AUSTRALIA’s national science agency, CSIRO, has purchased a 77-hectare property in Queensland to continue its research in support of agriculture in the north, including new and improved crop varieties, agricultural tools, and agronomy.
The new Forest Hill Agricultural Research Station at Forest Hill in the Lockyer Valley west of Brisbane will be a focal point of cropping research as CSIRO vacates its currently leased site at the nearby University of Queensland’s Gatton campus.
CSIRO Agriculture and Food director Dr Michiel van Lookeren Campagne said the property, situated on prime agricultural land, will allow CSIRO to retain a strategically important place to continue northern cropping zone research.
“Forest Hill’s location allows us to conduct high-tech field trials and observations for crops throughout the northern cropping zone, which broadly extends from central Queensland to central New South Wales,” Dr van Lookeren Campagne said.
“By acquiring this property, we will maintain our national footprint and be able to continue our research into farming systems, digital technologies and crops such as legumes and wheat.
“It’s also important for us to remain part of the local community, and to continue our close engagements with The University of Queensland, the agricultural industries and R&D providers at Gatton and across the Darling Downs and Western Downs regions.”
The Forest Hill site will allow CSIRO to continue the multi-disciplinary cropping research conducted at Gatton, from digital agricultural capabilities such as phenomics and simulation tools, systems agronomy, and the breeding of new varieties.
Research at the site will include a variety of different crops, including legumes such as soybeans, as well as wheat, barley and sorghum.
Infrastructure will be improved over time as staff relocate to the site and research expands. The property has good access to water for irrigation and existing farming facilities.
Dr van Lookeren Campagne said the new site formed an important part of CSIRO’s commitment to tackling agriculture’s biggest challenges, in particular through recently announced agriculture and food Missions.
“CSIRO’s Missions are big, bold and inspiring major collaborations, designed for us to engage with partners and fast-track the development of solutions for Australia’s benefit,” he said.
“Research at the Forest Hill site will help us progress work reducing the impacts of drought and producing an additional $10 billion of high-quality protein products growing Australia’s agricultural sector to the goal of $100 billion.”