Monday, 11 November 2019 09:53

CSIRO opens new agriculture research station in NSW

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Purpose-built workshops and storage facilities at Boorowa Agricultural Research Station. Purpose-built workshops and storage facilities at Boorowa Agricultural Research Station. Supplied

The CSIRO has opened a new agriculture research station where scientists will use drones, remote monitoring and advanced data analytics to obtain accurate data in their study of crops and farming systems.

Located in southwestern NSW, the digitally-enabled 290-hectare Boorowa Agriculture Research Station has 100 temperature and humidity probes, 72 soil moisture probes and six weather stations to monitor experiments in crop science, agronomy and farming systems.

The new facility has taken four years to design and build at a cost of $11.5 million.

CSIRO Agriculture and Food director Dr Michiel van Lookeren Campagne said it was more important than ever to advance innovative science to build resilient agriculture systems and increase food production.

“Our agriculture industries are facing major challenges, especially with the current drought,” he said.

trialplots

At Boorowa, research will be conducted into new varieties of wheat, canola, legumes and pastures that can withstand warmer and drier conditions, such as those predicted for the future. Supplied

“Here at Boorowa, we’ll be trialling new varieties of wheat, canola, legumes and pastures that can withstand warmer and drier conditions, such as those predicted for the future.

“We’ll also continue to research the best farming practices to manage our fragile soils and get the most from every drop of water.

“The better we can understand how plants grow and produce in a real farming environment – not just the lab – the more we can help Australian agriculture meet its $100 billion target.”

The new station will replace the Ginninderra Experimental Station, which was set up just outside Canberra in 1958.

“It was at Ginninderra that we field-tested a range of high yielding and disease resistant wheat varieties such as Lawson, Paterson, Gordon, Tennant, Brennan and Dennis. We also refined our high-fibre BARLEYmax and ultra-low gluten Kebari barley,” Dr van Lookeren Campagne said.

“With this new state-of-the-art facility at Boorowa, it’s exciting to imagine what we can achieve.”

The development of the new station was supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation and the Science and Industry Endowment Fund.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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