Australia is the world leader in lamb-meat production, and we are among the biggest consumers. In order to support this industry, we need to secure enough feed for the sheep. Dr De Meyer’s group investigated similar climates around the world and found a plant called Lebeckia in South Africa, which is It is a deep-rooted perennial legume that, without summer rainfall, can be used to feed livestock during hot, dry summer months. This gives farmers the opportunity to provide their sheep with green feed throughout the year. Introducing Lebeckia in our agriculture will thus make use of unexploited farmland, improves sheep productivity and health, which is vital to our economy and, over time, it fertilises the soil for other crops. Dr De Meyer’s current research focuses on understanding how the symbiotic relationship develops, how Burkholderia microsymbionts fix nitrogen in the roots and how we can ensure the symbiosis is optimised for plant growth
Sofie has taken many opportunities to showcase her work to the public and more especially to farmers through farmer workshops, field days and attending festivals such as the Nannup South West Food Bowl Festival She has taken part in Fresh Science and FameLab as well as doing presentations at the Perth and Geraldton Science Festivals.