Walkamin Research Facility

Site details

Research facility name Walkamin Research FacilityKairi field site
Research facility address 6302 Kennedy Highway, Walkamin
QLD 4872
193 State Farm Road, Kairi
QLD 4872
Telephone +61 7 4091 9300NA
Site location14 km north of Atherton on the Kennedy Highway, 70 km west of Cairns, opposite the township of Walkamin12 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, altitude 700m
Climate 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 Mareeba granites and Hodgkinson metamorphic and level to undulating basalt soilsHigh clay red soils (ferrosols) up to 20m deep


The Walkamin Research Facility and the associated field site at Kairi leads and innovates in a wide range of scientific research and development (R&D). 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 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 facility is a multi-purpose site with horticultural, cropping, forestry, and pastures-related R & D and retains infrastructure for aquaculture research.

The Kairi fiels site, managed from Walkamin is located on the shores of Lake Tinaroo on fertile volcanic basalt soils. The field site is tailored for RD&E of field cropping and horticulture crops. The site is fully irrigated, and current activity includes peanut and maize research. Irrigation water is supplied through lateral move and overhead systems which 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. There are 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 minimising direct sunlight and temperature.
  • Cold rooms - Temperature and humidity controlled with 60m2 of floor space. The freezer room has 20m2 of floor space 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 preperation areas and storage.
  • Seed stores – Various locations on the site designed to store seed and plant samples until processing is undertaken.
  • Conference rooms – The 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 water from Tinaroo Dam is available at both Walkamin and the Kairi field site which have a combined allocation of 497ML. Irrigation water is delivered through a network of underground mains and applied through overhead sprinkler, trickle tape or a lateral boom irrigator.

Specialised plant and equipment

Precision planters and 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
  • Leucaena producer demonstration site and assessment of psyllid tolerant hybrids
  • Tropical lucerne variety assessment
  • Intensive seed production of broadly-adapted native grasses

Pigeon pea development

  • 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 conducted Walkamin in the block manufacturing Shed. Blocks are packaged and sent to the Torres Strait before each round of blocking, or as required.

Maize germplasm enhancement and productivity improvement for tropical Australia

  • Maize yield assessment
  • Germplasm storage