Agricultural Science

Delivering better crops and improving farming systems

Jason Able, Head of the Department of Agricultural Science

Professor Jason Able
Head of the Department of Agricultural Science

The School of Agriculture, Food and Wine has a strong international reputation for research underpinning the breeding of crops, the management of soils, diseases and weeds and dryland farming systems agronomy.

Our experts are co-located with industry and government partners at the University's Waite and Roseworthy campuses, both of which are recognised as centres of excellence in agricultural science.

Waite campus is also the largest concentration of agricultural research expertise in the Southern Hemisphere.


Research strengths

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Farming systems

Our research on sustainable agricultural systems focuses on crop production and agronomy and is particularly relevant to dryland agricultural systems in Australia and overseas. Our international research includes research on biofortification, agroforestry and extension.

Weed science research addresses integrated weed management, herbicide resistance, weed ecology and crop-weed interactions in agricultural systems.

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Entomology & plant pathology

Our research in entomology addresses the biology, behaviour, ecology of insects. We study insects that occur in a wide range of ecosystems, including pasture crops, vegetables, fruits, vineyards, greenhouse crops and natural ecosystems.

Key areas of interest are biological control of insects and weeds, integrated pest management, biosecurity, crop pollination and conservation and enhancement of ecosystem services delivered by insects. Our research considers beneficial parasitic wasps, predatory arthropods, crop pollinators and a wide range of pest organisms.

Our research in plant pathology addresses the biology, ecology, epidemiology and plant responses to attack and provides foundations for diagnosis, control and management of plant diseases, pests and parasites. We focus mainly on viticulture, broad-acre and horticultural systems, but also consider native vegetation and post-harvest damage to stored products.

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Soil science

Soils are complex media that support plant growth by supplying nutrients and water. They are critical for sustainability of agricultural and natural ecosystems.

By applying expertise in soil chemistry (fertilisers, contaminants, soil carbon), soil physics (soil structure and water availability) and soil biology (nutrient cycling, roots and rhizosphere, mycorrhizae), we conduct research that improves understanding of soil processes and functions, leading to improved methods for soil management.

Biometry Hub


Biometry research involves development and application of statistical and computational methods for the design and analysis of experiments. This includes research in advanced experimental design and statistical modelling of comparative experiments conducted in controlled and field environments.

We have a strong focus on statistical genetics research including linkage map construction, whole genome QTL analysis and genome wide association studies (GWAS). We also focus on the computational aspects of digital agriculture including machine learning algorithms, high performance computing as well as user friendly online and mobile applications.

Biometry Hub website