New book tackles dryland agriculture challenges globally

Agricultural scientists from The University of Western Australia have published a book on innovations in dryland agriculture that will help develop environmentally sustainable and profitable food production systems in Australia and globally.

Drylands cover more than 40% of the world’s land surface including Australia, and are home to 2.5 billion people. It is becoming an increasingly important sector in meeting global food requirements.

The book, Innovations in Dryland Agriculture published by Springer, is the first book that provides a holistic view of issues, challenges and pragmatic options to improve the productivity and sustainability of dryland agriculture.

Hackett Professor Kadambot Siddique, Director of The UWA Institute of Agriculture who co-edited the book with Associate Professor Muhammad Farooq form University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan said the challenge for agriculture to produce 70% more food and fibre by 2050 cannot be achieved without implementing more sustainable farming methods and responding to climate change/ variability in dry areas.

“Sustainability of dryland agriculture must consider crop cultivars and animal species that can withstand climate abnormalities, and also growers who can tailor crop and animal production management practices according to the local climatic conditions,” Professor Siddique said.

“Practices that maintain soil organic matter and restore soils degraded by past practices must also be considered.”

The co-editors of the book collaborated with experts from many countries including several Western Australian scientists who authored the following chapters relevant to Australian agriculture:

  • Weed management in dryland cropping systems, by M. Walsh et al.
  • Integrated and Innovative Livestock Production in Drylands, by D. Blache et al.
  • Dryland Agriculture in Australia: Experiences and Innovations by W. Anderson et al.
  • Pastures in Australia’s Dryland Agriculture Regions by A. Hamblin
  • Salinity in Dryland Agriculture Systems: Challenges and Opportunities by D. McFarlane et al.

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