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Dr John Kirkegaard

Farming Systems Agronomist

Contact details:

GPO BOX 1700


Dr John Kirkegaard is a farming systems agronomist who applies his expertise in agricultural research to develop practical solutions to Australia’s farming challenge – to produce more crop with less inputs while protecting the environment. For example, John is currently investigating ways to improve the productivity of no-till farming systems, increase the profitability of rotation crops such as canola, develop dual-purpose crops that can be used for grazing and grain production, and improve the use of deep-stored water by crops.

John joined CSIRO as an agronomist in 1990 to improve the productivity and sustainability of dry-land mixed farming systems in southeast Australia. During his career John and his research teams have combined detailed studies of soil-plant interactions, with broader considerations at the farming system level to develop innovative new approaches to improve farm productivity.

Career highlights include; Election as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, May 2016; winning the 2014 Eureka prize for Sustainable Agriculture as part of the National Water-Use Efficiency Team, his time as a Visiting Professor at the University of Copenhagen in 2012 investigating the genetic variability of deep-rooting in wheat, and winning the grains industry “Seed of Light Award” for effective research communication to farmers.

Other Interests

Enjoying adventurous holidays with my wife and 3 daughters.
Travelling, dinner with friends, surfing, bushwalking.

Fields of Research

Current Roles

  • Chief Research Scientist
    Farming Systems Research

Academic Qualifications

  • 1983

    Bachelor Agricultural Science (Hons 1)
    University of Queensland

  • 1990

    PhD (Agriculture)
    University of Queensland

Professional Experiences

  • 2016

    Chief Research Scientist
    CSIRO Agriculture

  • 2012

    Visiting Professor
    University of Copenhagen

  • 1997

    Visiting Scientist
    John Innes Centre, UK

  • 1990

    Research Scientist
    CSIRO Plant Industry

  • 1989

    Research Officer
    University of Queensland

Achievements and Awards

  • 2016

    Elected Fellow
    Australian Academy of Science

  • 2014

    Eureka Prize for Sustainable Agriculture
    Australian Museum

  • 2013

    CSIRO Medal for Impact from Science

  • 2012

    Villum Visiting Professorship
    University of Copenhagen

  • 2009

    Seed of Light
    Grains Research and Development Corporation

  • 2008

    Newton-Turner Award