Applethorpe research facility

Site Details

Research facility nameApplethorpe Research Facility (Granite Belt)
Research facility addressNew England Highway, Applethorpe QLD 4378
Telephone+61 7 4542 6700
Coordinates (GPS at office)28°37'20''S, 151°57'00''E
ClimateAnnual average rainfall 761mm
Maximum temperature 20.8°C
Minimum temperature 9.0°C
TopographyUndulating to rolling granite hills and ridges, average slope 2-5%, and rocky outcrops common.

Site overview

The Applethorpe Research Facility is the only temperate fruit and vegetable research facility in Queensland. It supports horticulture production with a value exceeding $180 million in areas from Stanthorpe to Charters Towers. It holds and maintains the genetic material for wine and table grapes and the national breeding program for the apple industry, which are at the stage of commercial variety release. The facility also has a sustainable irrigation water supply, as well as 6 hectares (ha) of hail and insect pest exclusion netting.

The 32ha facility located near the township of Applethorpe on the granite belt provides opportunity for research, development and extension (RD&E) to be undertaken in many aspects of temperate horticultural and field crops across a broad range of species and commodities.


General facilities

The site has built facilities including an administration office with accommodation for 33 staff, conference and meeting rooms. 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, trucks, sprayers and cultivators required to support research and grow a range of horticultural crops.

Specialised infrastructure

Controlled environments

  • 3 glasshouses with solar, in-floor heating, and split system air conditioning
  • 6 cold rooms suitable for fruit storage

Laboratories, processing facilities and conference room

  • Specialised laboratories set up for plant pathology and fruit research
  • Conference room that seats 35


  • Pumping and irrigation: The site has three dams and an irrigation pipe network to most areas of the farm
  • Water storage: three dams

Specialised plant and equipment

Precision planters and plot harvesters

  • Fertiliser applicators
  • Specialised narrow orchard tractors

Pest and pathogen control

  • Specialised orchard sprayers and herbicide sprayers


  • 1 x 2 tonne tip truck

Research focus

  • Apple physiology
  • Strawberry agronomy
  • Stone fruit breeding
  • Table grapes