Professor Phelps has a lifetime of professional and lived experience in agriculture and rural communities, and in addressing the impacts of drought within variable climates. He has initiated and led agricultural research, extension and adoption projects across northern Australia and has written numerous grazing management training packages.

During extended drought conditions from 2013 to the present day, David has contributed to practical measures to help increase resilience across western Queensland through voluntary community roles in the Rotary Club of Longreach and as the founding Chair of the Western Queensland Drought Appeal.

David seeks to enhance drought resilience and preparedness by linking the resources of the TNQ Drought and Innovation hub with the needs of the agricultural industries and rural communities across northern Queensland.

  • International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists
  • International Rangeland Congress
  • Australian Rangeland Society
  • Arid and semi-arid zone entomology
  • Drought resilience in agriculture
  • Climate change adaptation in agriculture
  • Agricultural extension and adoption
  • Global rangeland systems
  • Rangeland ecology and management
  • Rural socio-economic vulnerability
  • Bridging local and academic knowledge
  • Astrebla management
  • Astrebla ecology
  • Fire ecology and management
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Grazing land management
  • Australian native foods
  • Extensive livestock management
  • Agriculture technology in extensive grazing systems
  • Lake Eyre Basin ecology and management
  • Channel country ecology and management
  • Arid and semi-arid plant ecology
  • Floodplain pasture management
  • Endorheic river systems
  • Anastomosing river systems
  • Vertosol management
  • Sheep and goat production
  • Inerface between herbivory and plant ecology
  • 2022 to present - Professor, JCU (Townsville)
  • 2019 to present - Adjunct Professor, CQU (Longreach)
  • 2020 to 2022 - Manager, Regional Agribusiness Strategy, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Longreach)
  • 2019 to 2020 - Flood Recovery Coordinator, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Longreach)
  • 2010 to 2019 - Principal Scientist, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Longreach)
  • 2001 to 2010 - Senior Scientist, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Longreach)
  • 1990 to 2001 - Scientist, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Longreach)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2018 - Landcare Innovation in Agriculture Land Management Award (National)
  • 2017 - Landcare Innovation in Agriculture Land Management Award (Queensland)
  • 2003 - Churchill Fellowship
  • 1990 - Australian Rangeland Society
  • 1989 - Ag Institute Australia
  • 2020 - President, International Rangeland Committee
  • 2015 to 2021 - President, Australian Rangeland Society

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - Agricultural Innovation Hubs Program

Tropical North Queensland Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub

Indicative Funding
$2,500,000 over 2 years, in partnership with Sensand Technologies Pty Ltd ($20,000)
The TNQ Agricultural Innovation Hub is anchored as part of the established TNQ Drought Hub and will sit within the JCU ideas Lab in Cairns ? on the traditional land of the Yirrganydji people. Under the TNQ Agricultural Innovation Hub (as part of the broader TNQ Drought Hub) JCU will bring together producers, agriculture companies, supply chain businesses, innovators, start-ups, investors, and researchers to drive agricultural innovation in Northern Australia. The TNQ Agricultural Innovation Hub can also leverage the expertise of JCU?s Innovation Advisory Committee (IAC) and Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) as/when required to support new project concepts.
David Phelps, Rachel Hay, Daniel Christie, Simon Page, Emily Harrington, Brook Orr, Samantha Horseman, Nico Adams, Luke Deacon, Allan Dale, Stewart Lockie, Yvette Everingham, Jane Oorschot, Nicole Lucas, Darryl Lyons and Christine Pitt (Research Infrastructure, College of Science & Engineering, Research & Innovation Services, Cairns Institute, N Lucas Pty Ltd and Farmers 2 Founders (Australia))
Innovation; Commercialisation; Technology Adoption; Agriculture; Ag-tech; Producers

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
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  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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