KIMBER, Stephen

Steve Kimber

Research interests

  • Soil carbon
  • Green house gas production in soils
  • Biochar in agriculture
  • Residue chemistry
  • Bioavailability of organic contaminants


Steve Kimber is part of the Soils research team at Wollongbar. He joined NSW Agriculture* in 1997 as an Environmental Scientist (pesticides) and has undertaken research in reducing off-site movement of pesticides, enhanced pesticide degradation and contaminated site risk assessment. He has over 15 years scientific research experience in the degradation and movement of pesticides, and in analytical residue chemistry.
He is currently carrying out research on the management options to improve fertiliser use efficiency, and reduce green house gas emissions from agricultural systems, including cotton, rice, sugar cane and horticulture. Management options include nitrogen management, irrigation management, use of biochar and other organic amendments.
Steve runs a comprehensive green house gas analytical service, with clients both internal and outside the Department.


  • BScAgr (Hons), The University of Sydney, 1990.

Current projects

Department of Agriculture, Carbon Farming Futures, Action on the Ground projects;

  • Determining optimum nitrogen strategies for abatement of emissions for different irrigated cotton systems
  • Stubble, fertiliser and water management options to reduce N2O emissions and build soil C in rice
  • On-ground management in sugarcane farming systems in NSW to reduce soil GHG emissions
  • Assessing N-use efficiency and N2O emissions through precision N placement using "Aqua-Till N-Injection"
  • Reducing N2O emissions in subtropical plantation crops using inter-row legumes
  • The Fruit Salad Project: Soil amendments in fertigated melons, blueberries and banana production

Filling the Research Gaps;

*    Develop a low emission N fertiliser based on sorption of ammonium on activated charcoal


*    National DAFF Biochar II- Assessing mitigation of N2O using autochamber methods

Grains Research and Development Corporation;
*    Does increased herbicide use impact on key soil biota with reference to soil C stocks?

Recent publications

Book Chapters
Lukas Van Zwieten, Bhupinderpal-Singh, Stephen Joseph, Stephen Kimber, Annette Cowie, Yin Chan “Biochar reduces emissions of non-CO2 GHG from soil.” Chapter 13, pp 227-249 in “Biochar for Environmental Management: Science and Technology” eds Lehmann J and Joseph S. Earthscan

Journal publications
Van Zwieten, L., Singh, B.P., Kimber, S. W. L., Murphy, D.V., Macdonald, L.M., Rust, J., Morris, S.  (2014) An incubation study investigating the mechanisms that impact N2O flux from soil following biochar application. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. (2014),

Van Zwieten, L., Kimber, S. W. L., Morris, S. G., Singh, B. P., Grace, P. R., Scheer, C., Rust, J., Downie, A. E., Cowie, A. L. (2013) Pyrolysing poultry litter reduces N2O and CO2 fluxes, Science of the total environment, 465, 279-287.

Morris, S. G., Kimber, S. W. L., Grace, P. Van Zwieten, L. (2013) Improving the statistical preparation for measuring soil N2O flux by closed chamber, Science of the total environment, 465, 166-172.

Y. Lin, P. Munroe, S. Joseph, A. Ziolkowski, L. van Zwieten, S. Kimber, J. Rust (2013) Chemical and structural analysis of enhanced biochars: Thermally treated mixtures of biochar, chicken litter, clay and minerals Chemosphere, 91, 1, 35-40.

Slavich, P. G., Sinclair, K., Morris, S. G., Kimber, S. W. L., Downie, A., Van Zwieten, L. (2013) Contrasting effects of manure and green waste biochars on the properties of an acidic ferralsol and productivity of a subtropical pasture. Plant and Soil, 366, 1-2, 213-227.

Lin, Y., Munroe, P., Joseph, S., Kimber, S., Van Zwieten, L (2012) Nanoscale organo-mineral reactions of biochars in ferrosol: an investigation using microscopy, Plant and Soil, 357, 1-2, 369-380.

Quirk, R. G., Van Zwieten, L., Kimber, S., Downie, A., Morris, S., Rust, J. (2012) Utilization of Biochar in Sugarcane and Sugar-Industry Management, Sugar Tech, 14, 4, 321-326.

Scheer C, Grace P, Rowlings D, Kimber S, Van Zwieten L (2011) Effect of biochar amendment on the soil-atmosphere exchange of greenhouse gases from an intensive subtropical pasture in northern New South Wales, Australia, Australia. Plant and soil, 245, 1-2, 47-58

Joseph S. D., Camps-Arbestain M, Lin Y, Munroe P, Chia C H, Hook J, van Zwieten L, Kimber S, Cowie A, Singh B P, Lehmann J, Foidl N, Smernik R J and Amonette  J E (2010) An investigation into the reactions of biochar in soil Australian Journal of Soil Research 48, 501–515

van Zwieten L., Kimber S, Morris S, Downie A, Berger E, Rust J, and Scheer C (2010) Influence of biochars on flux of N 2 O and CO 2 from Ferrosol Australian Journal of Soil Research, 48, 555–568

van Zwieten L, Kimber S, Downie A, Morris S, Petty S, Rust J, and Chan K Y (2010) A glasshouse study on the interaction of low mineral ash biochar with nitrogen in a sandy soil Australian Journal of Soil Research 48, 569–576.

Van Zwieten L, Kimber S, Morris, S, Chan, YK, Downie, A, Rust, J, Joseph, S, and Cowie, A (2010) Effects of biochar from slow pyrolysis of papermill waste on agronomic performance and soil fertility  Plant and Soil 327, (1-2), 235-246

Professional associations and activities

Fields of Research (ANZ standard research classification)

  • 030199 Analytical Chemistry not elsewhere classified
  • 050209 Natural Resource Management
  • 050301 Carbon Sequestration Science

Keywords/phrase list of research interests

  • Soil carbon
  • Biochar
  • Green house gas
  • Py-GCMS
  • Mass spectroscopy
  • Bioavailability

Contact details

Location: Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute, Wollongar