Dr Don Gaydon

Principal Research Scientist

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Dr Don Gaydon’s research is helping farmers increase water productivity and manage climatic risk in Australian and South Asian cropping systems.

Dr Gaydon’s research combines field experimentation, participatory engagement, and cropping systems modelling to improve management options for farmers. His leadership of significant national and international collaborative initiatives and research projects have led to substantial impacts on rural industries in Australia and smallholder farming systems in Asia, as well as significantly enhancing CSIRO & partners’ modelling capacity in Asia. He is now CSIRO’s leading rice-based cropping systems scientist.

He has a broad interest in issues relating to water and climate in both Australian and South Asian farming systems, particularly in irrigated operations facing reduced and more variable water supplies. His doctoral thesis title was Adapting to less water - on-farm management options for Riverina Irrigators, conducted through Wageningen University in The Netherlands.

Dr Gaydon currently conducts work on research projects including:
• Sustainable Resilient Farming Systems Intensification in the Eastern Gangetic Plains (SRFSI Project) - India, Bangladesh, Nepal (ACIAR)
• Sustainable cropping systems intensification through integrated soil, water and crop management in the salt affected coastal zones of Southern Bangladesh and West Bengal, India (ACIAR)
• Optimising cropping systems for Northern Australia – grain production, water productivity and climatic risk management (CSIRO)
• SAARC-Australia Project Adoption Study (ACIAR) - developing cropping systems modelling capacity for scientists in South Asian Association for Regional Development (SAARC) countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan)
• Integrated water resource management in the Indus Basin, Pakistan (DFAT - South Asia Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio)

His current development activities include:
• leading development of capacity to simulate rice-based cropping systems in APSIM (Agricultural Production Systems Simulation Model) including plant responses to salinity, CO2, extremes of temperature, and other stresses.

Dr Gaydon joined CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems in 1999 as a member of the APSIM (Agricultural Production Systems Simulation Model) software engineering group, based in Brisbane. In 2006 he moved to Canberra where he commenced research with Riverina irrigators and commenced his PhD study, including two six month residency periods in The Netherlands. He returned to Brisbane in late 2009.

He has also been a developer of key components within the APSIM farming systems model, including modules responsible for simulating rice crops, the dynamics of soil water and nitrogen, surface residues, irrigation and water resources. He also regularly conducts APSIM training workshops both within Australia and internationally.

Dr Gaydon has strong ongoing collaborative relationships with researchers both nationally and internationally, particularly via

• International Rice Research Institute (IRRI, Philippines)
• International Maize and Wheat improvement Centre (CIMMYT, Nepal)
• SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC, Bangladesh)
• Wageningen University (WUR, Netherlands).

Don is an Editorial Board Member of Agricultural Systems Journal, Field Crops Research Journal, and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Queensland, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences (SAFS).

He is also the CSIRO representative and co-chair of the Primary Industries Steering Committee (PISC) for the National “Water Use in Agriculture” RD&E Strategy, as well as the CSIRO representative on the AgMIP Rice Team - an international working group enhancing rice modelling capacity - part of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP - http://www.agmip.org/)

Other Interests

Running, cross-fit, hiking and camping, acoustic guitar

Current Roles

  • Project Leader
    Risk and resilience of crop production on the East India Plateau (Global Change Institute (UQ) funded)

  • Project Leader
    Adoption Study for SAARC-Australia Project (ACIAR)

  • Leader of Modelling Team
    Sustainable and Resilient Farming Systems Intensification in the Eastern Gangetic Plains (SRFSI) - (http://aciar.gov.au/project/cse/2011/077 )

  • Leader - Rice Team (APSIM)
    AgMIP - The Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (http://www.agmip.org/ )

  • Leader of Crop-Modelling Team
    Sustainable cropping systems intensification in Southern Bangladesh

  • Leader of Crop-Modelling Team
    SDIP Indus - Pakistan

  • Editorial Board Member
    Field Crops Research journal

  • Editorial Board Member
    Agricultural Systems Journal

  • Adjunct Associate Professor
    University of Queensland, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences

Professional Experiences

  • 1989-1991

    Agricultural Engineer - Solar Grain Drying
    Queensland Department of Primary Industries

  • 1992-1997

    Engineer - Nursery Mechanisation
    Redlands Centre for Amenity Horticulture

  • 1997-1999

    Professional Acoustic Guitarist and Singer

  • 1999-2005

    Simulation Model Development
    CSIRO Tropical Agriculture

  • 2006-2012

    Farming Systems Researcher
    CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences

  • 2012-present

    Senior Research Scientist
    CSIRO Agriculture Flagship

Achievements and Awards

  • 2014

    Impact Award
    CSIRO Agriculture Flagship

  • 2012

    Outstanding Achievement Award
    CSIRo Ecosystem Sciences

  • 2008

    Production Ecology and Resource Centre’ (PE&RC) Visiting Scientist Scholarship
    Wageningen University, The Netherlands

  • 2007

    Chief Executive's Award

  • 2007

    Non-cash Award
    CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences

  • 2006

    Teamwork Award – APSIM Software Engineering Group
    CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • 2015-present

    Member Editorial Board, Agricultural Systems Journal

  • 2017-present

    Member Editorial Board, Field Crops Research Journal


We have publications by Dr Don Gaydon