The Committee of Management has been greatly encouraged by the response to its calls for contributions and this augurs well for the Conference. The contents of these Proceedings reflect the wide interests among members. They also indicate some significant changes since the last Conference, particularly the concerns for the environment, concerns with markets and also the interest in the current infra-structure for agricultural research.
In planning this Conference, we have modified previous formats. For the first two days, concurrent activities are being organized in three country centres. This part of the programme has been designed to seek the active participation of local farmers. These activities include farm visits and country symposia, with the principal presentations being included in the Proceedings. The themes are horticulture at Busselton, agriculture in medium/high rainfall Mediterranean areas of southern Australia at Katanning and sustainable farming systems in dryland Mediterranean environments at Merredin. The arrangements are in the hands of local committees and we are indebted to them. For the remianing three days in Perth, plenary papers will be presented in the morning and contributed poster papers in the afternoon. The themes for the plenary sessions are:
- Implications of the Greenhouse Effect on Australian agriculture.
- Looking for products, looking for markets.
- Research and extension: delivering the goods.
- Future funding for agricultural research and extension.
The Donald Oration will be given by Dr R.C. Rossiter on Wednesday afternoon. Posters for the contributed papers will be reviewed by discussion leaders in four concurrent groups on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon. While the Proceedings reflect many of the issues that are presently of concern to agronomists, they may not reflect adequately the impact that computers have had in agriculture. New products are replacing existing hardware and software at an astonishing rate and the way in which things are being done is changing dramatically. So much so, that such a topic would lend itself for review at a future conference.
We are indebted to the editorial committee for their careful planning and to the committee and the referees for their hard work in following through with that plan. The Society could not have produced these Proceedings without the considerable input from the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and the generosity of sponsors and supporting sponsors. Their contributions have helped materially and they are acknowledged in these Proceedings.
In bringing together the material for these Proceedings, we have become aware of some shortcomings in the Society's procedures. Some changes have been signalled and are to be discussed at the Annual General Meeting on Thursday afternoon. The purpose of these changes is to ensure that some part of the Proceedings meets the standards that would allow them to be cited in the literature.
Finally, the next meeting of the Society is to be held in August or September 1991, at Armidale, New South Wales under the chairmanship of the incoming President of the Society, Professor J.V. Lovett of the Department of Agronomy and Soil Science, University of New England, New South Wales 2351. You should let him know if you wish any particular topic considered in the programme for the next Conference.
On behalf of the Committee of Management
W.R. Stern President