Transformational agronomy: Restoring the role of agronomy in modern agricultural research

James Hunt, John Kirkegaard, Corrine Celestina, Kenton Porker

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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Abstract

The global food security challenge has prompted many to propose the need for ‘transformational change’ in food production systems through technological ‘breakthroughs’. These transformative technologies are often distinguished from the ‘incremental’ advances generated by agronomy and breeding which are dismissed as business as usual, and inadequate to achieve the productivity improvements sought. Since the prequel to this book was published in 1987, the reduction in yield gap achieved by the Australian grains industry has been formidable. In the 10 years prior to 1987, Australian wheat growers averaged 34% of water limited potential yield. In the 10 years prior to 2017, they averaged 52%, a 35% gain relative to the most recent period, or 1.2% per annum (Hochman et al. 2017).When viewed over the 30-year period this change is truly transformational, but the transformation has come through incremental gains (Kirkegaard 2019).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralian agriculture in 2020
Subtitle of host publicationFrom conservation to automation
EditorsJim Pratley, John Kirkegaard
Place of PublicationWagga Wagga, Australia
PublisherAustralian Society for Agronomy
Chapter23
Pages373-388
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780648581901
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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