David Ferris
Research Scientist
David Ferris

My role in the department

David manages the Integrated Farming Systems portfolio which comprises projects that undertake applied R&D to improve crop management practices for the major grain crops grown in WA (wheat, barley, canola and pulses). R&D activities include: a focus on expanding the sowing window for canola and lupins, high value pulses, frost risk management, integtrated crop agronomy, hay agronomy, collaboration on the national phenology initiative and farming systems research to optimise high rainfall zone cropping and dryland pasture legume systems. The team is also actively building research capacity in crop protection and agronomy and climate and seasonal forecasting. Collectively the research aims are to provide growers and the grains industry with essential knowledge and decision support tools to improve the profitability of farm businesses by increasing crop production, reducing input costs and optimising the use of resources.

Contact information

+61 (0)8 9690 2117
+61 (0)457 502 132

My background

David has 28 years experience in agricultural R&D including the management of collaborative projects involving personnel from different scientific disciplines and institutions. Currently his research focus is on optimising high rainfall cropping systems and evaluating regenerative agriculture against other possible system trajectories. His research career at DPIRD and within the Future Farm Industries CRC, Weeds CRC and the WA Herbicide Resistance Initiative (PhD at UWA) has focused primarily on different aspects of Pasture Science: plant virology, pasture management, weed evolution, herbicide tolerance, weed seedbank dynamics, subtropical perennial pastures, pasture cropping and integrated crop-livestock systems. Over the past 4 years David has led the Integrated Farming Systems team.


  • Integrated Farming Systems portfolio
  • Optimising high rainfall zone cropping for profit in the Western and Southern Regions - DAW1903-008RMX
  • Future proofing Agriculture – long term farming systems evaluation (including Regenerative Agriculture)

Key Expertise

Project management and people leadership, participatory research and practice change, facilitation and communication, pasture management and weed seedbank dynamics, sub-tropical perennial grasses and pasture cropping, integrated crop-livestock systems


  • PhD - School of Plant Biology, The University of Western Australia
  • BSc in Horticulture, Murdoch University