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John Stevenson

Nuffield Australia 2016 Scholarship winner

John Stevenson, from Lockhart in New South Wales, received a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (northern region).

He has investigated ways to close the gap between potential grain yield and soil Plant Available Water Capacity (PAWC), with a focus on boosting productivity from sustainable dryland cropping systems.

For more than a decade John has managed large rain-fed grain production enterprises for the Warakirri Cropping business from the NSW Riverina to the Queensland Darling Downs. Crops have included wheat, canola, barley, pulses, sorghum, cotton and oaten hay (with some fallow phases).

He says the use of PAWC calculations through a range of grains industry decision-support tools is highly valuable, but there is no simple, affordable technique for growers to measure PAWC in a landscape that has highly variable soils.

“PAWC of soils is the key driver of dryland grain production right across the world,” he says.

“It leads to a better understanding of soil variability that can help growers optimise the use of crop inputs where moisture is a limiting factor or is too excessive.”

John has evaluated systems that allow cost effective estimation of PAWC. He has also studied methods of better combining wide-ranging precision agriculture data, such as electromagnetic induction (EM) surveys, elevation data, pH, yield mapping and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) imagery.

Through his scholarship he has travelled to Israel, South America, the UK, the USA and New Zealand.

Location: Lockhart, New South Wales
Scholarship report: click here
Returning Scholar presentation: Watch video
Returning Scholar profile:
click to view

John Stevenson was supported by:

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