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Dr Philip Smethurst

Soil, Water and Plant Nutrition Scientist


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Dr Philip Smethurst graduated from the University of Melbourne and University of Florida with expertise in soil, hydrology, agriculture, forestry, and plant nutrition. His experimentation and modelling research spans almost four decades, and currently leads or works on projects in Brazil, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Australia. His current research links system-understanding, modelling, real-time data, plot scale food and wood production, catchment scale hydrology, and codes of practice.

Dr Smethurst first joined CSIRO in 1984 in Mount Gambier, South Australia, with the Division of Forestry. He focused on organic matter and nitrogen dynamics in pine plantations.

A major component of Dr Smethurst's research has aimed to improve the efficiency of fertiliser usage by matching nutrient supply and crop demand.

Between 1989 and 1992 he completed a Doctorate in soil and water science at the University of Florida, USA, during which his research focused on the mathematical modelling of phosphorus and potassium uptake by competing roots of grasses and pine seedlings.

In 1992 Dr Smethurst rejoined CSIRO in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, to work on soil and nutrient management of eucalypt plantations.

In 2004, while in the same position, he started working with phosphorus fertiliser management in intensive dairy systems, and water issues associated with the placement of forest plantations in mixed rural landscapes that mainly contain pastures, forest plantations, and native forests.

Since 2012, Dr Smethurst has also been leading projects on agroforestry in East Africa and the use of real-time sensor technologies for catchment water sharing for irrigation and environmental values.

Professional Areas

Academic Qualifications

  • 1992

    PhD (Soil and Water Science)
    University of Florida

  • 1984

    University of Melbourne

  • 1976

    B.Ag. Sci.
    University of Melbourne

We have publications by Dr Philip Smethurst