Agronomy and Soils

Southern Cross Plant Science new logo

The agronomy and soils group focuses on sustainable agricultural production. Most of our research involves field trial work in collaboration with key farmers or farm groups, followed by controlled environment or glasshouse studies to resolve underlying mechanisms.

Our research expertise and interests enable us to address a range of fundamental, strategic and applied aspects of crop-plant agronomy, the interaction of plants with soils, and other genotype by environment (GxE) interactions.

Current Research

Research in soils and agronomy is diverse, and includes work on nutrient use efficiency, coastal cropping systems, cover cropping and inter-cropping, greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and herbicide residue impacts on crop growth and soil biology. We also work closely with breeding teams at Southern Cross Plant Science on genotype x environment interactions, since the productivity and health of plants and their use as food crops is strongly dependent upon the adaptation and matching of the sets of genes within a plant (its genotype) with environmental factors, including soil, climate and stresses from pests and diseases.

 

Genotype x Environment interactions

Projects include:

  • Selection of mustard lines suited to varying latitudes and environments
  • Selection and breeding of rice lines suited to rainfed subtropics
  • Assessment of coffee lines suitable for NE NSW
  • Assessment of coffee genetics and quality in the Pacific (Fiji and Vanuatu)
  • Tea Tree genotype x environment effects on crop performance

Funding for this work:

  • $540,000. ARC Linkage Grants “Some like it hot: Does genome complexity contribute to phenotypic plasticity in mustard?” 2018-2021 (Prof. G. King, Assoc. Prof. B. Barkla, Assoc. Prof. T. Rose, Mr P. Parker)
  • $220,000. ACIAR small projects “Exploring coffee genetic resources for the Pacific Islands” 2017-2018 (Dr W. Hancock, Dr K. Glencross, Assoc. Prof. T. Rose).
  • $100,000. Innovations Connections Scheme “Trialling new rice varieties under northern NSW growing conditions” 2017-2018 (Assoc. Prof. T. Rose).
  • $100,000. Innovations Connections Scheme “Develop AMO’s capability to increase profitability and market reach of volatile oil of mustard” 2017-2018 (Prof. G. King, Assoc. Prof. T. Rose).

Recent publications:

  • Wang F, Longkumer T, Catausan S, Calumpang C, Tarun J, Jerome C, Ishizaki T, Pariasca Tanaka J, Rose T, Wissuwa M, Kretzschmar T (2018) Genome wide association and gene validation studies for early root vigor to improve direct seeding of rice. Plant Cell and Environment. DOI:10.1111/pce.13400
  • Borpatragohain, P; Rose, TJ; King, GJ (2016) Fire and brimstone: molecular interactions between sulfur and glucosinolate biosynthesis in model and crop brassicaceae. Frontiers in plant Science 21, 7: 1735.
  • Shepherd, M; Wood, R; Entwistle, P; Raymond, C; Baker, G; Rose, TJ (2015) Upland Tea Tree: an underexplored resource for the domestication of Melaleuca alternifolia. Acta Horticulturae  10.17660/ActaHortic.2015.1101.18
  • Shepherd, M; Wood, RH; Raymond, C; Abblett, G; Rose, TJ (2015) Ecotype variation in early growth, coppicing, and shoot architecture of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). Industrial Crops and Products 76: 844-856.
  • Shepherd, M; Rose, TJ; Raymond, C (2013) Rejuvenation of mature native tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia (Maiden & Betche) Cheel) for vegetative propagation. Propagation of Ornamental Plants 13: 103-111.

Phosphorus efficiency in agricultural systems

Much of our current research in plant nutrition is focused on the role of phosphate, and how this globally limited resource is cycled and mobilised within the plant and soil.

Projects include:

  • The role of redox in controlling phosphorus availability in aerobic soils
  • Bioavailability of phosphorus in biochars and ash
  • Role of crop rotations in soil phosphorus cycling
  • Low seed P impact on seed P fractions and seedling growth
  • Phosphorus acquisition in rice
  • Reducing grain phosphorus in rice using an EMS mutation approach
  • Regulation of proteiod root formation in macadamias


Funding for this work:

  • $10,000. SCU seed grants “Effect of redox state on phosphorus release from common soil minerals” 2017 (Assoc. Prof. T. Rose, Prof. A. Rose)
  • National Synchrotron Radiation Research Centre (Taiwan) and Australian Synchrotron Research Program. “X-ray absorption spectroscopy to determine phosphorus speciation and potential bioavailability in biochar made from rice straw, poultry manure and wheat straw” 2013 (Dr L. Liu, Dr T. Rose, Assoc. Prof. A. Rose)
  • National Synchrotron Radiation Research Centre (Taiwan) and Australian Synchrotron Research Program. “X-ray absorption spectroscopy to determine phosphorus speciation and potential bioavailability in rice crop residue”. 2012. (Prof. L. Sullivan, Dr T. Rose)
  • US$750, 000. Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) Round 1“Enhancing the sustainable use of phosphorus (P) in rice systems through the development of varieties with reduced grain P concentrations” 2012-2015 (Dr M. Wissuwa, Dr F. Mussgnug, Dr T. Rose, Dr S. Heuer, Dr R. Rabeson, Dr A. Rangel)


Recent publications:

  • Giri J, Bhosale R, Huang G, Pandey B, Parker H, Zappala S, Yang J, Dievert A, Bureau C, Ljung K, Proce A, Rose T, et al (2018) Rice auxin influx carrier OsAUX1 facilitates root hair elongation in response to low external phosphate. Nature Communications vol 9, Article number: 1408. DOI doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-03850-4
  • Jeong, K; Julia, CC; Waters, DLE; Pantoja, O; Wissuwa, M; Heuer, S; Liu, L; Rose, TJ (2017) Remobilisation of phosphorus fractions in rice flag leaves during grain filling: implications for photosynthesis and grain yields. PLOS One https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187521
  • Wang, F; King, DJM; Rose, TJ; Kretzschmar, T; Wissuwa, M (2017) Can natural variation in grain P concentrations be exploited in rice breeding to lower fertilizer requirements? PLOS One 12(6): e0179484.
  • Tong, C; Chen, Y; Tan, Y; Liu, L; Waters, DLE, Rose, TJ; Shu, Q; Bao, J (2017) Analysis of lysophospholipid content in low phytate rice mutants. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 65: 5435–5441.
  • Wissuwa, M; Kretzschmar, T; Rose, TJ (2016) From promise to application: root traits for enhanced nutrient capture in rice breeding. Journal of Experimental Botany 67: 3605-3615.
  • Jeong, K; Baten, A; Waters, DLE; Pantoja, O; Julia, C; Wissuwa, M; Heuer, S; Kretzschmar, T; Rose, TJ (2016) Phosphorus remobilization from rice flag leaves during grain filling: an RNA-seq study. Plant Biotechnology Journal doi: 10.1111/pbi.12586
  • Julia, CC; Wissuwa, M; Kretzschmar, T; Jeong, K; Rose, TJ (2016) Phosphorus uptake, partitioning and redistribution during grain filling in rice. Annals of Botany 118: 1151-1162.
  • Rose, TJ; Wood, RH; Gleeson, DB; Rose, MT; Van Zwieten, L (2016) Removal of phosphorus in residues of legume or cereal plants determines growth of subsequently planted wheat in a high phosphorus fixing soil. Biology and Fertility of Soils 52: 1085-1092.
  • Rose, TJ; Kretzschmar, T; Liu, L; Lancaster, G; Wissuwa, M (2016) Phosphorus deficiency alters nutrient accumulation patterns and grain nutritional quality in rice. Agronomy 6, 52: doi:10.3390/agronomy6040052
  • Vandamme, E; Wissuwa, M; Rose, TJ; Dieng, I; Drame, KN; Fofana, M; Senthilkumar, K; Venuprasad, R; Jallow, D; Segda, Z; Suriyagoda, L; Sirisena, D; Kato, Y; Saito, K (2016) Genotypic variation in grain P loading across diverse rice growing environments and implications for field P balances. Frontiers in Plant Science doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.01435
  • Vandamme, E; Wissuwa, M; Rose, TJ: Abouaton, K; Saito, K (2016) Strategic phosphorus (P) application to the nursery bed increases seedling growth and yield of transplanted rice at low P supply. Field Crops Research 186: 10-17.
  • Wang F, Rose TJ, Jeong K, Kretzschmar T, Wissuwa M (2015) The knowns and unknowns of phosphorous loading into grains, and implications for phosphorous efficiency in cropping systems. Journal of Experimental Botany doi:10.1093/jxb/erv517.
  • Vandamme, E; Rose, TJ; Saito, K; Jeong, K; Wissuwa, M (2015) Integration of P acquisition efficiency, P utilization efficiency and low grain P concentrations into P-efficient rice genotypes for specific target environments. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems DOI 10.1007/s10705-015-9716-3
  • Rose, TJ; Julia, CC; Mori, AA; Wissuwa, M (2015) Screening for internal phosphorus utilisation efficiency: comparison of genotypes at equal shoot P content is critical. Plant and Soil DOI 10.1007/s11104-015-2565
  • Pariasca-Tanaka, J; Vandamme, E; Mori, A; Segda, Z; Saito, K; Rose, TJ; Wissuwa, M (2015) Does reducing seed-P concentrations affect seedling vigor and grain yield of rice? Plant and Soil 392: 253-266.
  • Wissuwa, M; Kondo, K; Fukuda, T; Mori, A; Rose, M; Pariasca-Tanaka, J; Kretzschmar, T; Haefele, S; Rose, TJ (2015) Unmasking novel loci for internal phosphorus utilization efficiency in rice germplasm through genome-wide association analysis. PloS one 10, e0124215.  
  • Julia, CC; Waters, DLE; Wood, RH; Rose, TJ (2015) Morphological characterisation of Australian ex situ wild rice accessions and potential for identifying novel sources of tolerance to phosphorus deficiency. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution DOI 10.1007/s10722-015-0252-4
  • Tong, C; Liu, L; Waters, DLE; Rose, TJ; Bao, J; King, GJ (2014) Genotypic variation in lysophospholipids of milled rice. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 62: 9353-9361.
  • Liu, L; Tong, C; Bao, J; Waters, DLE; Rose, TJ; King, GJ (2014) Determination of starch lysophospholipids in rice using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LCMS). Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 62: 6600-6607.
  • Damon, PM; Rose, TJ; Bowden, B; Rengel, Z (2014) Crop residue contributions to phosphorus pools in agricultural soils: a review. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 74: 127-137.
  • Rose, TJ; Liu, L; Wissuwa, M (2013) Improving phosphorus efficiency in cereal crops: is breeding for reduced grain phosphorus concentration part of the solution?  Frontiers in Plant Science DOI 10.3389/fpls.2013.00444.
  • Koide, Y; Pariasca-Tanaka, J; Rose, TJ; Fukuo, A; Konisho, K; Yanagihara, S; Fukuta, Y; Wissuwa, M (2013) QTLs for phosphorus-deficiency tolerance detected in upland NERICA varieties. Plant Breeding 132: 259-265.
  • Rose, TJ; Impa, SM; Rose, MT; Pariasca-Tanaka, J; Mori, A; Heuer, S; Johnson-Beebout, SE; Wissuwa, M (2013) Enhancing phosphorus and zinc acquisition efficiency in rice: A critical review of root traits and their potential utility in rice breeding. Annals of Botany 112: 331-345.
  • Liu, B; Waters, DLE; Rose, TJ; Bao, J; King, GJ (2013) Phospholipids in rice: Significance in grain quality and health benefits: A review. Food Chemistry 139: 1133-1145.
  • Rose, TJ; Wissuwa M (2012) Rethinking internal phosphorus utilization efficiency (PUE): A new approach is needed to improve PUE in grain crops. Advances in Agronomy 116: 185-217.
  • Rose, MT; Rose, TJ; Pariasca-Tanaka, J; Yoshihashi, T; Neuweger, H; Goesmann, M; Wissuwa, M (2012) Root metabolic response of rice (Oryza sativa L.) genotypes with contrasting tolerance to zinc deficiency and bicarbonate excess. Planta 236: 959-973.
  • Rose, TJ; Pariasca-Tanaka, J; Rose, MT; Mori, A; Wissuwa, M (2012) Seeds of doubt: Re-assessing the impact of grain P concentrations on seedling vigor. Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition 175: 799-804.
  • Rose, TJ; Rose, MT; Pariasca-Tanaka, J; Heuer, S; Wissuwa, M (2011) The frustration with utilization: why have improvements in internal phosphorus utilization efficiency in crops remained so elusive? Frontiers in Plant Nutrition 2: 1-5.
  • Rose, TJ; Damon, P; Rengel, Z (2010) Phosphorus-efficient faba bean (Vicia faba L.) genotypes enhance subsequent wheat crop growth in an acid and an alkaline soil. Crop and Pasture Science 61: 1009-1016.
  • Rose, TJ; Pariasca-Tanaka, J; Rose, MT; Fukuta, Y; Wissuwa, M (2010) Genotypic variation in grain phosphorus concentration; and opportunities to improve P-use efficiency in rice.  Field Crops Research 119: 154-160.
  • Pariasca-Tanaka, J; Satoh, K; Rose, TJ; Mauleon, R; Wissuwa, M (2010) Stress response versus stress tolerance: A transcriptome analysis of two rice lines contrasting in tolerance to phosphorus deficiency. Rice 2: 167-185.
  • Rose, TJ; Hardiputra, B; Rengel, Z (2010) Wheat, canola and grain legume access to soil phosphorus fractions differs in soils with contrasting phosphorus dynamics. Plant and Soil 326: 159-170.

Nitrogen efficiency and nitrous oxide emissions in agricultural systems

Our studies on nitrogen fertiliser use efficiency and nitrous oxide emissions focus on tropical and subtropical field and horticultural crops including rice, sugarcane, coffee, tea tree and maize. Current studies are examining the prospects for using enhanced efficiency N fertilisers (those containing nitrification inhibitors, urease inhibitors or polymer coating) in subtropical crops including rice, maize and sugarcane to improve nitrogen use efficiency and reduce nitrous oxide emissions.

Projects include:

  • Recovery of fertiliser-N in flooded rice systems under varying N application strategies or water management
  • Prospects for using enhanced efficiency N fertilisers to improve nitrogen use efficiency and reduce nitrous oxide emissions
  • Optimising N fertiliser rates for aerobic subtropical rice
  • Biochar impacts on N use efficiency and N fixation

Funding for this work:

  • $306,000. Sugar Research Australia/Rural R&D for Profit “Improved nitrogen use efficiency through accounting for deep soil and mineralisable N supply, and deployment of Enhanced Efficiency Fertilisers to better match crop N demand” 2016-2019 (Dr L. Van Zwieten, Assoc. Prof. T. Rose, Mr R. Beattie).
  • $15,000. Sugar Research Australia mid-career researcher award “Assessing the real nitrogen benefits to subtropical cane from soybean break crops” 2017-2018 (Assoc. Prof. T.Rose).
  • $27,000. NSW Tech Voucher Scheme “Fertiliser management strategies to achieve optimum grain yields while reducing nitrogen losses into local waterways” 2017 (Assoc. Prof. T. Rose).
  • $26,660. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation “Fate of applied nitrogen in rice under full flood and delayed permanent water” 2014-2015 (Dr T. Rose, Dr L. van Zwieten).
  • $703,459. Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Carbon Farming Initiative Action on the Ground program Round 2 “The Fruit Salad Project: Soil amendments in fertigated melons, blueberries and banana production” 2013-2017 (Ms J. Cox, Dr L. van Zwieten, Mr S. Kimber, Dr T. Rose)
  • $476,204. Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Carbon Farming Initiative Action on the Ground program Round 2 “Reducing N2O emissions in subtropical plantation crops using inter-row legumes” 2013-2016 (Dr T. Rose, Dr L. Liu, Dr C. Raymond)
  • $90,000. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building soil carbon in the rice industry through stubble and water management” 2013-2015 (Dr T. Rose, Mr A. Bomm, Dr L. van Zwieten, Mr R. Ford)
  • $697,514. Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Carbon Farming Initiative Action on the Ground program Round 2 “Rice stubble, fertiliser and water management options to reduce N2O emissions and build soil C” 2013-2017 (Mr A. Bomm, Dr T. Rose, Dr L. van Zwieten, Mr S. Kimber, Dr D. Erler, Mr R. Ford)
  • $737,904. Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Carbon Farming Initiative Action on the Ground program Round 2 “Nitrogen management to mitigate N2O in sugarcane- a high input industry” 2013-2017 (Mr R. Quirk, Dr L. van Zwieten, Dr T. Rose, Mr S. Kimber, Mr G. Butler, Dr S. Donne)
  • $368,000. Rural Industries Development Corporation “Utilising tea tree residues and legume cover crops to develop a low-emission tea tree industry” 2012-2015 (Dr T. Rose, Dr L. Van Zwieten, Prof. L. Sullivan)

Recent publications:

  • Claassens A, Nock CJ, Rose M, Van Zwieten L, Rose T (2018) Colonisation dynamics of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and dark septate endophytes in the sugarcane crop cycle. Rhizosphere. 7, 18–26.
  • Rose M, Ng E, Weng Z, Wood RH, Rose TJ, Van Zwieten L (2018) Minor effects of herbicides on microbial activity in agricultural soils are detected by N-transformation but not enzyme activity assays. European Journal of Soil Biology 87, 72–79.
  • Rose TJ, Quin P, Morris SG, Kearney LJ, Kimber S, Rose MT, Van Zwieten L (2018) No evidence for higher agronomic N use efficiency or lower nitrous oxide emissions from enhanced efficiency fertilisers in aerobic subtropical rice. Field Crops Research. 225, 47–54
  • Rose, TJ; Rose, M; Wood, R; Van Zwieten, L (2018) A re-evaluation of the agronomic effectiveness of the nitrification inhibitors DCD and DMPP and the urease inhibitor NBPT. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 252: 69-73.
  • Rose, TJ, Kretzschmar, T; Waters, DLE; Balindong, J; Wissuwa, M (2017) Prospects for genetic improvement in internal nitrogen use efficiency in rice. Agronomy 7, 70; doi:10.3390/agronomy7040070
  • Rose, TJ; Morris, SJ; Quin, P; Kearney, LJ; Kimber, S; Van Zwieten (2017) The nitrification inhibitor DMPP applied to subtropical rice has an inconsistent effect on nitrous oxide emissions. Soil Research 55: 547-552.
  • Rose, TJ; Keen, B; Morris, SG; Quin, P; Rust, J; Kearney, L; Kimber, S; Van Zwieten, L (2016) Application of woody biochar and woody mulch to mitigate nitrous oxide emissions from a poultry litter-amended soil in the subtropics. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 228: 1–8.
  • Rose, TJ (2016) Polymer-coated urea delays growth and accumulation of key nutrients in aerobic rice but does not affect grain mineral concentrations. Agronomy 6, 9: doi:10.3390/agronomy6010009
  • Rose, TJ; Erler, DV; Farzana, T; Van Zwieten, L (2016) Delayed permanent water rice production systems do not improve the recovery of 15N-urea compared to continuously flooded systems. European Journal of Agronomy 81: 46-51.
  • Anstoetz, M, Rose, TJ; Clark, MW; Yee, LH; Raymond, CA, Vancov T (2015) Novel applications for oxalate-phosphate-amine metal-organic-frameworks (OPAMOFs): Can an iron-based OPA-MOF be used as slow-release fertilizer? PloS one DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0144169
  • Van Zwieten, L; Rose, TJ; Herridge, D; Kimber, S; Rust, J; Cowie, A; Morris, S (2015) Enhanced biological N2 fixation and yield of faba bean (Vicia faba L.) in an acid soil following biochar addition: dissection of causal mechanisms. Plant and Soil DOI 10.1007/s11104-015-2427-3.

Rotation crops, cover crops and inter-crops

Projects include:

  • Groundcover legumes for subtropical plantation crops
  • Intercropping annual species in coppiced tea tree or ratooned sugarcane

Funding for this work:

  • $120,000. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research “Assessment of the potential of a coffee based production system incorporating marketable and sustainable food crops, to enhance the livelihoods of rural small holder farmers in Papua New Guinea (PNG)” 2015 (Dr B. Holzapfel, Dr I. Yunusa, Dr T. Rose, Dr S. Sar, Dr B. Taylor).
  • $476,204. Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries Carbon Farming Initiative Action on the Ground program Round 2 “Reducing N2O emissions in subtropical plantation crops using inter-row legumes” 2013-2016 (Dr T. Rose, Dr L. Liu, Dr C. Raymond)

Recent publications:

  • Rose, TJ; Julia, CC; Shepherd, M; Rose, MT; Van Zwieten, L (2015) Faba bean is less susceptible to fertiliser N impacts on biological N2 fixation than chickpea in monoculture and intercropping systems. Biology and Fertility of Soils DOI 10.1007/s00374-015-1062-8

New rotation crops for coastal cropping systems in the northern rivers

Projects include:

  • Winter cover crops (green manure or cash crops) to replace traditional winter fallows in subtropical cane systems
  • Intercropping options for coppiced or ratoon crops including tea tree and sugarcane

Recent publications:

  • Claassens, A; Nock, CJ; Van Zwieten, L; Rose, TJ (2017) Mycorrhizal fungi interactions with nutrients, pests and pathogens in sugarcane: A review. Proceedings of the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists 39: 326–332.

Herbicide interactions with soil microbes and plant growth

This work is undertaken in collaboration with Dr Mick Rose and Dr Lukas van Zwieten from NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Projects include:

  • Impacts of soil glyphosate and AMPA residues on crop growth and plant-fungal interactions
  • Impacts of herbicides on soil microbes

Funding for this work:

  • $1,250,000. Grains Research and Development Corporation “A consortium approach to assessing risk and biological impacts of herbicides in the grains industry” 2013-2017 (Dr L. van Zwieten, Dr M. Rose, Dr N. Seymour, Dr G. McGrath, Dr T. Vancov, Dr T. Rose, Dr A. Baten, Mr S. Kimber, Prof. I. Kennedy, Dr A. Crossan, Dr T. Cavagnaro, Ms A. Jenkins)

Recent publications:

  • Nguyen, BN; Rose, MT; Rose, TJ; van Zwieten, L (2018) Effect of glyphosate and a commercial formulation on soil functionality assessed by substrate induced respiration and enzyme activity. European Journal of Soil Biology 85: 64-72.
  • Rose, TJ; Van Zwieten, L; Claassens, A; Scanlan, C; Rose MT (2018) Phytotoxicity of soilborne glyphosate residues is influenced by the method of phosphorus fertiliser application. Plant and Soil 422: 455–465.
  • Nguyen, BD; Rose, MT; Rose, TJ; Morris, S; Van Zwieten, L (2016) Impact of glyphosate on soil microbial biomass and respiration: A meta-analysis. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 92: 50-57.
  • Rose, MT; Cavagnaro, TR; Scanlan, CA; Rose, TJ; Vancov, T; Kimber, S; Kennedy, IR; Kookana, RS; Van Zwieten, L (2016) The impacts of herbicides on soil biology and soil function. Advances in Agronomy 136: 133-220.

Reuse of organic waste for energy and fertiliser in agriculture

Projects include:

  • Optimising technologies to use wastewater to produce energy and/or soil amendments
  • Impact of soil amendments derived from waste products on soil nutrient cycling and microbial dynamics

Funding for this work:

  • $30,000. Australian Meat Processor Corporation PIP “Identification of suitable crops for sustainable bio-remediation of wastewater from a bovine service abattoir” 2016-2017 (Assoc. Prof. B. Barkla, Assoc. Prof. T. Rose).
  • $680,000. CRC-CARE “Nutrient recapture from meat and milk processing waste products” 2018-2020 (Dr D. Erler, Assoc. Prof. T. Rose, Prof. A. Rose).