DPI appoints soil carbon expert to climate research team
NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) has appointed a new member to its climate research team, Susan Orgill, who has started work at Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute as a soil carbon research officer.
Dr Georgina Kelly, Research Leader Climate in Primary Industries, said Ms Orgill brings a wealth of experience to the job and her expertise will be a great addition to the climate unit.
“As part of the Climate in Primary Industries Unit, Susan will join has an established team working on the role that soils can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon,” she said.
“The group also investigates reducing emissions from fertiliser use and evaluates management practices to improve soil resilience and productivity in a changing and variable climate.
“In addition the Climate in Primary Industries Unit undertakes a broader extension and education role for farmers, on climate change and climate variability.”
Dr Kelly said Ms Orgill’s research was State-wide, so it will be of benefit to producers throughout NSW.
Ms Orgill’s work will include quantifying soil carbon dynamics under different farming systems, climates and soil types across NSW; evaluating the impact of new technologies on carbon accumulation; contributing to the development of models of soil carbon dynamics and identifying opportunities for farmers in a low carbon economy such as the Carbon Farming Initiative.
Ms Orgill has worked as a Professional Officer for NSW DPI on a range of soil projects since 2005. In 2006, she won the prestigious Bureau of Rural Sciences Young Scientist Award for research into the function of soil carbon as a driver for biological processes in conventional and organic broad-acre agriculture.
Ms Orgill’s PhD research investigates the influence of soil properties on carbon sequestration; particularly under pastures, and the management options available to producers to maximise the amount of carbon in soil to depth.
She has worked with CSIRO on soil carbon fractionation and has collected an extensive soil carbon database for Southern NSW. Ms Orgill is involved in the Future Farm Industries CRC and is a Visiting Fellow at ANU.
Ms Orgill said she was looking forward to the many challenges of her work, particularly investigating the opportunities to sequester carbon in agricultural soils, identifying practices that increase the protection of organic matter in soil and quantifying the production benefits of soil organic matter.