Ed Barrett-Lennard
Principal Research Officer
Ed Barrett-Lennard

My role in the department

I am leader of a GRDC project 'Managing sodic and magnesic soils' and a team member in a GRDC project on subsoil constraints. Australia has the most extensive area of sodic/magnesic soils in the world. One consequence of this is that salt (from rainfall) and other osmotica (like fertilisers) can accumulate in the soil profile, creating a 'chemical soup' that decreases the osmotic potential and increases the toxicity of the soil solution. In WA, ~1.9 million hectares are affected which costs growers ~$90 million per year. The productive penalties become more important as seasonal (May-October) rainfall decreases below 200mm.

In addition, I manage a project using the New Genes for New Environments (NGNE) facilities at Merredin and Katanning. In partnership with the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics we are phenotyping transgenic wheat and barley genotypes for tolerance to soil acidity, salinity and drought, and traits associated with increased Fe in grain.

Contact information

+61 (0)8 9368 3798
+61 (0)418 133 611

My background

I have more than 30 years experience in agricultural research at DPIRD and the University of Western Australia. My work focuses on the interactions between the growth of crop and pasture plants and soil conditions, particularly under conditions of abiotic stress (for example, salinity, drought and waterlogging). I am experienced in project management. I have published more than 50 scientific papers and four books and our work has received more than 1000 research citations.


  • Managing sodic/magnesic soils. GRDC funded project
  • Subsoil constraints. GRDC funded project
  • New Genes for New Environments, collaboration with the ACPFG

Key Expertise

Project management, agricultural research and development, plant physiology, wheat, barley, saltbush, salinity, drought, waterlogging


  • PhD, University of Western Australia
  • BSc (Agric.) (Hons), University of Western Australia