The Agronomy Australia Young Agronomist Award was presented at the 18th Australian Agronomy Conference in Ballarat, Victoria. The award recognises an agronomist aged 36 or under for their record of publications, supervision of PhD candidates, research funding, service to the industry and research impact.

Dr Chris Korte, President of Agronomy Australia, said Dr Harrison received his award in recognition of an outstanding scientific research and publication record.

Dr Harrison explained:

Over the past five years at TIA, I have worked on systems modelling research across several fields including crop genetics, climate science, soil microbiology, plant physiology and livestock production. Before that I completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Institute National de la Recherche Agronomique in Montpellier in France and at CSIRO in Canberra, as well as working as a research scientist at other institutions in Australia and internationally.

Recently, Dr Harrison was part of a collaborative research team that developed an online framework known as the Pasture Predictor, a free online tool and mobile app to help Tasmanian farmers predict pasture growth to maximise productivity. The Pasture Predictor was developed in collaboration with Sense-T, CSIRO and Dairy Australia.

“The Pasture Predictor uses real-time climate data and nine-month weather forecasts to predict pasture growth and leaf appearance rates, estimate optimal nitrogen application and support decision-making about livestock rotations,” Dr Harrison said.

This is a great example of how data can be presented in a user-friendly platform to support industry in its decision-making. Being able to forecast accurately your pasture growth is extremely important for dairy farmers and enhances productivity, efficiency and sustainability.

Dr Harrison has conducted research across a wide range of agricultural commodities and is involved in the internationally recognised research model for Water for Profit, a collaboration between TIA, the Tasmanian Government and Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association that aims to help farmers maximise their return on investment in irrigation.

Dr Harrison presented two papers at the 18th Australian Agronomy Conference, with a focus on climate forecasts and barley research. He was also a co-author of another three papers presented at the conference.

TIA is a joint venture between the Tasmanian Government and the University of Tasmania.

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