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PhD position – optimising whole farm economic returns for irrigated grain crops

The PhD candidate will conduct research and modelling on a variety of irrigated cropping systems in Australia, from the Murray-Darling Basin to the Lower Limestone Coast in SA and to the Midlands in Tasmania. Using a participatory process, the candidate will work with a team of experienced researchers but also will be involved in farmer surveys and extension of project results with grower groups.

The project will develop an economic calculator or similar, enabling whole-farm sensitivity analysis and taking into consideration factors including (but not limited to) price of water, irrigation layout, variable input costs and grain price to optimise farm scale returns from allocating available irrigation water to alternative crops. The project should address the following questions: 

  1. How does irrigation type (i.e. overhead laterals, flood irrigation and trickle) affect crop gross margins ($/ha) for a given water price? 
  2. How does water price affect crop gross margin (water demand requirements and timing)? 
  3. How does crop choice affect gross margin on a per hectare basis for a given water price?
  4. How does commodity prices affect crop choices for a given water price? 
  5. What is the relative probability that the predicted economic outcome will occur, i.e. what is the risk or confidence associated with various scenarios?

Deadline: 31 January 2020

More information on eligibility, the application process, and contact details.

PhD position – the nexus between profitability, productivity, greenhouse gas mitigation and carbon sequestration of livestock businesses under climate change

The project will explore the nexus between profitability, sheep and beef productivity, greenhouse gas mitigation and carbon sequestration of livestock businesses in an increasingly variable climate. The candidate will be required to conduct an integrated assessment including farm case studies in regions of Tasmania, including the Midlands and King Island. The study will identify farming systems adaptations that are profitable, environmentally sustainable and targeted towards future market opportunities.

Adaptation options will explore pasture feedbase including new legumes and grasses, animal genetics, new technology (e.g. virtual fencing) and management options, as well as options to capture value from emerging carbon markets. Through computer modelling data analysis and work with farmers, the project will inform future research and development investment in grazing systems with higher resilience to climate change and challenges across eastern Australia and provide a series of farm systems that can be used to either demonstrate or research options to raise profitability in each region.

Deadline: 1 February 2020

More information on eligibility, the application process, and contact details.