Yanco Agricultural Institute, NSW DPI’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Rice and Horticulture, is located between Leeton and Narrandera in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area. The National Vegetable Industry Centre and the Murrumbidgee Rural Studies Centre are both located at the Institute.
The Institute covers an area of 813 hectares of mixed irrigation and dryland farming country, and is primarily used for research on the efficient and sustainable production of rice, wheat, lucerne, citrus, vegetables, and various organic crops. Research is concentrated on crops grown under irrigation. Rice physiology and entomology trials are conducted at the Institute, however the rice breeding program is concentrated at Leeton Field Station, a separate 242 hectare irrigation property located 7 km west of the Institute.
Ninety-five people are employed at the Institute, covering a range of functions including research, extension, education, regulation, forest management, farm operations and administration.
The Institute’s campus covers an area of about 20 hectares and includes a wide range of buildings to meet the needs of all activities on the site. Yanco Agricultural Institute has extensive modern facilities for research and education.
Education and conference facilities
Farming activities at the Institute and at Leeton Field Station are aimed towards providing high quality resources for field research. When areas are not required for research, commercial farming is conducted to provide income to maintain and improve the resources of the farms. A full farming plant is maintained and has been steadily upgraded over the last 10 years.
Typical crops grown include wheat, oats, and barley, and lucerne-based pastures are maintained between cropping phases. Wool, prime lambs, and cattle suitable for feedlot entry are the mainstays of the livestock enterprises. These can be utilised, or numbers/types adjusted at any time to suit any required research activities.
Tocal College, Yanco Campus (formerly known as the Murrumbidgee Rural Studies Centre), is part of the Yanco Agricultural Institute. CB Alexander Campus, Tocal College's northern campus is part of Tocal Agricultural Centre situated at Paterson.
The Yanco Campus of Tocal College has been offering quality short courses to primary producers and small farm owners since 1986. The College's ability to offer accredited training based on the most up-to-date information stems from our relationship with NSW DPI research, extension staff and the expansive resources and sites available to us for training purposes.
The Yanco Campus training facilities combined with on-site accommodation continue to be popular with corporate and industry groups looking to complete targeted training in short residential training blocks.
More information about Yanco Campus, Tocal College can be obtained from the Tocal College website.
Australia’s only rice breeding program is based at Yanco Agricultural Institute (YAI), and is focused on producing high-yielding temperate japonica rice varieties suited to local agronomic conditions and industry markets.
At the National Vegetable Industry Centre research is conducted on pest, disease and irrigation management of field-grown vegetables.
A 6.4 ha site at the institute has been developed for organic crop production. The site achieved dual certification by Australian Certified Organic (ACO) and the National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA) in 2000, and is used for demonstration crops and research into organic farming techniques which aim to achieve a reduced reliance on artificial pesticides and fertilisers.
Yanco Agricultural Institute was founded in 1908 as the Yanco Experiment Farm when the NSW Department of Agriculture purchased 323 acres of North Yanco Station from Sir Samuel MacCaughey. Three years later a further 1500 acres was purchased, and smaller land parcels were purchased from adjoining properties between 1911 and 1920 to bring the Experiment Farm to its current area of 813 hectares. Accommodation for 18 apprentices was constructed soon after Yanco Experiment Farm was established.
In May 1928 the property was transferred to the Child Welfare Department and became a home for delinquent boys, the Riverina Welfare Farm. Further accommodation facilities were erected to house a total of 128 boys. The Department of Agriculture continued to conduct crop trials on the property during this period.
In 1942 the Riverina Welfare farm ceased operation and the boys were transferred to Gosford. The property then became POW Camp 15, which eventually held over 700 Italian prisoners of war. The farm was still managed by the Department of Agriculture and the prisoners grew vegetables to assist the Allied war effort. The property was handed back to the Department of Agriculture in 1947.
Between 1948 and 1951 the farm was used partly for the training of returned soldiers under the Commonwealth Rural Training Scheme.
The property was renamed Yanco Agricultural Research Station in 1961, and was subsequently renamed Yanco Agricultural Institute. Education has been a major focus of Yanco Agricultural Institute since its inception. A number of post-graduate students, from Honours to PhD level, are co-supervised by research staff at the Institute.
In 1961 it was decided to establish an agricultural college on the site, and Yanco Agricultural College commenced operations in 1963 with a full initial intake of 38 students studying a 42-week Farm Certificate Course.
The number of courses offered and the number of enrolments increased over the years as the college expanded and more student accommodation became available, and in 1980 the name of the college was changed to Murrumbidgee College of Agriculture. The college continued to offer residential courses in agriculture until the full-time youth education ceased operations in 2003.
The Murrumbidgee Rural Studies Centre took over the short courses previously offered by Murrumbidgee College of Agriculture, and it continues to provide a wide range of courses to farmers, consultants and other members of the community.
The Murrumbidgee Rural Studies Centre, now known as Yanco Campus, Tocal College.
Yanco Agricultural Institute is situated in northern Riverina of NSW at an elevation of 136m and is suited for temperate horticultural production. Temperature can range from a minimum of -3ºC in winter to a maximum of 42ºC in summer with an average rainfall of 433mm.
YAI has 1068 ha of agricultural land with a wide range of soil types from grey self-mulching clays to light sandy soils. Irrigation requirements are supplied from the Burrinjuck and Blowering dams via the Murrumbidgee river and an extensive canal system.
Narrandera Road (Trunk Road 80)
Yanco Agricultural Institute
Phone: (02) 6951 2611
International: +61 2 6951 2611
Fax: (02) 6955 7580