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.

Canola at CSIRO's Boorowa Agricultural Research Station.

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.

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]

 

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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: September 2018

Construction

The Boorowa Agriculture Research Station is taking shape with several buildings now constructed and irrigation works well underway.

Building contruction is well underway at CSIRO's Boorowa Agricultural Research Station

All the water tanks are complete and those connected to the processing facility and office building have started to collect the recent rains.

Construction has started on the storage building and workshop, and is expected to be completed by the start of October.

We hope to soon have final approvals for electrical connections to the grid and the fibre connection works should commence by the end of September.

We are finalising environmental management plans for the dam construction, which is due to commence in October.

Commissioning of the site is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

Farming

While we are developing the site, we have used rotations of wheat, canola, vetch and oats to manage weeds and build soil fertility to ready the paddocks for more intensive experiments. Yield maps together with the soil map are building a picture of soil variability to assist future management.

Research

While construction works are underway we will have some small to medium scale research activities underway.

This season at Boorowa we'll be doing experiments that assess the performance of a range of wheat breeding lines. These wheats have been bred to contain genes that show promise in improving the ability of wheat to compete with weeds. It is estimated that weeds cost the Australian grains' industry an estimated $3.6 billion each year. We are also trialling new long coleoptile wheats for deep sowing, and new awnless wheats with potential for use as hay if crops are frosted.

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