Dr Belinda Hackney has over 25 years' experience in farming system research. During this time Belinda has led many national research and development projects aimed at improving the productivity and profitability of southern Australian farming systems.
Over the last 20 years, Belinda has been focused on research and adoption of legume-based pastures in mixed farming systems to increase biological nitrogen fixation and soil carbon accumulation. As part of this research, Belinda formed a strong working relationship with legume researchers in Western Australia and was able to modify summer sowing using second generation hardseeded legumes to fit eastern Australian farming systems. These legumes can operate as on-demand breaks in cropping rotations, building soil nitrogen and carbon and reducing reliance on inorganic nitrogen inputs to support crop production. Belinda has also led projects in eastern Australia to identify and release elite rhizobium strains for grain legumes that improve nitrogen and carbon accumulation in hostile soils.
Belinda is deeply committed to ensuring changes in farm management are appropriate to landscape capability and function. This has been an ongoing focus of her work since completing her PhD in variable landscape management some 15 years ago.
Belinda has always led adoption of her research findings and as such has developed very strong relationships with the agricultural sector. She finds seeing improvements in farming system production and profitability achieved in a way that enhances landscape function to be the most rewarding aspect of her work.