Bowen research facility

Site Details

Research facility nameBowen Research Facility
Research facility address45 Warwick Road, via Bowen QLD 4805
Telephone+61 7 4797 9700
Coordinates (GPS at office)20°00'38''S, 148°11'43''E
ClimateThe climate is humid and tropical, with rainfall concentrated in the warmer half of the year and a high degree of rainfall variability. The annual average rainfall is 990mm, with maximum temperatures of 24-32°C in January and minimum temperatures of 14-24°C in June.
TopographyIt is fairly level to gently undulating alluvial forest country with a small watercourse. All of the facility is cleared and cultivated.

Site overview

Bowen Research Facility is located in the Don River Delta in the largest small cropping area of Queensland. It is ideally suited to research, development and extension (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 facility occupies the site of the old Don Delta State School, which closed in July 1964. The Queensland Education Department relinquished the school and its grounds in 1966. This included the headmaster’s residence (since used as the Farm Supervisor’s residence) and approximately three acres of ground suitable for cropping. The school building became the offices and laboratory. The Honourable John A. Row, the 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 1960s, by the then Committee of Direction of Fruit Marketing (COD) later, Queensland Fruit and Vegetable Growers (QFVG) Board (Growcom) and various other related committees and leased to the Department at no cost. This land was purchased by the Department in 2012.

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 7 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 a modern 50 seat conference room. There is also an additional office building containing another eight offices and 50 seat conference room, two laboratories, general storage, machinery shed, mechanical workshop, head-house, two screen houses and a 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

Bowen Research Facility offers 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’ research and development activities during winter for both southern Queensland and southern Australian collaborators
  • Strong affinity with the local industry which has a sense of ownership of the research facility
  • Sufficient land area that allows 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
  • Screen houses – Two screen houses with a combined floor area of 160m2 of green shade cloth and corrugated Perspex roofing. There are various sized benches, pots and tubs stored in the adjacent head-house to suit trial layout and project requirements.

Laboratories, processing facilities and conference room

  • Laboratories – The facility has a laboratory building with two levels. The ground level is currently used as an entomology lab. The first floor is the former biotechnology laboratory and is currently available for use. Plant and equipment includes an 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 stand-alone 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 Facility is watered by three bores situated on an underground aquifer, with a nominal allocation of 31.0Ml. Three irrigation pumps provide a range of pressure and capacity options. Water is reticulated around the facility by a system of permanent irrigation mains to allow servicing of field plantings. Irrigation is entirely through drip tape. Water is filtered through inline filters to ensure operation without blockages.

Specialised plant and equipment

  • Planters – A plot planter is available to plant a wide range of crops in various plot lengths and trial designs. An air seeder is also available for a range of broadacre crops.

Pest and pathogen control

  • Sprayers – Machines include various row and nozzle configurations, tank sizes and air assisted booms. There are dedicated sprayers for herbicide and pesticide use, and a 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.

The facility assists RD&E 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 on sorghum, maize and rice
  • Research on pest management in fruit and vegetable production
  • Risk management (biosecurity and plant pests).