Tag Archives: School of Agriculture

Waite campus drives Vineyard of the Future

This story was orginally posted in News from the University of Adelaide, Monday, 29 July, 2013

grapes lo res

University of Adelaide wine researchers are leading an international project to develop and test new tools and technologies to help the viticulture industry protect their vineyards from climate change.

The researchers, in a project called Vineyard of the Future, are establishing a futuristic vineyard at the University’s Waite Campus as a testing ground for new and emerging technologies that will help grapegrowers adapt to climate change and introduce efficiencies.

“The viticulture industry is vulnerable to climate change because of grapevines’ high sensitivity to temperature and rainfall,” says project leader Professor Steve Tyerman, from the University’s Waite Research Institute. “To successfully adapt, the industry needs better management systems that will allow rapid response to climatic events and other risks.”

The one hectare vineyard at Waite Campus has a system of continuous remote monitoring with a combination of sensors and image analysis enabling around-the-clock measuring of vine performance under changing conditions.

“We need a complete picture of how the vine is responding to climate variables and soil conditions at any particular time,” says Professor Tyerman.

The technology will also help the industry become more efficient.

“Grapegrowers are facing costs pressures,” he says. “We want to show how it is possible to cut costs and save on labour using modern sensors and imaging.”

The Vineyard of the Future is led by Professor Tyerman, working with Dr Roberta De Bei, postdoctoral fellow in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, and with collaborators Dr Sigfredo Fuentes, University of Melbourne, and others in Chile, Spain, France and the United States.

Some of the tested technologies and techniques will soon be available for growers to monitor their own vineyards for changes in canopy growth and form, and plant water status.

Tools include a wetting pattern analyser to help better target irrigation and fertiliser use; infrared thermography and automated analysis to assess plant water status; and canopy assessment using cover photography.

“Some of the systems we’ve developed are now being tested in commercial vineyards in Australia and Chile,” says Professor Tyerman. “When we talk of Vineyard of the Future, the future may not be far away at all.”

Getting a good look at the Waite Campus

This story was orginally posted in News from the University of Adelaide, Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Visitors to the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus will have the opportunity for a unique view of the campus as part of a Waite Information Day on Sunday 21 July.

A limited number of free helicopter rides over the campus are being offered along with information talks, tours of teaching and research facilities and hands-on activities.

The University’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine is based at the Waite Campus at Urrbrae and offers three undergraduate degrees: Agricultural Sciences, Viticulture and Oenology, and Food and Nutrition Science.

On Sunday 21 July, there will be two information sessions – at 10am and 1pm. Prospective students and their parents will have an opportunity to speak with academic staff and current students about specific areas of study, the nature of the degrees and career opportunities.

Campus tours include the Plant Accelerator, the Wine Science Laboratory and the Sensory Evaluation teaching laboratories and visitors can take part in hands-on learning experiences such as simple laboratory analyses and sensory evaluation.

Head of the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine Professor Mike Wilkinson says: There are tremendous opportunities for careers in these fields and our graduates are in great demand.

“We encourage all those interested to come and hear from academic staff about what the degrees cover and where they may lead and to see the fantastic facilities and learning environment of the Waite Campus. It will be an enjoyable day with plenty to see and do.”

All those wishing to attend need to register at https://agwine.adelaide.edu.au/news_events/infosessions/. The five minute helicopter tours will be subject to weather conditions and are only open to those who register early


I’m a Scientist. Get me out of here!

IAS Australia Logo April 2011 (FINAL)

Between the 11th and the 22nd of March, 15 scientists in 3 ‘zones’ will be battling for a $1000 prize. And they will face the toughest judges in the world: school children.

I’m a Scientist. Get me out of here! is a reality show-inspired activity that gets school children talking to scientists using blogs and moderated instant messaging chats.

The event is supported by teaching resources that develop students’ inquiry and communication skills, deepens their understanding of science and relates strongly to the ‘Science as Human Endeavour’ topic within the Australian National Science Curriculm.

Scientists who have participated in the program report that the experience develops their communication skills and re-energises them about their own research.

More than 1600 students from across Australia are taking part in this I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! Originally conceived in the UK, the program is now in it’s fourth year in Australia.


Associate Professor Brent Kaiser

For the first time, there will be an ‘Agriculture’ zone in the program. Associate Professor Brent Kaiser, (pictured right) from the University of Adelaide’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, will be going head to head with four other agricultural scientists, including Chief Scientist with ABARES, Dr Kim Ritman.

To stay in touch with the program, look for updates on the I’m a Scientist. Get me out of here! webpage or follow @IASAus on Twitter. We wish Brent all the best and may he be the last scientist standing!

Waite successes in lastest ARC Discovery Project round

The results of the lastest Australian Research Council Discovery Project round were announced yesterday by Science and Research Minister Senator Chris Evans and it was good news for Waite researchers Matt Gilliham, Vlad Jiranek, Mike Wilkinson and colleagues. The Waite Research Institute would like to congratulate all grant recipients.

Dr Matt Gilliham and his team have been awarded $420,000 over three years to study the molecular basis of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) signalling in plants. This work is significant because GABA regulates proteins that release molecules involved in root-soil interactions, growth, and fertilisation. The project’s discoveries will allow improvement of these agronomic traits that ultimately determine crop yield.


Associate Professor Vladimir Jiranek and collegues have been awarded $477,000 over three years to study known and novel signalling molecules that allow communication between yeast cells and impact on wine fermentation dynamics, specifically in a nutrient-depleted environment. The mechanisms by which these molecules exert their effect will be defined using a systems biology approach that integrates many analyses and data sets.



Head of the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, Professor Mike Wilkinson and collegues have been awarded $443,000 over three years to study wheat evolution using ancient DNA. The domestication of wild grasses by farmers was a step change in human history; it led to the emergence of modern cereals and with them, western civilisation. This project will apply modern DNA sequencing methods to 5000-year-old cereal seeds to reconstruct the history of wheat, barley and other crops, and identify lost ancient forms and diversity.