New Darling Downs grains research farm opens gates to the public

Author: Toni Somes | Date: 13 Feb 2018

Grain growers from across southern Queensland and northern New South Wales are being offered an opportunity to see firsthand their levy investment at work in the grower owned “Yarramalong Research Centre”, on the Darling Downs. The Centre is set to become an epicentre for grains and cropping research in the state.

The Queensland Government and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) co-invested ($5.5M each) in an Industry Trust (Grains and Cropping Research and Development Trust), to acquire the 748 hectare property aggregation “Tosari” and “Carinya” on the Condamine River, south-west of Toowoomba last year.

Former Tosari owner Glen Elsden and QCR Ltd Trustee board member John Sheppard inspect some of the first trial sites on Queensland’s newest crop research farm on the Darling Downs.

Plans are now underway to develop the Centre into a world-class grains applied research, development, extension and training facility which will be operated by Queensland Crop Research Ltd (QCR Ltd) - as trustee of the Grains and Cropping Research and Development Trust - on behalf of Australia grain growers.

QCR Ltd is chaired by Goondiwindi grain grower Tom Woods, who extended the invitation for the grains industry to ‘come and have a look’ at the Centre as part of the inaugural field day on February 22.

“It is a research farm in its infancy, but it is going to be a significant and important resource for this region’s grain growers in terms of on-going, grass-roots driven RD&E,” Mr Woods said.

“This field day is an opportunity for growers to come and see firsthand this resource that they have a financial stake in.”

At 748 hectares the farm is one of Australia’s largest cropping research stations, offering researchers the capability and capacity to run efficient short and long-term trials. It also has significant on-farm water storage, along with bore and river irrigation options, which is expected to broaden the scope and reliability of research.

Mr Woods said a compelling factor in the purchase was the property’s location in one the nation’s most fertile agricultural regions, along with its close proximity to established scientific research institutions, like the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF) grains research centres in Toowoomba and Warwick, along with the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), University of Queensland (UQ) and CSIRO.

The Yarramalong Research Centre will be open to public and commercial organisations to undertake research and development activities and its strategic location means it will allow for both summer and winter farming systems trials that will be relevant nationally, Mr Woods said.

The inaugural field day will be held at “Tosari” (1149 Millmerran-Leyburn Road, Tummaville) on February 22 and will focus on sorghum and new technology in farm machinery. The day will include tours of sorghum NVT and sorghum pre-breeding trial sites, displays of the latest planting equipment, interfacing machinery and technology and the impact of drones to paddock applications, as well as presentations by key summer crop researchers. The day starts at 8am and finishes at midday.

QCR Ltd directors will also be on hand for the event; the current board includes Goondiwindi grain grower Tom Woods, Toowoomba-based wheat breeder John Sheppard, former GRDC Northern Regional Panel Chairman James Clark, southern New South Wales grain grower Murray Scholz and Elders Northern Zone Technical Services Manager Maree Crawford.

Contact Details

Toni Somes, Cox Inall Communications
0427 878 387
toni.somes@coxinall.com.au