Can systems performance be improved by modifying farming systems in Queensland?

Jayne Gentry1, David Lawrence1, Darren Aisthorpe2, Andrew Erbacher3, Joanna Weier4, James Hagan1, Lindsay Bell5

1 Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, 203 Tor St, Toowoomba, QLD, 4350,,  

2 Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, 99 Hospital Rd, Emerald, QLD, 4720

3 Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, 22-26 Lagoon St, Goondiwindi, QLD, 4390

4 “Clermont”, Mungindi, NSW, 2406

5 CSIRO Agriculture and Food, PO Box 102, Toowoomba Qld 4350


Farming systems are currently underperforming in terms of yield, due to challenges that include declines in soil fertility, herbicide resistant weeds and increasing soil pathogens.  Farming system changes will have to be made to maintain and improve productivity into the future. In 2015 research began, supported by the Grains Research Development Corporation, with experiments established at seven locations throughout Queensland and northern New South Wales. These experiments will assess the impact of nine farming systems across numerous parameters, including system production and economics, resource use efficiency, pathogen loads/populations, weed populations and soil health. Interim results indicate that differences in cumulative yields and gross margins are mainly driven by crop choice. These results will be tracked over a five to 10 year timeframe, when systems performance will be evaluated against all parameters at the conclusion of the project in 2019. Ideally, the project will continue until 2024 to fully assess the expected long-term differences between the systems in the study.


The Australian Society of Agronomy is the professional body for agronomists in Australia. It has approximately 500 active members drawn from government, universities, research organisations and the private sector.

Photo Credits

David Marland Photography Southern Farming Systems Agriculture Victoria

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