Bowen research facility

Site Details

Research Facility NameBowen Research facility
Research Facility Address45 Warwick Road, via Bowen QLD 4805
Telephone07 4797 9700
Coordinates/GPS at office20o00’38” S
148o11’43” E
Climate (Temperature max & min, Annual Rainfall)The climate is a humid, tropical climate, with rainfall concentrated in the warmer half of the year and a high degree of rainfall variability.
Average rainfall: 990mm
Temperature: 24-32o (January); 14-24o (June)
Topography (Brief description)Fairly level to gently undulating alluvial forest country with small watercourse.  All cleared and cultivated.

Overview of the Site

Bowen Research Facility is located in the Don River Delta in the largest small cropping area of Queensland. It is ideally suited to RD&E in horticultural vegetable cropping including sweet corn, tomato, capsicum and melons. Reliable underground irrigation water is reticulated to all parts of the site. Delivery is through drip systems and tailored to meet individual project requirements. The facility provides opportunity for RD&E in many aspects of horticultural and field vegetable crops across a broad range of species and commodities.

The research station occupies the site of the old Don Delta State School, which closed its doors in July 1964. The Education Department relinquished the school and its grounds in 1966. This included the headmasters residence (since used as the Farm Supervisors residence) and about 3 acres of ground suitable for cropping. The school building became the offices and laboratory. The Honourable John A. Row, then Minister of Primary Industries, officially opened the Bowen Horticultural Research Station on 18 July 1968.

Additional land comprising 9.03ha was brought from a neighbouring farmer, in the late 1960’s, by the then C.O.D and leased to the Department at no cost. This land has since been purchased by the Department.

In 1999, an additional 5.5ha of land was purchased to cater for the expanded responsibilities of the centre. The new Office complex was officially opened on 7th November 2000.

The mango variety R2E2 was bred and released from this site, it still houses the original parent tree.


General Facilities

The site has built facilities including an administration office with accommodation for 25 staff and modern 50 seat conference room. There is also an additional office building containing another 8 offices and 50 seat conference room, two laboratories, general storage, machinery shed, mechanical workshop, headhouse, two screenhouses and chemical store.

The site has a wide range of plant and equipment including tractors, sprayers and cultivators required to support many horticultural and field vegetable crops across a broad range of species and commodities.

Unique Features

Features presented by Bowen Research Station offer opportunities for a range of activities unable to be replicated elsewhere. These unique features include:

  • Located in the heart of the largest small cropping area of Queensland.
  • Security of tenure for long term activities.
  • Soils and land types representative of the majority of the land farmed in the dry tropics area.
  • Ample supply of good quality water.
  • 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.
  • Strong affinity with the local industry which has a history of a sense of ownership of the research station.
  • Sufficient land area to allow for best practices of crop rotation, spelling land and conducting commercial activities.
  • Close access to road, rail, air and sea transport systems.

Specialised Infrastructure

Controlled Environments

  • Cold room / Seed Store: temperature and humidity controlled seed store
  • Screenhouses: Two screenhouses with a combined floor area of 160 m2 of green shadecloth and corrugated Perspex roofing. There are various sized benches, pots and tubs stored in the adjacent headhouse to suit trial layout and project requirements.

Laboratories, processing facilities and conference room

  • Laboratories: The Facility has a Laboratory building comprising two levels. The ground level is currently utilized as an entomology lab. The first floor is the former Biotechnology Laboratory and is currently unused. Plant and equipment includes, autoclave, centrifuge and fume hood.
  • Conference Rooms: There are two conference rooms on site, a modern 50 seat conference facility which can be sub-divided into two meeting rooms and a second standalone conference facility. Both facilities have their own kitchen facilities, data projector and white boards. Both facilities can seat 120 theatre style.


  • Pumping and irrigation: Bowen Research Station is watered by 3 bores situated on an underground aquifer, with a nominal allocation of 31.0Ml in conjunction. 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 to allow servicing of field plantings. Irrigation is carried out solely through drip tape. Water is filtered through in line filters to ensure operation without blockages.

Specialised Plant & Equipment

  • 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.

Sample Processing

  • Dryer: 140 l SEM benchtop drying oven
  • Bean Thresher

Research Focus

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)