Brian Pastures research facility

Site Details

Research Facility NameBrian Pastures Research Facility
Research Facility Address819 Brian Pastures Road, via Gayndah Qld
Telephone07 4161 4005
Coordinates/GPS at office25o39’13.60” S
151o44’0.92” E
Climate (Temperature max & min, Annual Rainfall)Long Term Average Rainfall of 730 mm, Long Term Mean Temperature 13.6oC to 28.2oC,
Topography (Brief description)Creek flats to undulating hills to mountainous rough hills

Overview of the Site

Brian Pastures Research Facility is situated 18km East South East of Gayndah in the Sub Coastal Speargrass Region of South East Queensland and has a safe long term carrying capacity of 500 adult equivalents. The majority of Brian Pastures Research Facility is undulating levitating to hills with sound areas of black soil flats and alluvial soils in areas that front Barambah Creek. The main native grass is Black Spear grass and Forest Blue grass, improved pasture grasses and legumes have been planted over a large proportion of the Facility, consisting of Creeping Blue, Gayndah Buffel, Purple Pigeon, Desmanthus, Green Panic and a selection of Rhodes grasses; Legumes Seca Stylo, Fine Stemmed Stylo, Siratro, Vetch, Wynn Cassia and Burgundy Bean.

Several of the improved pasture paddocks are contoured and 40 ha can be irrigated through the present irrigation licence from the Barambah Creek. The facility also has 100 ha of Leucaena legume paddocks dispersed over the property in strategic locations.

Brian Pastures Research Facility provides an atmosphere suitable to the diverse requirements of intensive and semi-intensive environments of beef cattle research and development with some cropping and horticulture capacity.


General Facilities

Office and Visitor Accommodation

The main administration and office complex comprises office accommodation suitable for ten staff, fully self-contained and serviced quarters comfortably accommodate up to six “short stay” guests and five on site residences.


Purpose built mechanical work shop, extensive machinery and plant inventory, equipment storage and chemical storage shed.

Specialised Infrastructure

Individual Animal Pens

The undercover intensive animal pens adjacent to yards have 44 individual pens, manual drafting systems, integrates a feed preparation, sample processing areas, storage shed, hay sheds, 50 tonne molasses storage tanks and grain silos, an air-conditioned laboratory and staff amenities.  The pens facilities provide for Research Development and Extension activities in nutrition, animal behaviour and further trial activities needing separation of animals.

Laboratories, processing facilities


  • The facility has two dry laboratories, suited to processing samples for Entomology, Pathology and Agronomy.
  • Drying ovens – Two laboratory drying ovens.
  • Cold room -  one cold room

Livestock Handling Facilities

The main yard has a 500 AE capacity, manual drafting systems and livestock exclusion zones, covered work areas, veterinary crush, weighing facility and NLIS race side reader, veterinary chemical storage shed and staff amenities.

Conference Room

The Brian Pastures Research Facility conference room has the capacity to seat fifty people, kitchen facilities, outdoor dining area and amenities.


Barambah Creek, electric 60 hp pump, drives the travelling irrigator

Water Storage

Stock and general use water is drawn from Barambah Creek and reticulated from a series of strategically located storage tanks which gravity feed to most outlets.  Storage capacity is around 527,000 litres.

The office precinct including residences are supplied with both rain water and creek water with rain water storage capacity around 160,000 litres.

Research Focus

Current and future research on Brian Pastures Research Facility

Genotyping and phenotyping for accelerated genetic improvement in north Australia

  • Five registered herds across the two sites Brian Pastures and Spyglass - (Braham, Droughtmaster, Santa Gertrudis)
  • Measurements on 1,500 female progeny of industry sires (2011 – 2016 drop calves)
  • These progeny represent genetics of 120 sires from 46 Seed Stock producers.
  • The utilisation of artificial breeding programs targeting high impact industry sires, no other organisation has the capacity to do this.
  • The herd links to; BREEDPLAN, Next Gen Beef Breeding Strategies Project; Australian Brahman Breeders Association BIN Project, old Beef CRC, Northern BIN Stage 1 (and 2), Northern Territory Selection line and to industry herds.
  • This is the first time the DAF herd has been this closely linked to industry.
  • Unanimous support for DAF, UNE and MLA and the project, continuance of utilising the steer progeny in the meat quality and performance project.
  • The Brian Pastures Research Facility #15 steers were purchased by industry in addition to Spyglass Beef Research Facilities #13, #14 & #15 steers purchased by industry with the first slaughter data being collected in mid-August 2015.
  • Discussions have recently commenced to establish this herd as one of Australia’s National Resource Herds – with the potential to seek longer term industry support.

Brian Pastures Research Facility – Feed Pens

Improved management of cattle phosphorus status.

A major MLA-supported research project “Improved management of phosphorus status through applied physiology” involved a series of large experiments which were conducted using the Brian Pasture Research Facility resources from 2012 to 2016. The project was a collaboration between QAAFI (University of Queensland), DAF (Animal Science) and other groups within UQ and depended on use of the Pens facilities and DAF staff resources at Brian Pastures for a large program of animal experimentation.

Six major experiments were conducted with cattle fed specified diets and usually in individual pens for 4-9 months in each experiment to measure aspects of phosphorus nutrition and phosphorus status in heifers or cows (with calves) through pregnancy and early lactation. Aspects examined included: (i) the capacity of mature cows or heifers calving in low or high phosphorus status to maintain milk production and calf growth during early lactation, (ii) the effects of low or high P diet intakes through late pregnancy of animal performance and carry-over effects into lactation, (iii) the effects of diet P to replenish cow body reserves of phosphorus post-weaning, (iv) comparison of sentinel (weaner) animals and breeders to respond to low or high diet phosphorus intakes, (vi) endocrinology and bone metabolism in the various classes of animals for understanding of the physiological mechanisms and for improved field diagnostics of phosphorus status of grazing cattle, and (vii) the reasons for the behaviour of phosphorus-deficient cattle to seek and chew old bones and how this mechanism might be use for management.

The experiments from this project should substantially change and improve management recommendations for phosphorus nutrition in the grazing breeder cow in northern Australia and will also have major implications globally for management of phosphorus in beef breeder herds.

The Brian Pastures pen facilities and associated infrastructure to hold and care for cattle, the skilled and experienced DAF staff at Brian Pastures, and the feed preparation facilities, made essential and major contributions to the project. Brian Pastures is one of the few facilities in northern Australia where the experimental work could have been conducted. It is an example of utilizing the strengths and the ‘best’ aspects of a DAF research facilities with the strengths of QAAFI, SVS and SBMS researcher scientists of the University of Queensland to provide new and important information for an important aspect of grazing cattle production in Queensland and northern Australia in general.

Grazing BMP

The Grazing Best Management Practice program has been introduced into the catchment areas adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef covering the Burdekin, Fitzroy and Burnett-Mary catchments, and has recently expanded into non-reef districts, Southeast Queensland and Northern New South Wales catchments. Grazing Best Management Practice is a voluntary, industry led program distributed in partnership with AgForce, Fitzroy Basin Association, NRMs and the Queensland Government. The framework that integrates research outcomes around whole-of-enterprise themes including soil health, animal production, animal health and welfare, people, business and grazing land management. The Brian Pastures Research Facility is Grazing Best Management Practice Accredited.

RD&E projects

GENOTYPING - PHENOTYPING: for accelerated genetic improvement in North Australia (DAF & University of New England).

SWIFTSYND: Pasture monitoring, for input into pasture modelling software (Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation).

Forestry Hardwood Cultivar Trial: Range of hardwood crosses to evaluate production of hardwood trees for timber (DAF, Horticulture & Forestry Science).

Herbicide Registration for Rogue Leucaena: Leucaena Network, DOW, Agri-Science Qld and Agforce.