October 3, 2022 @ 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Murdoch University
90 South St
Murdoch WA 6150

About the talk

Dr Richard Bell will present the key findings from a new book he co-edited with Teogenes Senna de Oliveira ‘Subsoil constraints for crop production‘, published by Springer Nature. The book’s sixteen chapters were written by 37 Australian and Brazilian authors. The book concludes that the existence, prevalence, and severity of subsoil constraints for crop production globally are under recognised and under reported. Subsoil constraints (acidity, alkalinity, compaction, deep sand layers, gravel layers, high density horizons, nutrient deficiencies, pans, pathogens, salinity, sodicity, waterlogged horizons) may be natural features of soil profiles or induced by land use and management practices. The subsoil in this context is considered to be the layers of the root zone below the depth of sampling for soil analysis, which typically corresponds to soil below 10-25 cm depth, depending on the soil sampling conventions of the region. Tropical regions, in particular (in Africa, Asia, Northern Australia, and Latin America), contain large areas of deeply weathered profiles that commonly have hostile subsoils that constrain root growth. The main consequence of subsoil constraints is that water and nutrient contained in subsoils are not accessed or efficiently utilized and hence crops fail to reach their yield potential. Even when best management practices are applied to the topsoil, yield of crops is depressed by subsoil constraints. Crops may acquire up to 75% of N, 85% of P and 70% of K uptake from the subsoil if root growth is not constrained. Technologies to sense, identify, map digitally and ameliorate subsoil constraints represent a promising frontier for soil management, with the potential to substantially lift crop productivity in many parts of the world.

Richard will also be joined by some of the contributing authors who will highlight their chapters in more detail.

Access the newly published book


About the speaker

Dr Richard Bell has been a professor of sustainable land management at Murdoch University since 2007. Richard is a specialist in soil fertility and land management, with lecturing experience in many countries throughout the world and in particular in Asia. Richard’s interests are broad, and stretch across plant nutrition, soil management, plant mineral disorders, nutrient cycling, rehabilitation of degraded land, conservation agriculture, dryland salinity, catchment hydrology and management, sustainable land use, and agricultural research for development. Richard has authored and edited many books and book chapters, published and reviewed hundreds of journal articles and reports, and presented his work around the world. Richard has vast experience in leading cooperative research projects in Thailand, China, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and in many Australian contexts.



3:30 – 4:15 pm: Seminar

4:15 – 4:30 pm: Q&A

4:30 – 5:30 pm: Networking drinks and nibbles hosted by SoilsWest.


How to Attend

This event will be held in person at Murdoch University, South Street Campus, in Building 460.1.031 on Level 1 of the Postgraduate Suite. You can find a map of this location here: Murdoch Map

This event is free but please RSVP here on Eventbrite.

This event is also hosted virtually on Microsoft Teams. Attendees who selected a virtual ticket will receive instructions on joining virtually in the days prior to the event.

A recording of the event will also be posted to the SoilsWest YouTube channel in the following week.