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Full Name
Shane Simonsen
Member for
1 year 5 months
I am a retired scientist and high school teacher now living on a 40 acre ex-dairy farm in the subtropical hinterland of south east Queensland, Australia. I am conducting crop breeding projects and integrating them with low tech/low input animal systems involving geese and goats. Crops I am currently focusing on include arrowroot (hybridising the almost sterile Queensland arrowroot clone with wild species to reintroduce fertility to allow for seed grown crops), bunya nut (collecting local genetic diversity to select for precociousness and to cross with the Brazilian Araucaria angustifolia), Ipomoea (crossing edible native Australian species with the local weedy edible I. caraica to produce an edible diploid sweet potato for the subtropics) and maize (continuing to improve quality in a parrot proof white maize strain). I also grow vegetables and fruit but am most interested in staple crops. Most of the farms low hills are being planted with fodder trees, hedge rows to help manage rotational goat grazing and nut trees (macadamias and bunya).
Mailing Address

64 Queen Street
Cooran QLD 4569

Educational Background
PhD in peptide biochemistry and NMR spectroscopy.
Volunteer Background
I am a retired research scientist and high school teacher who is now farming 40 acres of subtropical ex-dairy in subtropical Australia, developing crops for low input regenerative agricultural systems.
Favorite Crops & Least Favorite Crops
My breeding work is focusing on staple crops like Achira (Canna edulis), Ipomoea (aiming to combine edible native Australian species with other edible diploid species) and Dioscorea alata. Integration of cropping with animals (geese and goats) is also of interest.
Growing Experience
Growing food
Starting seeds
Growing perennials
Hand pollination
Plant breeding
Time Commitment
Over 10 hrs
Growing Location
Space Available
Small field (10,001 sq. ft. - 1 acre)
Soil Details
Magnesium rich brownish clay with a quartz bearing subsoil. I have a couple of acres of creek flats for cropping (rest of the farm is low hills suited to silvopasture) that experience periodic short term floods for up to a day around once per year at any time of year. No irrigation on site, erratic but ample rainfall usually with a dry winter and wet summer, mostly frost free Z9a, 100 m elevation.
Soil Type
Neighbors' Crops (within 1/4 mile)
Area is mostly for grazing, no intensive crop growing in region.
Possible GMOs in the neighborhood...
Other relevant information
Free ranging geese can be fenced out of small areas. Area is currently in pasture and have no machinery so use geese to clear and enrich around 100 square meter parcels at a time.