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Dr Judith Tisdall Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Animal Plant & Soil Sciences

Judith graduated with a B.Agr.Sc from the University of Melbourne, M.Agr.Sc from La Trobe University, and Ph.D. from the University of Adelaide. After working as an industrial microbiologist with Kraft Foods Ltd, she joined the Institute of Sustainable Irrigated Agriculture at Tatura in 1968 as a soil scientist. At La Trobe University, she was appointed Honorary Research Fellow in 1991, Lecturer in Viticultural Science in 1998, and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2006.
She was Distinguished Visiting Scientist at the University of Adelaide in 1993. She and her colleagues at DPI Tatura developed the new system of raised beds and controlled traffic for broadacre crops in Australia. The system improves surface drainage and avoids the waterlogging which previously had often led to complete failure of crops. Based on this system, raised beds are now widely used for broadacre crops in several states of Australia. She also led the successful ACIAR project that developed the ACM on Lombok Indonesia. With the ACM, farmers grow vegetables on raised beds on 1/3 of the farm, and rice on flat land in the rainy season. This enables the farmers to get a good price for vegetables grown out of season, so that some farmers have doubled their income. The vegetables also improve the nutrition of the farmer's family.
She and her colleagues at DPI Tatura developed a new system of soil management for fruit trees that became part of the package of the Tatura Trellis, and its later modifications. Trees on the new systems start cropping 1-2 years after planting, (3-4 years earlier than trees on the traditional system), and produce much higher yields of fruit of high quality. The Tatura Trellis is used world-wide.
Tisdall and Oades (1982 80% prepared by the first author) were the first to describe the hierarchy of aggregation in soil. This changed the thinking of many research groups around the world, including those interested in carbon sequestration in soil.
Two of her PhD students at La Trobe University were the first to show that the mechanisms of salt-exclusion and potassium-exclusion respectively in grapevine rootstocks operate in the roots.


selected publications