University of Southern Queensland
Agriculture is struggling to meet the demands of our current world population, this production is only possible through irrigation which consumes vast quantities of our precious water resources. Dr Gillies’ research is focussed mostly on the development of techniques to measure, and software to model, surface irrigation. SISCO, a software model developed by Malcolm, allows users to simulate irrigation with spatially varying flows, slope and soil infiltration. The most recent version of this software has been adopted across QLD, NSW and Victoria and internationally in Zambia, Swaziland, Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Use of these tools has been shown to offer a 10-20% reduction in water meaning either more food, less water used or increased environmental flows. These models for intelligent and self-adaptive irrigation systems will be most useful for our broadacre cropping industries such as cotton and sugar.
Malcolm has attended farmer workshops in QLD, NSW and Victoria, most especially for Cotton growers and Irrigation Field days. He has also had many opportunities to give interviews in mainstream media including WIN news and ABC Radio, as well as regional agricultural publications. He has also taken part in student experiences days and the Science and Engineering Challenge for high school students.