Beth Penrose

UTAS Home Dr Beth Penrose

Beth Penrose

Lecturer in Pasture Science

Room 308 , Life Science, Private Bag 98

+61 3 6226 5569 | +61 (0) 418 895382 (phone)

Dr Beth Penrose is a lecturer in pasture science at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA). Her research focusses on improving soil and plant nutrition for human and animal health, whether that is increasing concentrations of beneficial nutrients, or reducing concentrations of contaminants. She regularly works between disciplines, collaborating with researchers in health and nutrition, food science, aquaculture, zoology, geology and education.

Her teaching is focussed on pasture and animal science and agronomy. She is also the coordinator for the Honours program.

Beth is a member of the GRDC Community of Practice for Crop Nutrition and is the Secretary of the Australian Grassland Association. She is also the Tasmanian representative for Researchers in Agriculture for International Development (RAID) and sits on the Tasmanian Committee of the Crawford Fund.

Beth is actively seeking PhD and Masters of Research students, and welcomes applications from potential students interested in plant nutrition, nutrition-sensitive agriculture, plant physiology and pasture agronomy.


Before joining the University of Tasmania, Beth was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Nottingham (UK), working on the MAG-NET project, which focuses on improving magnesium, calcium and trace element nutrition in ruminants. Prior to this, she completed her PhD at the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UK), in conjunction with the University of Nottingham (UK), working on reducing the transfer of radionuclides from soil to livestock in the event of nuclear accidents.

Career summary


DegreeThesis TitleUniversityCountryAwarded
PhDCultivar substitution as a remediation strategy in radiocaesium and radiostrontium contaminated areasUniversity of NottinghamUK2016
BSc in Environmental ScienceAn Investigation of the Presence and Uptake of Caesium-137 in Marine Macroalgae of the Severn EstuaryUniversity of the West of EnglandUK2012

Administrative expertise

Beth managed the MAG-NET project, a £1 million project focussing on livestock nutrition.


Teaching expertise

  • Pasture science
  • Plant nutrition
  • Radioecology
  • Agronomy

Beth has taught first, second and final year undergraduates and masters students at the University of Nottingham (UK and Malaysia campuses), in plant science, environmental science and geology.

Teaching responsibility

Beth coordinates the Agronomy and Pasture and Animal Science units and teaches into the Sustainable Resource Management unit. She also coordinates the TIA Honours program.

View more on Dr Beth Penrose in WARP


  • Pasture management
  • Plant nutrition
  • Animal nutrition
  • Remediation of radiologically contaminated land

Research Themes

Beth’s research aligns to the University’s research theme of Environment, Resources and Sustainability. Her research interests include how to manage pasture nutrition to optimise the use of resources and help to protect the environment.

Her work on magnesium nutrition in pastures is likely to reduce the amount of animal-based magnesium treatments by providing more nutritious pastures, and integrates GIS data with plant and animal nutrition data to provide farmers with appropriate decision making tools, improving the sustainability of their livestock systems.

Beth’s work on the transfer of radionuclides to humans via livestock systems is allowing decision-making bodies such as national governments and the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) make better plans for pasture environments in the event of a nuclear accident.


Beth is currently involved in the Magnesium Network (MAG-NET) project with the University of Nottingham (UK), British Geological Survey (UK), Aberystwyth University (UK), Yara Fertilisers, Origin Fertilisers, Ruminant Mineral Consultancy, XL Vets and Germinal Holdings.

Fields of Research

  • Agronomy (300403)
  • Crop and pasture biochemistry and physiology (300404)
  • Public health nutrition (321005)
  • Nutrition and dietetics (321099)
  • Crop and pasture nutrition (300407)
  • Crop and pasture production (300499)
  • Animal nutrition (300303)
  • Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy (390113)
  • Sustainable agricultural development (300210)
  • Horticultural crop growth and development (300802)
  • Bioavailability and ecotoxicology (410201)
  • Geochemistry (370399)
  • Environmental rehabilitation and restoration (410405)
  • Agricultural land management (300202)
  • Soil chemistry and soil carbon sequestration (excl. carbon sequestration science) (410604)
  • Public health (420699)
  • Electrical engineering (400899)
  • Rural sociology (441003)
  • Conservation and biodiversity (410401)
  • Soil biology (410603)
  • Crop and pasture improvement (incl. selection and breeding) (300406)

Research Objectives

  • Sown pastures (excl. lucerne) (100505)
  • Nutrition (200410)
  • Wheat (260312)
  • Pasture, browse and fodder crops (100599)
  • Evaluation, allocation, and impacts of land use (180603)
  • Environmentally sustainable plant production (260199)
  • Sheep for meat (100412)
  • Assessment, development and evaluation of curriculum (160301)
  • Horticultural crops (260599)
  • Expanding knowledge in the agricultural, food and veterinary sciences (280101)
  • Health protection and disaster response (200406)
  • Beef cattle (100401)
  • Rural and remote area health (200508)
  • Oil and gas exploration (170203)
  • Barley (260301)
  • Behaviour and health (200401)
  • Environmentally sustainable animal production (100199)
  • Learner and learning (160199)
  • Soils (180605)
  • Terrestrial biodiversity (180606)
  • Stone fruit (excl. avocado) (260513)
  • Pome fruit, pip fruit (260511)


Beth's publications have primarily concerned the use of cultivar substitution as a remediation strategy from radiologically contaminated pastures.

Total publications


Journal Article

(13 outputs)
2021Khan WA, Shabala S, Cuin TA, Zhou M, Penrose B, 'Avenues for biofortification of zinc in barley for human and animal health: a meta-analysis', Plant and Soil pp. 1-19. ISSN 0032-079X (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s11104-021-05027-3 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Khan WA; Shabala S; Cuin TA; Zhou M


2021MacIntosh A, Dafforn K, Penrose B, Chariton A, Cresswell T, 'Ecotoxicological effects of decommissioning offshore petroleum infrastructure: A systematic review', Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology pp. 1-39. ISSN 1064-3389 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/10643389.2021.1917949 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 7


2020Godrich S, Kent K, Murray SL, Auckland S, Lo J, et al., 'Australian consumer perceptions of regionally grown fruits and vegetables: importance, enablers, and barriers', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17, (1) Article 63. ISSN 1660-4601 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17010063 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: Kent K; Murray SL; Auckland S


2020Kent K, Godrich S, Murray S, Auckland S, Blekkenhorst L, et al., 'Definitions, sources and self-reported consumption of regionally grown fruits and vegetables in two regions of Australia', Nutrients, 12, (4) pp. 1-20. ISSN 2072-6643 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/nu12041026 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Kent K; Murray S; Auckland S


2020Kent K, Murray S, Penrose B, Auckland S, Visentin D, et al., 'Prevalence and socio-demographic predictors of food insecurity in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic', Nutrients, 12, (9) pp. 1-20. ISSN 2072-6643 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/nu12092682 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 13Web of Science - 11

Co-authors: Kent K; Murray S; Auckland S; Visentin D; Lester EA


2020Penrose B, Lovatt JA, Palmer S, Thomson R, Broadley MR, 'Revisiting variation in leaf magnesium concentrations in forage grasses for improved animal health', Plant and Soil, 457 pp. 43-55. ISSN 0032-079X (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s11104-020-04716-9 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2


2019Brennan RF, Penrose B, Bell RW, 'Micronutrients limiting pasture production in Australia', Crop and Pasture Science, 70, (12) pp. 1053-1064. ISSN 1836-0947 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1071/CP19087 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 2


2019Hayes RC, Ara I, Badgery WB, Culvenor RA, Haling RE, et al., 'Prospects for improving perennial legume persistence in mixed grazed pastures of south-eastern Australia, with particular reference to white clover', Crop and Pasture Science, 70, (12) pp. 1141-1162. ISSN 1836-0947 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1071/CP19063 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 10

Co-authors: Ara I; Smith RW


2019Kumssa DB, Lovatt JA, Graham NS, Palmer S, Hayden R, et al., 'Magnesium biofortification of Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum L.) via agronomy and breeding as a potential way to reduce grass tetany in grazing ruminants', Plant and Soil pp. 1-17. ISSN 0032-079X (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s11104-019-04337-x [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3


2019Kumssa DB, Penrose B, Bone PA, Lovatt JA, Broadley MR, et al., 'A reconnaissance survey of farmers' awareness of hypomagnesaemic tetany in UK cattle and sheep farms', PLoS ONE, 14, (10) Article e0223868. ISSN 1932-6203 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223868 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 1


2017Penrose B, Beresford NA, Crout NMJ, Lovatt JA, Thomson R, et al., 'Forage grasses with lower uptake of caesium and strontium could provide safer' crops for radiologically contaminated areas', PLoS One, 12, (5) Article e0176040. ISSN 1932-6203 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176040 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 6


2016Penrose B, Johnson nee Payne KA, Arkhipov A, Maksimenko A, Gaschak S, et al., 'Inter-cultivar variation in soil-to-plant transfer of radiocaesium and radiostrontium in Brassica oleracea', Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 155-156 pp. 112-121. ISSN 0265-931X (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2016.02.020 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 12Web of Science - 12


2015Penrose B, Beresford NA, Broadley MR, Crout NMJ, 'Inter-varietal variation in caesium and strontium uptake by plants: a meta-analysi', Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 139 pp. 103-117. ISSN 0265-931X (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2014.10.005 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 21Web of Science - 18


Conference Publication

(4 outputs)
2020Kent K, Penrose B, Murray S, Auckland S, Visentin D, et al., 'Consumer Perceptions of Locally Grown Produce During the COVID-19 Pandemic', Consumer Perceptions of Locally Grown Produce During the COVID-19 Pandemic, 3 - 4 December 2020, online (2020) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Kent K; Murray S; Auckland S; Visentin D; Lester EA

2019Kent K, Godrich S, Blekkenhorst L, Murray SL, Auckland S, et al., 'How do consumers define, identify, and source regionally grown fruits and vegetables? A cross-sectional study in two agricultural regions of Australia', Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Nutrition Society of Australia, 2-5 December 2019, Newcastle, New South Wales (2019) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Kent K; Murray SL; Auckland S


2018Acuna T, Penrose B, Roberts O, Rawnsley R, Cosby A, 'Online tools adapted from industry for teaching agricultural science at university', Proceedings of the Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education, 26-28 September 2018, Adelaide, South Australia (2018) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Acuna T; Roberts O; Rawnsley R

2018Acuna T, Penrose B, Roberts O, Rawnsley R, Cosby A, 'Online tools adapted from industry for teaching agricultural science at university', Agricultural Education Symposium, 21-22 June 2018, Adelaide, South Australia, pp. 13-13. (2018) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Acuna T; Roberts O; Rawnsley R

Contract Report, Consultant's Report

(1 outputs)
2019Riffkin P, Christy B, O'Leary G, McCaskill M, Stott K, et al., 'DAV00141 - Project Findings and Recommendations for Future Research: Agriculture Victoria Research Technical Report', State of Victoria, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Melbourne, 104948 (2019) [Contract Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Acuna T; Merry A

Other Public Output

(2 outputs)
2019Penrose B, Alt S, Wilhelm N, 'Can trace elements improve frost tolerance?', Strategic Planning Resources, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Australia, 18 July (2019) [Internal Newsletter]

[eCite] [Details]


2018Kent K, Penrose B, 'Are the nutrients really being leached out of supermarket fruits and vegetables?',, Nine Digital Pty Ltd, Australia, 19 December (2018) [Media Interview]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Kent K


Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Investigating the potential of hemp as a forage crop (2020 - 2022)$49,970
Tasmania produces ~80% of the total Australian hemp seed production, and approximately 1400 ha of hemp was grown in Tasmania in 2018. Hemp provides an excellent option for short summer gaps in the cropping sequence, and goes from sowing to maturity in around 90 days. There is also anecdotal evidence to suggest that their fibrous roots can improve soil structure and function.However, at the moment it is not possible for Tasmanian farmers to make >$2000/ha gross margin as at the moment only the seed is harvested and utilised- the vegetative parts are left in the paddock and burnt. It is possible that hemp could be used as a forage crop exclusively, or as a dual prupose crop (such as canola) for both forage and seed, or forage and fibre. However, there has been no research regarding the nutritional value of hemp for animal feed in Tasmania, except for a current honours project that focusses only on one variety. This project will investigate the effects of genotype, grazing time and environment on the nutritional value (fibre, protein, minerals etc) of five genotypes. Growing these crops in two locations across the state and over two years will provide scientifically robust data regarding the nutritional value. Using two simulated grazings (performed by manually cutting the plants) will enable us to give information to growers about when the best grazing time is to suit their priorities regarding seed yield and forage production. Working in conjunction with the Tasmanian Hemp Association, producing factsheets and holding field days will ensure that the industry will be engaged and informed about the research, and that the most important research questions are being asked
AgriFutures ($49,970)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Penrose B; Field B; Donoghue A
2020 - 2022
Increasing resilience and building capacity in orchards through permanent soil cover (2020)$49,694
Current orchard floor management methods of maintaining a bare-earth strip under the tree row through application of herbicides has led to a loss of soil biodiversity, poor nutrient retention, reduced water infiltration and increased soil compaction in orchards, all of which impact on crop yield and quality. This project will establish two demonstration sites in commercial orchards to demonstrate the benefits of regenerative agriculture practices such as maintaining permanent soil cover which have been shown to revitalise soil, allowing for increased productivity and capacity building.
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources ($49,694)
Smart Farms Small Grants
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Penrose B; Bound SA
Are nutrients limiting legume nodulation in Tasmanian dairy pastures? (2020)$8,423
Legumes are important for pasture and livestock production as they are high in protein, improve soil structure through their deep tap roots and can fix nitrogen (N) via a symbiosis with rhizobia. However, soil conditions including pH, moisture content and nutrient concentrations need to be suitable for both the legume plants and the rhizobial bacteria in order for symbiosis and nitrogen fixation to occur. Results from a study in NSW found that 90% of paddocks (n=225) surveyed had inadequate legume nodulation, due to below-optimal soil conditions necessary for N fixation. This meant either producers needed to use more nitrogen to satisfy plant demands, or N concentrations in the soil were lower than optimal, due to an assumption that presence of the legumes equated to efficient N fixation. No such research has been conducted in Tasmania in recent times. This project aligns with the Honours project of Will Coad, who is investigating the effect of soil conditions (pH, soil type, N concentration) on biomass and nodulation score of white clover in Tasmanian dairy pastures. This project investigates the effect of macro and micronutrient concentrations on nodulation of clover, which is understudied in the literatureThis grant is for operational costs only.
AW Howard Memorial Trust ($8,423)
Grant - Early Career Researcher Award
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Penrose B
Growing red meat productivity through the selection and establishment of perennial legumes (2020 - 2025)$1,567,952
Currently, the prevalence of perennial legumes in Tasmania pastures is low and is limiting the profitability and productivity of Tasmanian red meat industry. This project will take a region-focused approach to improve the proportion of legumes in the high rainfall regions of the Northwest-coast and low rainfall region of the Tasmanian Midlands, which have different constraints. The north-west coast and King Island has over 90,000ha of improved high rainfall pastures and a beef herd accounting for approximately 30-40% of the Tasmanian herd. Beef producers experience feed shortages during autumn and winter, while recent modelling by TIA has also highlighted a contraction of pasture growth during summer; these feed shortages lead to stagnation in growth rates of beef cattle. Furthermore, the low-lying flat nature of the land means that waterlogging and pugging issues are systemic in some areas in winter. This project will identify, research and demonstrate legume species that can successfully fill feed gaps during late summer/autumn and improve resilience to waterlogging/pugging. The low-medium rainfall Tasmanian Midlands (260,000+ ha of improved/modified pastures) has seen recent transformational irrigation developments that have allowed the finishing of lambs in a traditionally wool and lamb sourcing region. However, only around 10% of the area is irrigated and there is significant potential to improve the shoulder dryland grazing country to increase stocking rates. Long and unpredictable periods of moisture deficit have led to sowing failures and apprehension about renovating pastures with much of the support land being underutilised, and poor performing due to the absence of improved pasture species including perennial legumes. By successfully establishing perennial legumes, producers can extend their growing seasons beyond what is currently be achieved and enhance the resilience of their feedbase to changing and variable climate. This research will explore sowing practices that advantage legumes during establishment and how to establish legumes in existing grass dominant pastures. The project will conclude with involve and partner activities aimed at increasing adoption on farm.
Meat and Livestock Australia ($1,399,952)
Meat and Livestock Australia ($84,000); University of Tasmania ($84,000)
Livestock Productivity Partnership
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Smith RW; Martin GI; Ball PD; Penrose B; Langworthy A
2020 - 2025
Examining pollutant linkage chains at the Royal George Tailings, Tasmania (2019)$29,713
Following the announcement of the Tasmanian Governments encouraging innovation in mining initiative in 2017, several priority research topics have been proposed by Mineral Resources Tasmania (MRT). One priority is to study the geochemistry of the Royal George tailings site (Eastern Tasmania). This site has been progressively rehabilitated by the Tasmanian Government over the past decade) with groundworks including reprofiling of the tailings and introduction of vegetation to stabilise the surface and reduce geoenvironmental risks associated with wind-blown dusts from the tailings surface. Previous studies at the site conducted by Noble et al. (2016) focussed on documenting the mobility of arsenic at this site following liming. Now that plants are able to persist at the site, there is a priority to measure concentrations of heavy metals in the plants there, and to understand the risk to animal and human health posed by the heavy metal concentrations in the plants and water at the site. The projects strategy will focus on: 1) representative tailings sampling across the site to a maximum depth of 50 cm; 2) sampling of botanical communities in vicinity of where tailings are collected; 3) surface water sampling to determine if this poses a risk to the wombat community through ingestion; 4) sampling of wombat hairs from those present on site, and sampling a community at a non-mining impacted site to determine if those at Royal George have been exposed to (bioaccessible) metals. This integrated investigation will apply a range of analytical techniques including chemical digestion of plant matter, solution ICPMS, X-ray diffractometry, static geochemical testing and chemical testing of wombat hair. This study will be the first to truly undertake a source-pathway-receptor investigation at a rehabilitated site in Tasmania, allowing for a holistic evaluation of the success of the groundworks. It also establishes a new collaboration across three UTAS disciplines/institutes (TIA, CODES and Biological Sciences), which if successful, can be used a template for assessing other sites in the state. The key outputs of this study will include: 1.A final report for MRT2.Recommendations of plants to grow in similarly contaminated sites3.Evaluation of risk to wombats from similar mine tailings 4.Presentation to MRT5.Presentation to TMEC 2019
Department of State Growth (Tas) ($29,713)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Penrose B; Parbhakar-Fox AK; Carver SS

Research Supervision

Beth is actively seeking PhD and Masters of Research students, and welcomes applications from potential students interested in plant nutrition, plant physiology, pasture agronomy and agricultural systems.

Below are a few potential projects. Ideas for projects or research questions that align with the above interests are also welcome. There is currently no external funding for these projects. These are subject to students receiving a scholarship from the University of Tasmania or an external source.

Development of management options for alternative dryland pasture legumes

(Co-supervised with Dr Rowan Smith, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture)

This project seeks to investigate the best practices for establishment and management of alternative perennial legumes in mixed swards in low to medium rainfall areas.

It is well known that there is an ideal grass-legume mix in pastures for optimal animal performance, with an ideal legume component composing at least 30 per cent of the total sward. However, recent surveys in Tasmania and across south eastern Australia have indicated that most pastures in these areas have a legume component of significantly less than 30 per cent. The reasons for this are multiple, and include a lack of understanding of the value of a higher legume component, but also a lack of understanding of appropriate management strategies for establishing and maintaining legumes in a mixed sward. This is true for all legume species, and is particularly true for novel alternative perennial legumes for low to medium rainfall areas.

Investigating the nutritive value of Tasmanian native and degraded pastures

(Co-supervised with Dr Rowan Smith, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture)

This project will investigate the seasonal nutritive value and productivity of native and degraded pastures in low to medium rainfall areas. It is expected that these data will then be used to inform and augment farm systems models to enable producers to get the most out of all their pastures.

Native pastures provide the backbone of the feedbase for the wool industry in Tasmania, and are important components of the feedbase for red meat production in some areas. They also contribute significantly to ecosystem services, such as carbon storage, erosion control, water relations and cultural heritage. However, little is known about their nutritive value and productivity overall, and seasonal fluctuations are poorly understood. Degraded pastures, where introduced species have failed to persist, or declined over time are also poorly understood in terms of their value and productivity. In comparison to pastures sown with introduced species, both native and degraded pastures are generally nutritionally poor and have low productivity. Further research is required to maximise the value of native pastures in farm systems, especially where irrigation and intensive grazing have been introduced.

The effect of soil nutrient status on perennial legume establishment and persistence

(Co-supervised with Dr Rowan Smith, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, Dr Chris Guppy, University of New England and Dr Richard Hayes, NSW Department of Primary Industries)

This project will investigate the role of soil nutrients in perennial legume establishment and develop nutrient management strategies for optimal legume productivity and persistence.

Perennial pasture legumes provide the nitrogen critical for animal live weight gain and profitability in mixed pasture swards. The establishment and persistence of perennial legumes is generally poor in mixed sward pastures. Generally, this has been hypothesised to be due to the competitive advantage of grasses, but how to increase the competitiveness of legume species is poorly understood. It is likely that sub-optimal nutrient levels are a factor in poor legume establishment and persistence.

If you are interested in these projects, or have ideas for additional projects please contact Beth directly by phone: +61 3 6226 5569 or email:




PhDZinc and other Micronutrient Use Efficiency in Barley for Biofortification of Grain and Vegetative Parts for Human and Animal Health2018
PhDThe Physiology of Flowering and Seed Production in Serradellas: Promising alternative pasture legumes for Southern Australia2019
PhDEstablishment of Alternative Perennial Legume Species in Mixed Swards using Alternative Sowing Techniques2021