Scholarship to boost Brodie’s growing research career in the pastures

27 May 2022

University of Queensland Honours student, Brodie Crouch, is one of the next crop of pasture researchers who recently received an AW Howard Memorial Trust Scholarship, which will provide him with financial support throughout his research project.

The scholarship is awarded on merit each year to Honours or Masters students for projects that facilitate pasture research.

Portrait of Brodie Crouch
AW Howard Memorial Trust Scholarship recipient, Brodie Crouch. Credit: Brodie Crouch.

Currently studying a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) majoring in Geographical Science, Brodie was thrilled to learn he had received the coveted scholarship.

“Honestly, it made me really keen to get stuck into my research,” Brodie said.

“It felt great to know that other people could see the value in my research.”

The scholarship will allow Brodie to conduct significant amounts of fieldwork in Southern Queensland, on grazing properties in the Morven and Augathella regions.

“My research investigates whether strips of brigalow vegetation retained on grazing properties is of habitat value to woodland bird communities, but also how these strips affect pasture productivity,” he explained.

“There is some evidence that retaining strips of trees in grazing pastures has beneficial effects on pasture growth, in addition to the competitive effects that we are already familiar with.

“So, there may be the potential to improve the biodiversity on grazing properties at a minimal cost to, or maybe even to the benefit of, agricultural productivity.”

The scholarship will also allow Brodie to hone his data collection and fieldwork skills by collecting primary data directly relevant to his research.

“I’m looking forward to establishing relationships with graziers in the region, by travelling out to their properties multiple times throughout the course of my project,” he said. 

“This will be critical to ensuring my research findings get out into the broader community.

“Without the scholarship, my potential to travel would be significantly reduced, which would really compromise my research project.”

Brodie Crouch in the field with a female researcher.Brodie said having this hands-on experience and ability to meet with communities is integral to being a researcher and he is grateful to for this opportunity.

“I think that it’s essential that students like me can have the chance to conduct fieldwork in their relevant study area,” he said.

“You gain a way better appreciation of the landscape you’re working in and why some things might be practical and other things not so practical.

“You also get to hear from people within those communities about the problems they might be facing, which means you can define a more targeted and relevant research question that will have a greater chance of being used in the broader community.”

Brodie is working on his project in collaboration with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.