Profitable Stonefruit Research

Senior Research Scientist

Horticulture Production Science, Agriculture Victoria Research

Tatura SmartFarm - 255 Ferguson Road, Tatura VIC 3616, Australia

Honorary Senior Fellow | Centre for Agricultural Innovation | University of Melbourne

Type of Research / Topic:

  • Precision Summerfruit Orchards (Project Leader)
  • Orchard traceability (Project Leader)
  • SmartFarms (Research Scientist)
  • Increased stone fruit profitability by consistently meeting market expectations (Project Leader)
  • Rootstock & training systems for Stonefruit (Project Leader)
  • Profitable pears economic analysis
  • Irrigation management information systems.

Relevant experience:

Dr Mark O'Connell has 34+ years’ experience in research and innovation with expertise in rainfed and irrigated farming systems, dryland salinity and soil-water-plant dynamics. Mark has collaborated with Australian research agencies (CSIRO, NSW DPI, WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Department of Regional NSW, South Australian Research and Development Institute, CRC-Irrigation Futures, Food Agility CRC, The University of Melbourne, RMIT, Monash University, Federation University, The University of Queensland), Ag Technology companies (Green Atlas, Rubens Technologies), International institutions (University of Bologna, University of Palermo) and local broadacre and horticultural grower associations (Summerfruit Australia, APAL, Fruit Growers Victoria) and networks. Mark has presented to science and industry audiences nationally and internationally. His recent research focus includes irrigation management, yield and fruit quality, plant physiology and agronomy of irrigated perennial horticultural crops.

  • Convenor, 2023, 2nd International Symposium on Precision Management of Orchards and Vineyards.
  • Editor, 2023 - 2024, Acta Horticulturae
  • Editor, 2023 - ongoing, Frontiers in Plant Science
  • Editor, 2022 - 2023, Horticulturae - Special Issue on Plant-Based, Proximal and Remote Sensing in Orchards and Vineyards — State of the Art, Challenges, Data Fusion and Integration
  • Highly Commended, 2016, Farm Services and Agriculture Research Science Award, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
  • Winner, 2010 Future Farming Systems Innovation Award, Department of Primary Industries
  • Finalist, 2010 Primary Elements Award, Department of Primary Industries
  • Finalist, 2007 Daniel McAlpine Science Award, Department of Primary Industries
  • CRC Irrigation Futures, PhD Scholarship (2007-2010)
  • Winner, 2003 Enhancing Science Networks, Scientific Exchange Program, Department of Primary Industries
  • Co-editor, 2008 Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Irrigation of Horticultural Crops. Acta Horticulturae volume 792.
  • RWS Nicholas Agricultural Science Scholarship, 1993, The University of Melbourne
  • Over 30 journal publications

Mark has a keen research interest in light regimes; phenology; irrigation science; orchard management; plant physiology; precision horticulture; fruit and orchard sensing; sustainability and traceability for site-specific management and fruit quality uniformity to meet consumer expectations.