The Australian dryland agricultural system exists in an extremely variable environment with respect to rainfall, soil fertility and markets. Australian dryland systems are largely based on mixed crop and pasture/livestock enterprises, but variations exist from entirely crop-based to entirely pasture/livestock-based. There is a heavy dependence on export markets for crop outputs. Production costs have been kept low by world standards, necessitated by low yields from large holdings that use highly mechanised methods. The methods associated with conservation agriculture have been widely adopted and there is increasing concern with maintaining and restoring the natural resource base for agriculture. Although grain yields appear to have reached a plateau since about 2000, the average water use efficiency in terms of grain produced per unit of rainfall has increased. Dryland farmers have been forced to rely increasingly on their own resources to support appropriate research given the gradual withdrawal of public funds for research.
|Title of host publication||Innovations in dryland agriculture|
|Editors||Muhammad Farooq, Kadambot H.M. Siddique|
|Place of Publication||Cham|
|Publisher||Springer International Publishing|
|Number of pages||21|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2017|