August 13, 2009
Primary Industries and Fisheries (QPIF) and
The University of Queensland
have joined forces to develop world-leading agriculture
modelling technologies to help farmers improve crop risk
management and profitability.
The joint venture has been formed to further develop the
Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM) – a computer
simulation model which takes into account many of the factors
affecting a farm’s success, including different plant, soil and
management approaches, to inform on-farm management decisions.
APSIM has a broad range of applications including: farming
systems design, assessment of seasonal climate forecasting,
supply chain planning, development of waste management
guidelines, risk assessment for government policy making, as
well as guiding research and educational activities.
The APSIM Unincorporated Joint Venture (APSIM UJV) Steering
Committee Chair, University of Queensland Professor Kaye
Basford, said the recent signing of a new APSIM agreement builds
on over 20 years of research and places the joint venture at the
forefront of world agricultural modelling research.
Director of CSIRO’s Sustainable Agriculture Flagship, Dr Brian
Keating, said the initiative will help Australian agriculture
respond to the critical challenges of increasing productivity
while reducing its environmental footprint.
“The APSIM research team is well placed to build on its past
achievements and achieve new innovations in knowledge-based
systems to support the productivity gains and enhanced
management practices needed for the future prosperity of
Australian agriculture,” Dr Keating said.
QPIF APSIM UJV Leader Dr Daniel Rodriguez said in this time of
global change there is an urgent need to help farmers capitalise
“Recent advances in our APSFarm tool, for example, which
provides virtual farm modelling, are helping farmers and
researchers design more profitable and resilient crops,
practices and farm businesses,” Dr Rodriguez said.
“Farmers have to contend with reductions in the allocation of
water for irrigation and changes in prices and that is where our
work can help farmers adapt.”
He said dryland farmers can also benefit from the support
available through APSIM and APSFarm to help identify more
profitable allocations of their production resources between
cropping and livestock enterprises.
“The APSIM and APSFarm models are also helping researchers and
farmers identify optimum adaptation pathways in the face of
increasing climate variability and climate change,” Dr Rodriguez
According to project scientist, University of Queensland
Professor Graeme Hammer, advances in areas such as virtual crop
modelling are essential to meet the growing demand for grain for
feedlots or ethanol production.
“To mitigate the impact of climate change and diminishing water
supplies and meet the demand for grain, scientists need to find
high-performing varieties that best suit environmental
conditions and market requirements – and we are doing this
through APSIM,” Professor Hammer said.
“Major breakthroughs in molecular technology mean scientists can
now engineer genes for water-use efficiency and ideal
root-system architecture. Virtual plant technology could provide
the answers for new-age crop improvement.”
Initially the new APSIM UJV Initiative will consist of CSIRO,
the Queensland Dept of Primary Industries and Fisheries and The
University of Queensland, but other groups are being encouraged
CSIRO initiated the National Research Flagships to provide
science-based solutions in response to Australia’s major
research challenges and opportunities. The 10 Flagships form
multidisciplinary teams with industry and the research community
to deliver impact and benefits for Australia.
Primary Industries and Fisheries
from The University of Queensland