GRDC is one of the world’s leading grains research organisations responsible for planning, investing in and overseeing research, development and extension to deliver improvements in production, sustainability and profitability across the Australian grains industry.
2021 Scholarship winner
Josh McIntosh from Nadda, South Australia, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). Through his research, Josh will investigate soil health improvement methods for broadacre organic production of dryland crops and livestock.
Josh and his family run their certified organic, mixed farming business, which sees the production of grains, pulses, seed, beef cattle and Merino sheep across 2,400 hectares of land.
As someone who cares for the land, Josh is particularly focussed on exploring agricultural practices that quantifiably increase soil health and can be applied within a production system that is centred on gradual improvement rather than remedial inputs.
“Through my Nuffield Scholarship, I would like to apply my research to the design of a production system that utilises soil health improvement methods for low-input, integrated crop and livestock systems,” Josh said.
“Reducing soil degradation through increased water use efficiency and science-based soil health measures, is key to the sustainability of any dryland cropping system.
“Organic dryland farming generally relies on intensive tillage practices. To be sustainable, it’s critical for organic farmers to have a practical understanding of the natural functions that influence soil health so they can achieve soil improvement in balance with profitability and timeliness.”
By underpinning his research across the key themes of sustainability and profitability, Josh also hopes to further bridge the gap between organic and conventional production through a shared values approach.
Josh will explore low-rainfall or semi-arid cropping regions in Central America, arid regions of Africa and other parts of Australia to help inform his direction in aligning soil health with on-farm productivity and sustainability.
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