Ayr research facility
|Research Facility Name||Ayr Research Facility|
|Research Facility Address||343 Old Clare Road, Ayr QLD 4807|
|Telephone||07 4763 0700|
|Coordinates/GPS at office||19o37’01” S |
|Climate (Temperature max & min, Annual Rainfall)||The climate is a sub humid, tropical climate, with 80% of rainfall falling in the in the warmer half of the year and a high degree of rainfall variability. |
Average rainfall: 950mm
Temperature: 23-32o (January); 12-25o (June)
|Topography (Brief description)||Generally level and easy undulating alluvial forest, all cleared, with ¾ developed for agricultural research use. Intersected by watercourse. Within a developed farming (cane growing) district.|
Overview of the Site
Ayr Research Facility is located close to the township of Ayr in the heart of the rich Burdekin Delta and has a dry tropics climate. The 42.7ha of flat Burdekin Delta rich farming soils are cleared with established windbreaks and serviced with reliable, plentiful irrigation water available from three bores. The climate enables an extensive range of cropping from temperate to tropical.
Ayr Research Station was originally developed by the Commonwealth Department of Commerce and Agriculture to produce fresh vegetables for the armed services during World War II (McClurg, 1986).
In 1948 the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Stock resumed the areas to provide facilities for agricultural and pastoral studies (McClurg, 1986). During the 1950’s research into crops such as cotton, maize, sorghum, sunflower, potato, linseed, wheat, oats, jute, castor beans, peanuts, tobacco, lucerne, barley, soybean and pasture legumes for cattle fattening was carried out. Horticultural crops, which included pineapples, bananas, tomatoes, french beans and passionfruit were also grown.
The first dairy cattle were introduced to the station in 1962. An eight stall dairy was built in 1964. The last of the dairy cattle were transferred from the station in 1982 (McClurg, 1986).
The wheel then turned full circle and agricultural and horticultural research once again became the main focus. The station is presently involved in the sorghum breeding program, mungbean breeding, banana gene pool, mahogany selection and other horticultural trials as requested.
The site has built facilities including an administration office, additional accommodation for 17 staff, standalone 40-seat conference room and a small meeting room. General storage, machinery sheds, purpose built mechanical workshop, head house, shade house, glass house and chemical store.
The site has a wide range of plant and equipment including tractors, sprayers and cultivators required to support research and grow a broad range of crops.
Features presented by Ayr Research Facility offer opportunities for a range of activities unable to be replicated elsewhere. These unique features include:
- Located in the Dry Tropics Zone, which represents most of northern Australia
- Climate allows winter trials of temperate summer crops
- Located in centre of a major horticultural area
- Security of tenure for long term activities
- Ample supply of good quality water making the property drought proof
- Predictable climate enhances the reliability of field trials reaching completion
- The site allows for ‘out of season’ R&D activities during winter for both Southern Qld and Southern Australian co-workers
- Sufficient land area allows best practices of crop rotation, spelling land and conducting some commercial activities
- Close access to road, rail, air and sea transport systems
- Glasshouse: 120 m2, with temperature and humidity controls. There are various sized pots and tubs stored in the adjacent headhouse to suit trial layout and project requirements.
- Screenhouse: 160 m2 of green shadecloth. There are various sized benches, pots and tubs stored in the adjacent headhouse to suit trial layout and project requirements.
- Cold rooms: 32 m2 floorspace with shelving, temperature and humidity controls.
Laboratories, processing facilities and conference room
- Laboratories: The Facility has three laboratories, a pathology lab, agronomy lab and a dirty lab housed in the hay shed adjacent to field trial areas at the back of the station. Plant and equipment includes, autoclave, fume hood, sample grinder, single head thresher and sample drying oven.
- Seed store: temperature and humidity controlled seed store
- Conference rooms: standalone self-contained conference room able to seat 40 classroom style or 100 theatre style. A small meeting room, capable of seating 12 comfortably, is located in the administration building
- Pumping and irrigation: Ayr Research Facility is watered by 3 bores situated on an underground aquifer. Three irrigation pumps provide a range of pressure and capacity options for application of irrigation water. Water is reticulated around the station by a system of permanent irrigation mains. The station is divided into three dedicated irrigation areas which can be isolated from each other, however, all pumps can service all parts of the station if required.
Blocks can be irrigated using trickle tape or through flood irrigation in pre-constructed furrows. Water is filtered through in line filters to ensure operation without blockages.
Specialised Plant & Equipment
Precision planters & Plot harvesters
- Plot Harvester: KEW SPH-93 plot harvester on site for basic harvesting requirements.
- Planters: plot planter available to plant a wide range of crops in various plot lengths and trial designs. Air seeder available for a range of broad acre crops.
Pest and Pathogen Control
- Sprayers: machines include various row and nozzle configurations, tank sizes, air assisted booms. Dedicated sprayers for herbicide and pesticide use. Shielded sprayer for inter-row weed control.
- Wesberg sample drying oven
- Apex sample grinder
- KEW single head thresher
Experimental and contract research in field crops, tree crops and horticulture is undertaken.
The facility assists research development and extension through the delivery of integrated pest and disease management.
Specific focus includes:
- Plant protection (entomology and pathology)
- Technology delivery to the horticultural, cropping and beef industries
- Plant breeding in sorghum, maize, mungbean and soybean
- Commercial research is also undertaken on sorghum, maize and rice
- Research on pest management in fruit and vegetable production
- Risk management (biosecurity and plant pests)