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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 1

I Groping In A Strange Environment: 1788-1851

II Farmers Take The Initiative: 1851-1888

III Enter Education And Science: 1888-1927

IV Agricultural Science Pays Dividends: 1927-1987

V Examples Of Research And Development 1928-1988
i Land assessment
ii Improving the environment
iii Adapting to the environment
iv Improving farm management

VI International Aspects Of Agricultural Research

VII Future Prospects

VIII Acknowledgements



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Wheat production (continued)

Much research has been undertaken since the 1930s, particularly by the State Departments of Agriculture, to define the best pasture species, and the optimum practices for fertilizer application, cultivations, and weed, pest and disease control, for each combination of soil type and climate. In recent years overseas practices of direct drilling have been introduced in some areas where the practice is applicable, and the use of nitrogenous fertilizers has been adopted in localities where it can give an economic advantage. A lack of water, however, makes nitrogen applications uneconomic in most areas compared with the use of legumes to replenish soil nitrogen levels. Trace elements, too, are also applied on many soils.

This wheat-sheep system of production is a flexible system, allowing for an increase in sheep production when wheat prices are low, or for an increase in wheat production when wool or meat prices are low. Because most wheat, wool and meat has to be sold on the world market, without subsidy, such flexibility is of considerable importance.

Today wheat production in the wheat-sheep zone is highly mechanized and, although low yielding by some world standards, it is highly efficient in terms of inputs and costs of production. It is an unusual system in terms of world wheat production in that the maintenance of soil fertility depends upon the use of legumes and the application of superphosphate. It is a system that enables large quantities of Australian wheat to be sold on the world market at profit without the benefit of subsidies.[86]

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© 1988 Print Edition page 58, Online Edition 2000
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