Dr John Kirkegaard: improving farm productivity and sustainability.

Dr John Kirkegaard: improving farm productivity and sustainability

Dr John Kirkegaard is undertaking research to improve the productivity and sustainability of farming systems.

  • 24 June 2010 | Updated 5 September 2014

In this article

  1. Overview
  2. Publishing History


Page 1 of 2

Current activities

Dr Kirkegaard's current research projects are aimed at improving the productivity and sustainability of farming systems.

These include:

  • factors limiting canola productivity in southern Australia
  • improving whole-farm water-use efficiency including improved subsoil water use by crops
  • evaluating biofumigation potential of Brassica cover crops
  • harnessing soil biology for improved crop performance.


Dr Kirkegaard joined CSIRO as an agronomist in 1990 to improve the productivity and sustainability of dry-land mixed farming systems in southeast Australia.

Key research has included understanding the rotational benefits of Brassica (a genus of plants in the mustard family) crops including biofumigation and biological drilling and improving crop performance under conservation cropping systems involving direct drilling and stubble retention.

Recent research has focused on:

  • the way in which soil biology can be harnessed for improved crop production
  • investigations of improving the subsoil water use by crops on a range of soils
  • investigations of factors associated with poor performance of canola in southern Australia.

Academic qualifications

Dr Kirkegaard graduated from Agricultural Science at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, in 1983.

He was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Queensland in 1990 where he investigated the impact of compaction on grain legume productivity on the Darling Downs region of Queensland.


Dr Kirkegaard has been awarded a:

  • 2008 Newton-Turner award which is for exceptional scientists who have demonstrated outstanding scientific achievement
  • 2009 Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Seed of Light award which recognises excellence and achievement in grains research extension and communication.

See a list of scientific papers published by Dr Kirkegaard on the next page.