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Improving wheat yields in dispersive soils


Examine how wheat yield can be improved by increasing tolerance to different soil constraints

Dispersive soils reduce wheat yields on 68 % of cropping land in Australia. These soils often comprise highly alkaline subsoils (pH > 9) and many other constraints including high salinity, high aluminium, waterlogging and high soil strength.

A current GRDC-funded project is aiming to improve the yield of wheat in dispersive soils by pyramiding tolerance to one or more of these soil constraints into elite wheat varieties. We have a range of projects involving the following research areas: plant phenotyping, plant nutrition, plant genetics, soil science and farming systems that can be tailored to your interests.

You will develop skills in:

  • Plant phenotyping
  • Soil chemical analysis
  • Greenhouse, growth chamber and/or field trials
  • Molecular biology, genotyping and/or gene expression, molecular markers
  • Experimental design and data analysis

Key References:

McDonald, G. K., Taylor, J. D., Verbyla, A., and Kuchel, H. (2013): Assessing the importance of subsoil constraints to yield of wheat and its implications for yield improvement. Crop and Pasture Science 63, 1043-1065.


Associate Professor Glenn McDonald

Tagged in Honours projects - Agricultural science, Honours projects - Rhiannon Schilling, Honours projects - Glenn McDonald, Honours projects - Soil science, Honours projects - Plant science

Competition: Young Scientist of the Year

How do we feed the world’s growing population? How do we save our wildlife from extinction? Got an idea that will build a brighter, greener world?

Australian high school students are invited to submit a short video about one of Australia’s big science challenges.

Video competition