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Following the Cereal Agronomy Conference in Perth in 1977, delegates from the Department of Agronomy and Horticultural Science, University of Sydney canvassed the idea of forming a plant production oriented society in Australia analagous to the Australian Society of Animal Production. Subsequently, Mr. D.R. de Kantzow of that Department convened a meeting in Sydney on March 16, 1978 to consider the formation of an Australian Society of Agronomy.

The meeting decided that an Australian Society of Agronomy should be formed "to promote interest in the production, improvement and use of economic plants, including plants for grazing and horticultural crops."

It was further decided that a national Agronomy Conference should be held and that the formation of the Society would be formalized during that Conference. Dr. J.L. Davidson was appointed Chairman of a Committee to investigate relationships of the Society with the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and existing professional societies, and to prepare constitutional proposals for consideration at the Conference. Those proposals have been forwarded to Conference delegates with the technical Proceedings.

The Council of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science agreed to sponsor the Conference and the Queensland Branch of the Institute accepted the responsibility of convening it. In doing so, the Programme Committee has endeavoured to retain the concepts of the inaugural meeting to provide a forum for scientists, extension officers and consultants, agribusinessmen, primary producers and educators to discuss the agronomy of pastures, agricultural crops and horticultural plants.

The theme selected is the integrating role of agronomy in increasing the productivity of Australian agriculture in the 1980's.

Invited speakers and contributed papers will focus attention on:

  • prospects and significance of new areas for technological advance
  • the reconciliation of increased productivity with resource conservation; energy, nutrient and labour economies; and avoidance of chemical contaminants in food and the environment
  • problems of technology adoption in commerce and their relevance to agronomic research

This is the first occasion on which such a broadly-based Conference has been convened at a national level, and because of this there were initial uncertainties about the viability of the concept. We have ourselves been enthused by the interest and conviction of many people in the venture, by the ready response of those invited to present leading papers, by the tremendous support from contributing authors and by the generous sponsorship of private companies.

We are confident that these enthusiasms will be reflected in a Conference which will be seen in retrospect as a significant "Pathway to Productivity".

J.K. Leslie
Australian Agronomy Conference

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