Tracy Dawes-Gromadzki setting out markers at the Wambiana Field
Trial. Photo: CSIRO
DR Tracy Dawes-Gromadzki, an early-career researcher with CSIRO
and the Tropical Savannas CRC, has won the New Generation Research
and Innovation category of the 2007 Northern Territory Research and
Innovation Awards in Darwin. Tracy was nominated for demonstrating
that macro-invertebrates, particularly termites and earthworms,
significantly increase soil water capture by creating large pores
in the soil structure.
With huge relevance for industry, Tracy also indicated a loss of
soil health from over-grazing in connection with less
macro-invertebrate activity. Until now, the role of
macro-invertebrate activity in water infiltration in savanna
tropical soils hasn’t been properly understood. There were
some existing studies, but no previous work had been able to
demonstrate the exact mechanism.
In collaboration with colleagues from CSIRO Sustainable
Ecosystems and Queensland Department of Primary Industries and
Fisheries, Tracy conducted a field experiment at the Wambiana
cattle property near Charters Towers in Queensland, which involved
manipulating termite populations and termite food resources.
The group explored the effects of soil macro-invertebrates on
the relationship between rainfall and run-off, sediment and
nutrients, and looked at the implications for pasture production,
livestock productivity and enterprise profitability.
Tracy has also developed a protocol for using changes in soil
macro-invertebrates as early warning indicators of declining soil
health which has proved more reliable than the existing Landscape
Function Analysis (LFA) indicators based on perennial vegetation.
The findings of the work have now been incorporated into
QDPIF’s Grazing Land Management education and training
program. They have also been communicated widely to pastoral
stakeholders, the general public and scientific audiences.
Wambiana station has hosted a large-scale grazing trial for the
past 10 years, led by Dr Peter O’Reagain, of QDPIF.
Bugs key to productive, healthy pastures
Right stocking rates equal pasture health Results from the research so far are showing that conservative stocking maintains the ability of soils to capture rainfall Under conservative stocking… [read more...
Soil health in savannas
Soil health in savannas Leader: Dr Tracy Dawes-Gromadzki CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems Darwin Full title: Soil health in tropical savannas: soil biological drivers of landscape function Long-term landscape health can only be… [read more...
Wambiana hosts keen for outcomes on stocking trials
IN selecting the trial site a number of property owners on suitable land types were approached Of the properties considered Wambiana was eventually chosen as it had a guaranteed water supply and a good mix… [read more...
Wambiana: the big picture on grazing
Dr Peter O'Reagain and John Bushell from Queensland's Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (QDPI&F) have led the Wambiana grazing trial for the past eight years. The project, is co-funded by QDPI&F and Meat and Livestock Australia, but has also received support from a range of other funding bodies. The project aims to develop a set of best practices and guidelines for graziers and over the life of the project has assessed the ability of different grazing strategies to cope with rainfall variability in terms animal production, economics and resource condition. [read more...