SEMINAR: Dr Roger Lawes: Is there a new twist in an old technology?
|Dr Roger Lawes: Is there a new twist in an old technology? : Modelling crop rotations with the Land Use Sequence Optimiser
Crop rotation, where a legume, pasture, fallow or oilseed is grown after a cereal crop to manage soil borne disease and on occasions fix nitrogen, is one of the oldest technologies in agriculture. However, we are still researching the concept because plant breeding helps some crops resist certain diseases, weed management practices evolve, and fertiliser can provide a comparatively cheap source of nutrition. Farmers reacted to these changes by growing fewer break crops, but may now need to embrace seemingly unprofitable options like fallow on their farms. Here we demonstrate how the Land Use Sequence Optimiser (LUSO) can generate optimum land use strategies for various biotic stresses and land use options. We compare the performance of optimal sequences to those local agronomists recommend, and then explore how variable the optimal and recommended sequences are by drawing predicted crop yields from simulated distributions generated by a crop model. When challenged with variable seasons, the optimal sequence is often suboptimal and often the crop sequence has little bearing on the financial outcome. In other situations, the crop sequence choice will heavily influence the financial outcome for the farmer. I will discuss the deterministic and stochastic versions of LUSO, and the implications of the above findings.
Roger Lawes is a Senior Research Scientist at CSIRO who works across a range of projects in farming systems. He has research interests in crop modelling, plant breeding, farming systems modelling, agronomy and applied statistics. Prior to joining CSIRO 12 years ago he completed a PhD at the University of Queensland.
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