Spyglass Beef Research Facility

Site details

Research facility name Spyglass Beef Research Facility
Research facility address Lynd Highway via Charters Towers 4820
Telephone (07) 4091 8180
Direction to site from nearest major town110km north of Charters Towers and 130km west of Townsville on the Hervey Range Road.
Coordinates/GPS at office 19o23’57” S
145o44’53” E
Climate (temperature max & min, annual rainfall) Tropical semi-arid with summer-dominant rainfall and winter drought. Average annual rainfall is approx. 610mm with over 80% falling between October and March.
Topography (brief description) Undulating to hilly with smaller areas of level to gently undulating plains and alluvial flats. The elevation ranges from approximately 300m to over 510m.
Road and accessGregory Development Rd – good access via gravel road

© Queensland Government

Overview of the site

Spyglass Beef Research Facility covers 38,300 hectares. It is approximately 110km north of Charters Towers on the Gregory Development Road and 130km west of Townsville via the Hervey Range Road.

It has an estimated carrying capacity of up to 3,500 adult equivalent cattle and has 13km of Burdekin River frontage.

This facility plays a leading role into research to advance tropical and subtropical beef production and ecosystem management, as well as hosting development, extension, education and training programs. These are vital for the future profitability and sustainability of Queensland’s beef industry.

Its location in the Charters Towers district is typical of the extensive breeding systems in North Queensland. This recognises the breeding end of the supply chain as being critical to the overall productivity and profitability of individual beef businesses and the industry overall. The location is also typical of extensive grazing lands in a key reef catchment.


General facilities

The site has purpose built-facilities including:

  • an administration office with accommodation for 6 staff
  • conference and meeting rooms
  • general storage and machinery sheds
  • a purpose-built mechanical workshop and chemical store.

The site is also well serviced with a wide range of equipment, including tractors, trucks and heavy earth-moving equipment required to support research and extension activities as well as the operation of a large-scale research facility.

Specialised infrastructure

Processing facilities and conference room

  • Sample preparation room
  • Cattle yards – 2 new sets of purpose-built research cattle yards with safety and training in mind and strategically placed across Spyglass, 2 older sets of existing yards
  • Plunge dips – 2 sets of yards have plunge dips if required
  • Paddock sub-divisions – sub-division of larger paddocks to enable intensive research projects
  • Conference room – suitable for meetings for 8-10 people.

Specialised equipment

Sample processing

  • Drying ovens and dehydrators – dehydrators and oven for smaller packet and tray-sized samples are also available.
  • Bloods centrifuge – allowing platelets and blood plasma to be isolated from other blood components.

Pest and pathogen control

  • Sprayers – 3 point linkage mounted boom spray, trailered spot-spray units, backpacks and boomless nozzles


  • Tilt-tray truck and 4WD trucks fitted with Hiab cranes. Ability to transport plant and equipment to service project trial sites as well as transport livestock.

Research focus

The new purpose-designed facility plays a leading role in research to advance tropical and subtropical beef production and ecosystem management. The intent of Spyglass Beef Research Facility is to provide a facility and livestock for DAF and other organisations to undertake research, development, extension and/or teaching. Research carried out on Spyglass Beef Research Facility will increase productivity and profitability for the state’s beef producers by addressing beef-cattle genetics, reproduction, growth, welfare, and husbandry. Key examples of this are ongoing identification and validation of improved beef cattle genetics. Others are investigations into the causes of, and solutions for, reproductive inefficiencies such as embryo and newborn calf loss. Long-term monitoring systems (for more than 25 years) have been established. These will allow researchers to analyse and validate the impacts of grazing strategies and climate change on pasture and animal production, landscape condition, and business performance.

© Queensland Government