Hermitage research facility

Site Details

Research facility nameHermitage Research Facility
Research facility address604 Yangan Road, Warwick QLD 4370
Telephone+61 7 4542 6725
Coordinates (GPS at office)28°12'40''S, 152°06'06''E
ClimateAverage annual rainfall 720mm
Average maximum temperature 25.5°C
Average minimum temperature 10.4°C
TopographyBlack soil flats rising to moderately sloped cultivation, this rises further to steeper cultivation and grass country extending up to a high plateau.

Site overview

Hermitage Research Facility is located on the northern bank of Swan Creek, a tributary of the Condamine River, just west of the Great Dividing Range and on the eastern edge of the Darling Downs.

Hermitage Research Facility is a major centre for plant breeding and agronomic studies on agricultural crops grown in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

The total area of 228 hectares (ha) is comprised of 80ha of rich black alluvial clay, 90ha of sloping arable soils derived from Walloon coal measures, and 60ha of non-arable timbered slopes of basalt derivation.

Water supply is provided by three bores, a 22Ml catchment dam, and a 20Ml weir on Swan Creek with a reticulation system to deliver irrigation water from the dam or weir to the experimental areas.

Research activity includes barley breeding; pathology and biotechnology; sorghum breeding, physiology and biotechnology; pulse breeding and agronomy (chickpeas and mungbeans).

Hermitage Research Facility is also the home of the annual Hermitage Research Facility Schools Plant Science Competition.

Facilities

General facilities

The site has built facilities including an administration office with accommodation for 55 staff, conference and meeting rooms, biotechnology laboratory, controlled environment plant growth rooms, glasshouses, cold storage rooms, insulated cool seed stores, automatic rainout shelters, drying ovens, gas fired drying barn, and seed store with range of threshing, grading, and grinding equipment. General storage and machinery sheds and purpose built mechanical workshop and chemical store.

The site has a wide range of plant and equipment including tractors, tilt tray trucks, small plot harvesters, sprayers and cultivators required to support research and grow a broad range of agricultural crops.

Specialised infrastructure

Controlled environments

  • 5 glasshouses – computer controlled temperature and humidity, with individual coverage of 135m2, 104m2, 135m2, 102m2 and 70m2
  • 4 cold rooms – refrigerated and de-humidified for seed storage (7m2 x 5m2)
  • 2 plant growth rooms – computer controlled environment (3m x 3m x 3m)

Laboratories, processing facilities and conference room

  • Laboratories, specific to plant breeding, molecular breeding and plant pathology
  • Cattle yards, with loading ramp, small holding yards and crush
  • 6 refrigerated cold rooms specific to seed storage with forklift access (10m2 x 5m2)
  • Conference room that seats 50 people and a meeting room that seats 10 people

Irrigation

  • Pumping and irrigation – A network of 100mm underground pipelines and hydrants
  • Water storage – A 25Ml dam and 20Ml weir (40Ml license) and an irrigation bore (56Ml license)

Specialised plant and equipment

Precision planters and plot harvesters

  • 6 plot harvesters to harvest a range of field crops – one has computer data capture
  • Various planters to cover a wide range of field crops with adjustable plot lengths and row widths - one has GPS tripping
  • 3 tractors with GPS guidance
  • Fertiliser applicators to suit a variety of applications

Pest and pathogen control

  • Crop sprayers with GPS guidance

Transportation

  • 5 trucks – 3 tilt trays and 2 grain tippers

Sample processing

  • Plant dryers (gas and electric)
  • Soil dryers (electric)
  • Plant and soil grinders (electric)

Research focus

The research focus at Hermitage Research Facility is predominantly plant breeding and crop research. A range of internal and external clients conduct specialist plant breeding work testing plant germplasm. Other research includes crop drought tolerance and disease/pathogen screening.