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Published: 14 Apr 2022

After many months of research, Tony Kerstan has arrived at the writing stage of his PhD. He is investigating Irrigation Effectiveness and Soil Function on four Tasmanian dairy farms: Sisters Creek, Meander, Cressy and Tunbridge.

What is your PhD project? The project is investigating the "irrigating dairy farmers conundrum".
Irrigation is used to wet the soil to grow more pasture. Cows then graze on that wet soil, with the potential for soil compaction due to hoof treading. Field work is being conducted to determine the potential impact and remediation strategies.

How would you like to see your research used? Firstly, to develop a simple, quick and efficient way of measuring compaction on irrigating dairy farms. Secondly, to develop a simple compaction cost model so that farmers can make informed decisions on management or remediation strategies. Thirdly, to investigate compaction as a potential predictor for drought resilience.

What do you enjoy about studying/researching at TIA? Meeting farmers, listening to them, and learning all the time! Also, the wonderful support from the Dairy Centre, the soils team and fellow post-grad students.

Can you share a “best moment” in your research so far? Talking to farmers and doing field work on operating dairy farms.

A word of advice or favourite quote? Murphy's Law of Mechanical Repair: after your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch and you'll need to go to the toilet.