such as precision agriculture, that improve the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of agricultural production. It will provide the information needed to improve our understanding and modelling of agricultural processes. Information gaps and future data requirements will also be identified to inform the development of the next generation of sensor technology.


Inventory of soil science Teaching Nationally

Project Leader: John Bennett

Research Partner: Soil Science Australia | The University of Sydney

This project assesses, analyses and reports on the state of soil science education offerings to meet the future demand for soil science expertise Evidence gathered by Soil Science Australia (SSA) and previous AUstralian Soil Network discusison papers report the need for a database where clients can explore and identify what soil science teaching and learning activities are available, as a ‘one-stop shop’. Linked to this is the ability of a student at any level to identify pathways from education to a career either in soil science, or one where soil science is a major stakeholder. At current there is very little clarity for the student concerning which universities teach courses that could lead towards a Certified Professional Soil Science (CPSS) accreditation, which degree to select, which courses within these degrees and how this maps to the CPSS pathway. The latter was an expressed measure of success for the National Soil RD&E Strategy (Australian Government, 2014).

There are three primary drivers for developing this renewed data-base of soil science teaching:

  1. This will be a resource that will support soil science educators to: 
    a. explore and share teaching practices (COP), 
    b. understand how the material and teaching is delivered across different sectors, and 
    c. provide evidence to support curriculum renewal or opportunities for funding; 
  2. Provide a data-base that will contribute to SSA’s efforts to establish a Training Board, where clients can explore their needs for professional development in soil science be it ad-hoc or formal; and,
  3. Provide the means to allow identified soils related courses to be mapped to industry standards in a manner that could be used to standardise and (in the future) accredit soil science teaching against CPSS requirements.

Project Leader: Afshin Ghahramani

Research Partner: Qld Government - Queensland Department of Environment and Science |Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy

HowLeaky is an important asset for the Queensland Government, universities, research institutes and is useful for estimating water balance and water quality for a range of land uses and management options. 

It is applied to benchmarking water quality changes associated with the Great Barrier Reef catchment investments. This project has developed a new web-based platform for the HowLeaky model to facilitate improved management, development and governance of the model. This was delivered through a collaborative research agreement between the University of Southern Queensland and the Queensland Government, Department of Science and Environment.

A peer review and support framework including a HowLeaky Steering Committee and Panel were developed to oversee model peer review activities and governance. The Panel includes members from the Queensland Government, the University of Southern Queensland and the private sector. The activities of the Panel are overseen by a Steering Committee which consists of the delegate(s) from the Queensland Government and the University of Southern Queensland. The Steering Committee ensures on-going support for the development and use of HowLeaky.

Project Leader: Craig Lobsey

Research Partner: Soil CRC

This is a collaborative project with Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research (NZ) and industry partners to develop novel soil sensing technologies.  With the sensor technology and analytics we are developing in this project we aim to provide land managers with more detailed, cost effective and timely information on soil nutrient status and dynamics.