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COX, Justine

Justine Cox

Research interests

  • Soil biological function
  • Compost and biochar for soil management
  • Mulch management in horticulture
  • Greenhouse gas production processes from soil
  • Soil carbon sequestration
  • Soil health indicators


Justine Cox is a soil Scientist for the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and works predominantly in the horticultural arena. Her work includes research into soil issues for the macadamia, blueberry, vegetable, melon and banana industries. Justine has worked on soil erosion for the macadamia industry, mulches for the blueberry industry, including compost and biochar and is currently evaluating compost and biochar for soil carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas reduction in the banana, melon and blueberry industries. She has been involved in evaluating biological indicators for soil health, root assessments and compost for carbon. Justine believes in looking at soil as a living system, with an ecological approach in the agricultural environment.


B.Sc. Hons (Biol) – University of Adelaide 1992

Current projects

Funding body

Brief description

Collaborative links include

Key project activities

Horticulture Australia    Ltd

Evaluating biochars,    compost in blueberry production for soil carbon

University of Queensland

Assess impact of    different biochars and a compost, plus a combination of biochar and compost    on soil properties (including soil carbon), plant growth and berry yield in    blueberry production

Dept Agriculture,  Action on the Ground (2013 – 2017)

Compost and biochar    for increasing soil carbon and reducing soil GHG emissions

Southern Cross University, DAFF Qld, ABGC, ABGA, AMA

Determine    effectiveness of biochar, compost and combination on soil carbon and nitrous    oxide emissions, in fertigated melon, banana and blueberry industries

Horticulture Australia    Ltd (2013 – 2017)

Improving soil health    in bananas for increased nematode control


Demonstration trials    to address soil constraints and improve soil health for improved plant health    and subsequently improve nematode control in bananas

Recent publications

Cox, J.A., Morris, S. and Dalby, T. 2014. Woodchip or weedmat? A comparative study on the effects of mulch on soil properties and blueberry yield. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1018:369-374

Justine Cox
, Adriana Downie, Abigail Jenkins, Mark Hickey, Rebecca Lines-Kelly,
Anthea McClintock, Janine Powell, Bhupinder Pal Singh, Lukas Van Zwieten (2012) Biochar in horticulture: Prospects for the use of biochar in Australian horticulture. NSW Trade and Investment for Horticulture Australia Ltd.

Brad Keen, Justine Cox, Stephen Morris and Tina Dalby (2010) Stemflow and soil erosion at the base of macadamia trees. International Soils Congress, Aug 1-6, Brisbane 2010

Tina Dalby, Justine Cox and Stephen Morris (2010) Harvest equipment and soil erosion in a macadamia orchard. International Soils Congress, Aug 1-6, Brisbane 2010

Cox J (2009) Comparison of plastic weedmat and woodchip mulch on low chill blueberry soil in New South Wales, Australia. Acta Hort. 810(Vol 2): 475-482.

YouTube videos

Professional associations and activities

  • Soil Science Australia
  • International Society for Horticultural Science
  • International Biochar Initiative

Fields of research

  • 040104 Climate Change Processes
  • 050301 Carbon Sequestration Science
  • 050303 Soil Biology
  • 050304 Soil Chemistry
  • 050302 Land Capability and Soil Degradation
  • 070107 Farming Systems Research

Keywords/phrase list of research interests

  • Soil biological function
  • Biochar
  • Compost
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Soil health

Contact details

Email: justine.cox@dpi.nsw.gov.au