Walkamin research facility

Site Details

Research Facility Name Walkamin research facilityKairi field site
Research Facility Address 6302 Kennedy Highway, Walkamin 193 State Farm Road, Kairi
Telephone 07 4091 9300  
Site locationWalkamin - 14 km north of Atherton on Kennedy Highway, 70 km west of Cairns, opposite the township of WalkaminKairi field site - Located 12 kms northeast from the Atherton on the shores of Lake Tinaroo
Coordinates/GPS at office 17o07’59” S 
145o24’59” E
17o13’15” S 
145o34’02” E - 700m altitude
Climate (Temperature max & min, Annual Rainfall) Rainfall average is 760mm (Walkamin) and 1290 mm (Kairi) with 70% falling between October and March. Sub-tropical with cool dry winters. Frost may be experienced during winter months
Topography (Brief description) Mareeba granites and Hodgkinson metamorphic and level to undulating basalt soilsHigh clay red soils (ferrosols) up to 20m deep

Overview of the Site

The Department’s Walkamin Research Facility along with its field site at Kairi is both leading and innovating in a wide range of scientific research and development. Incorporating diverse aspects of irrigated and high rainfall tropical farming systems as key drivers to improving much of the Queensland tropical horticulture and cropping environment.

Walkamin Research Station was established in late 1959, with the Queensland Water Resources Commission's help to evaluate the economic use of irrigation water from the Tinaroo Dam on the non-tobacco soils within the Mareeba-Dimbulah Irrigation Scheme. The Station is a multi-purpose site with horticultural, cropping, forestry, and pastures-related R & D and retains infrastructure for aquaculture research.

Kairi Research Facility managed from Walkamin is located on the shores of Lake Tinaroo on fertile volcanic basalt soils. The Facility is tailored for RD&E of field cropping and horticulture crops. The site is a fully irrigated, current activity includes peanut and maize research. Irrigation water supplied through lateral move and overhead systems can be modified for low pressure intensive horticulture cropping.


General Facilities

The site has built facilities that include an administration office, inclusive of conference and meeting rooms. General storage and machinery sheds and purpose built mechanical work shop and chemical store.

The site is also well serviced with a wide range of plant and equipment including tractors, trucks, planting, spraying and harvesting equipment required to support research activities and grow a broad range of crops.

Specialised Infrastructure

Controlled Environments

  • Shadehouse – Walkamin has one Shadehouse with a floor space of 220m2 to provide controlled watering regimes and minimizing direct sunlight and temperature.
  • Cold rooms - Temperature and humidity controlled with 60m2 of floor space. Freezer room of 20 m2 with the ability to maintain at -18 degrees.

Laboratories, processing facilities and conference room

  • Processing facility – This facility supports the peanut and tropical maize variety and agronomy trial work conducted in North Queensland. The plant includes; large and small driers, pre-cleaners and seed prep areas and storage.
  • Seed stores – Various locations on the site designed to store seed and plant samples until processing is undertaken.
  • Conference rooms – The Research Facility has a standalone self-contained conference center that seats up to 50 people in a table format and 120 with chairs only. The center has built in amenities, kitchen and outdoor entertaining area. Two other conference rooms are located in the administration building.


  • Irrigation is available at Walkamin and Kairi field site, it is supplied from SunWater’ s p;Tinaroo Dam and the facility has a combined total of 497 ML. Irrigation water is delivered through a network of underground mains and applied through overhead sprinkler, trickle tape or a lateral boom irrigator.

Ponds and Tanks

  • Replicated, fully bird-netted ponds
  • Large number and variety of tanks for holding and carrying out replicated experiments on live marine organisms

Specialised Plant & Equipment

Precision planters & Plot harvesters

  • GPS guidance – Trimble Auto steer systems fitted to one of the tractors located on site.
  • Plot harvesters –KEW and Massey plot headers fitted with a carousel sample system (1 operator), manual bag out and bulk bin, ideal for a wide range of summer and winter grains and legumes. Self-propelled and stationary threshers also used for peanut variety and agronomy trials and seed increase applications.
  • Bulk Harvesters – The harvester is equipped with auto weigh cells and sub sampler suitable for large trial areas of maize.
  • Plot planters –Ability to plant variety trials in wide range of broad acre crops to suit various plot length and lay out designs.
  • Bulk planters – Various other planters are located on site with ability to plant small and large areas of a wide range of broad acre crops.


  • Tilt tray trucks – Ability to transport a wide range of plant and equipment to service project trial sites throughout Northern Queensland.

Sample Processing

  • Seed and plant dryers – drying equipment located on site with the ability to service small bagged samples and larger bulk material on pellets if needed.
  • Plant and seed processing equipment – Various seed cleaners and harvesters suitable for a range of crop types – maize, peanuts and grasses/legumes.

Research focus

Activities at Walkamin Research Facility currently include:

  • Mango Breeding
  • Small Tree High Productivity Initiative - Mango
  • Australian peanut genetic improvement program.
  • Tropical Entomology Research
  • Coffee Germplasm Research
  • Smart Forests
  • Plantation Hardwood Research Fund
  • Pasture and Legume Research and Storage
  • Fruit Fly Development Program
  • Maize and Sweetcorn Germplasm Research and Storage
  • The Freshwater Fisheries Aquaculture Centre (FFAC) although not fully functioning has traditionally conducted research directed towards the sustainable development of Queensland’s aquaculture and fisheries sectors. Freshwater fisheries research is aimed at sustainably improving the performance and value of Queensland’s freshwater fisheries.
  • Leucaena PDS and assessment of psyllid tolerant hybrids
  • Tropical lucerne variety assessment
  • Intensive seed production of broadly-adapted native grasses (RIRDC)

Pigeon pea development

  • Project aimed at developing varietal and agronomics for establishing a sustainable pigeon pea industry throughout Queensland and other cotton growing areas.
  • Agronomic and pest management focus with field and glasshouse experiments

Torres Strait Exotic Fruit Fly Response Strategy (Biosecurity)

Chemical treatment of ME blocks is carried out at DAF Walkamin Research Station in the block manufacturing Shed. Blocks are packaged and sent to the Torres Strait prior to each round of blocking, or as required.

Maize Germplasm Enhancement and Productivity Improvement for Tropical Australia

  • Maize yield assessment.
  • Germplasm Storage