The CSIRO is establishing a state-of-the-art agricultural research facility near Boorowa, NSW.

Boorowa Agricultural Research Station (BARS) will be a purpose-built 290 hectare facility designed to help develop Australian farms of the future by testing emerging technologies in crop science, agronomy and farming systems.

Located around 100km northwest of Canberra, BARS replaces CSIRO's Ginninderra Experimental Station, which was established just outside of Canberra in 1958 and originally had a focus on pasture and animal research but more recently on grains crops. The new facility provides a fresh opportunity to study a broad and integrated range of agricultural sciences.

Boorowa Agriculture Research Station, March 2019

Leading agricultural research

BARS will feature the latest digital agriculture technologies such as precision agriculture, and remote and non-destructive phenomic crop monitoring. It will also continue CSIRO's long history in agricultural breeding and genetics, with hundreds of small plots dedicated to the development of new varieties of wheat, canola and grain legumes, as well as pastures. Additionally, the facility will operate experiments on innovative agronomic strategies such as nutrient management, tillage and stubble management, crop and pasture sequences for mixed-enterprise systems, and sowing times.

The site makes it possible for CSIRO to conduct long-term farming systems experiments that investigate changes to the soil over time and provide a better understanding of the impact of factors such as soil organic matter and soil acidity on farm profitability.

To help design what experiments to run, where to run them, and to provide a baseline to study changes to soil fertility over the decades to come, a comprehensive proximal soil sensing survey of the entire farm is being undertaken to obtain a three-dimensional map of the soil.

BARS will assist CSIRO to deliver on its commitment to increase food production in cropping and livestock systems, improve drought tolerance and disease resistance, and improve nutritional values to meet the challenges of the future.

 [Image appears of a paddock of crop and the camera pans over the length of the paddock along the length of the furrows and towards the trees at the boundary and text appears: Boorowa Agricultural Research Station]

 

[Image changes to show the camera panning over the crop on an angle towards the corner of the paddock and text appears: Located outside the town of Boorowa, NSW]

 

[Camera continues to pan over the trees at the corner of the paddock and then the image changes to show a male working with a drilling type machine and text appears: Boorowa site soil survey 2017]

 

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[Image changes to show a view of a harvested crop in a paddock and the camera pans over the paddock]

 

[A digital type readout appears on the windscreen of a cab in the foreground and then the camera zooms out to show a Kubota tractor in the paddock moving towards the camera]

 

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[Image changes to show an aerial view looking down on a plough working a paddock and text appears: A research farm of the future]

 

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[Image changes to show a blue screen and CSIRO logo and text appears: Australia’s innovation catalyst]

 

Boorowa Agricultural Research Station 2017 site update

Latest update: March 2019

Construction and digital infrastructure

Works are nearly complete at BARS, with:

Five of the planned six buildings at BARS have now been constructed

  • five of six buildings now complete
  • rainwater tanks now full (one mega litre storage used for building and specific ag needs)
  • the main road and compound area surrounding the main buildings paved
  • grass seeding around the main building now complete
  • completion of the irrigation system, which is awaiting water
  • successful connection to AARNet
  • our LORAwan network that collects all the data for us across the site now up and running.

In the coming months, we’ll be focusing on:

  • landscaping using native species
  • connecting the power supply (due in April), with poles and wires currently being installed
  • construction of our dam, which has been reviewed and approved
  • placing digital sensors throughout the site, including 36 soil moisture probes, 6 surface and ground water piezometers and subject to approval, some river monitoring sensors
  • to be installed in the Boorowa River
  • building our BoM certified Weather Station plus another 100 temperature and humidity probes across the site

Farming

Our farming activities at BARS have slowed since the December 2018 harvest but we will soon be gearing up again for another productive season and sowing ahead.

Aerial view of the buildings at the Boorowa Agricultural Research Station

Research

The focus of our researchers and support teams over the next six months will be the transition from our Ginninderra Experimental Station (on the outskirts of Canberra) to BARS. While this is happening we will still be conducting research in the ACT and NSW with a small number of projects planned for BARS.

Site visits and new staff

As you can imagine, as we get closer to the opening and commencement of research activities at BARS we have had many visits from relevant CSIRO staff and researchers but also from peak industry bodies, the Hilltops Council and government offices and regulators.

We are also happy to welcome the new BARS manager, Stuart Brown who started in February 2019.

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