South Johnstone research facility

Site Details

Research Facility Name South Johnstone Research Facility (Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture)
Research Facility Address 24 Experimental Station Road, Boogan
Telephone 13 25 23
Coordinates/GPS at office 17o36’12” S
145o59’55” E
Climate (Temperature max & min, Annual Rainfall) Max 31.2 Min 15.2  Rainfall mean annual 3289.3mm
Topography (Brief description) 20% Flat arable land, 40% Flood prone, 40% Hilly range country

© Queensland Government

Overview of the Site

South Johnstone research facility situated in the wet tropics is a 46 ha site primarily providing trial sites and infrastructure support for banana, papaya and timber RD&E. Around 20% is arable agricultural land and the remaining land is prone to flooding (40%) and basalt hilly range country (40%). The soil type ranges from basalt base to the arable land commonly known as Tully Red loam and river bank black/red soils.

Irrigation supply is reliable, non-limiting, and reticulated throughout the site with capacity to be delivered by drip, under tree sprinklers or overhead spray line.

The Centre services the banana, papaya, exotic tropical fruits and beverage industries throughout Queensland and Northern Australia. The major focus of research is in plant protection, varietal selection and agronomy. Officers at this center cover the disciplines of nematology, plant pathology, entomology, physiology and horticulture.


General Facilities

South Johnstone Research Facility has a large administrative office complex able to accommodation up to 90 staff with conference and meeting rooms. Other infrastructure includes modern laboratories, four glasshouses and three shade houses. With current PC2 certification of glasshouse, cleanroom for DNA work in the laboratory facilities.

It has general storage and machinery sheds and a purpose built mechanical workshop and chemical store. A rainwater fed wash down facility which includes a vehicle hoist, services multiple agencies in their vehicle decontamination. The site has a wide range of plant and equipment including tractors, truck and cultivators required to support research and the growing of horticultural crops.

Specialised Infrastructure

Controlled Environments

  • Glasshouses, 4 with head houses. 1 PC2 certified for GMOs
  • Cold rooms, 2 in laboratory, 2 in post-harvest shed mainly for ripening
  • Plant Growth Rooms – heat beds, humidity chambers and bush houses

Laboratories, processing facilities and conference room

  • Laboratory complex – plant pathology, entomology, soil, food, plant, general, instrument room, clean room, chemical store, storage and amenities
  • Conference rooms 2 plus adjacent outdoor undercover area and bbq area
  • Soil pasteurization unit including mixer and conveyer


  • Pumping and irrigation from bore
  • Rain water storage for wash-down


  • Tip truck and personnel carriers

Pest and Pathogen Control

  • Boom Sprayer 6meter and  Croplands 500L air blast mister
  • 4WD Hydraulic Drive Banana Bagging machine

Sample Processing

  • Dryers and mill

Research Focus

  • Plant Protection, Banana, Papaya pest and disease control
  • Variety and clonal selection Banana, Papaya and Cocoa
  • Agronomy – Soil Health focus
  • Timber durability

© Queensland Government