Soil health key to farm productivity says new Nuffield Scholar

Friday 20 September 2013
SRA Media Release

Simon Mattsson, from Marian in Queensland, has been awarded a prestigious Nuffield Scholarship, supported by Sugar Research Australia (SRA).

Simon will study soil health, focussing on both the beneficial and predatory microbial activities that are crucial to sustaining productive soils.

Simon manages his family’s north Queensland 155-hectare farm producing sugar cane, soybeans and chickpeas in rotation.

“I’d like to focus on soil biology and the balances of fungi and bacteria, as well as the beneficial and predatory-type microbial activities which are crucial to sustaining soil health.

“My desire is to investigate soil health and the fundamentals that sustain good practices that will provide the basis of a sustainable production system into the future,” Simon explains.

In addition, Simon would like to investigate value adding at the farm gate to make the most of the current rotation of soybeans and chickpeas with the primary crop of sugar cane.

During his scholarship Simon hopes to visit the UK, the USA, Brazil, India and South Africa.

“As the new research, development and extension company for the Australian sugarcane industry, we are proud to continue the tradition of funding a Nuffield scholarship placement,” said Dr Michael O’Shea, General Manager Research Funding Unit, SRA.

Managing soil health is central to all agricultural production – practices which understand and improve soil quality can deliver on-farm improvements and significant industry value.

“Simon’s successful learnings will be applied within his own farming system and then communicated to the whole-of-industry for everyone’s benefit,” he concluded.

Further information:
Nuffield Australia is an organisation providing opportunities to Australian farmers to travel overseas on an agricultural research scholarship.

It is a 16-week program consisting of both group and individual travel.

In March 2014 one group will travel through Canada, the USA (California and Washington DC), Mexico, Europe, Brazil and New Zealand, while a second group will tour South Africa, Kenya, Eastern Europe, Europe and the USA.

Media contacts:
Vanessa Sandhu, Communications Manager, Sugar Research Australia, 0419 175 815.

David Cussons, Nuffield Australia, 0404 853 827 or email
Simon Mattson, 0417 862 989 or email

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