Glen Innes Agricultural Research and Advisory Station

aerial view of Glen Innes Agricultural Research and Advisory Station

The Glen Innes Agricultural Research & Advisory Station (GIARAS) is the research and development base for the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales run by the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Grazing provides the mainstay agricultural activity on the Northern Tablelands. Because of high rainfall, long growing season and the adaptive potential of temperate perennial species, the Northern Tablelands is credited as the premier pasture environment in Australia for intensive grazing systems.

As DPI’s base for the high rainfall zone in northern NSW, GIAR&AS provides research and  development programs for eastern Australia’s sheep and cattle industry based on temperate perennial pastures.

Research and development work at the GIAR&AS is directed at improving the pasture base for grazing animals, and at developing industry capability to produce livestock products to commercial specifications through:

  • building the knowledge base for pasture improvement technology
  • managing feed-gaps to redress nutritional limitations
  • matching livestock genetics to feed and management applications
  • developing technology packages for 'best management practice'
  • Heritage-listed buildings with office, administration and conference facilities connected to  DPI’s state-wide computer network.
  • 3 cottages accommodating on site DPI staff proving, security and after hours emergencies
  • Bureau of Meteorology weather station (Meteorological Station 056013)
  • Seeds laboratory and Field plots nursery and demonstration pastures
  • Modern cattle yards, sheep yards and shearing shed
  • Extensive range of agricultural equipment and machinery for field operations ranging from trial plots to large scale farming enterprises, fencing and internal laneways for the safe and efficient handling of livestock, and storage facilities for hay and grain.

Cattle research

Cattle research is done in collaboration with the Beef CRC in Armidale
  • Angus muscling selection line herd:  Currently being utilised by The Beef Information Nucleus (BIN) Angus Sire Benchmarking Project (ASBP)
  • Beef Information Nucleus (BIN) Angus Sire Benchmarking Project (ASBP):                                                            This project will demonstrate the value of performance recording, genetic evaluation and selection using Angus BREEDPLAN estimated Breeding Values and Selection Indexes.
  • Retail Beef Yield (RBY) Project :The project will see Retail Beef Yield measured on 1000 steers by 2020. The core steers for the project will be those produced by the ASBP at both Glen Innes and Trangie from 2015-2018.
  • A 3D: 3D camera objective live assessment: An imaging camera that can measure muscle score in cattle. To help graziers accurately and objectively assess carcases for live cattle, the DPI is working on a research project to use X Box cameras in the yards to record 3D information on the animals.

Sheep & wool

Glen Innes ARAS is a centre for beef and sheep production
  • Northern Tablelands Wether Trial:  The wether trial collects data that allows breeders to benchmark the performance of their flocks against others in the district on an annual basis.

Agronomy Research

  • Depletion of Nasella neesiana seed banks using essential oil products.
  • Increase feedbase production and quality of tropical grass based pastures
  • Evaluating the impact of different land management uses and control measures to deplete Nassella nessiana soil seedbanks on the Northern Tablelands of NSW
  • Developing profitable dairy and sheep meat production systems in Central Tibet
  • One of Australia’s oldest (commenced in 1921) long-term crop rotation studies

Working with the community

Field day for cattle producers
  • GIAR&AS has strong community and industry support for its advisory activities as evidenced by highly successful workshops and field-days.
  • Field trials and/or demonstrations are presently being conducted into Chilean Needle Grass control, tropical grasses and legumes and alternate fertilisers.
  • GIAR&AS has produced an extensive knowledge-base (research papers dating back 100 years), and an ongoing release of advisory material (trade magazine articles, newsletters, multi-media) relevant to temperate summer-rainfall environments.
  • Advisory work at GIAR&AS specialises in group extension, co-learning and industry consultancies. GIAR&AS  runs an ongoing and intensive schedule of group courses. These build knowledge of 'best management practices' for sustainable environment outcomes.
  • GIAR&AS is shared with staff members of the Northern Tablelands Local Land Services (NTLLS) and WaterNSW making it an important resource for the local agricultural community. This provides direct communication with a number of agencies, department divisions and branches. Systematically reducing any delay in information. Research> Advisory> Community
  • Fishing and Information Weekend: 2017 saw the commencement of a now expected annual Fishing and Information Weekend which offers the community a fun-filled weekend, rich with resources about responsible fishing and the environment.
Inspecting the horses on Farm Day, December 1921

Glen Innes Agricultural Research & Advisory Station was established as ‘The Glen Innes Experiment Farm’ (later ‘New England Experiment Farm’) in 1902. Initially, the aims of the station were:

  • To study the agricultural and pastoral problems of the Northern Tablelands
  • To produce improved varieties of agricultural and pastoral plants
  • To improve methods of culture and management of crops, pastures and livestock

In the first 50 years, the station made a major contribution to local knowledge of agricultural production, and played a significant role in evaluating the potential of horticultural crops (apples, pears, hazelnuts, cherries, peaches, plums, grapes), cereal crops (wheat, oats, maize), miscellaneous crops (potatoes, tobacco, lavender, pyrethrum), pastures (temperate perennials) and livestock (dairy and beef cattle, sheep, pigs).

The manager addressing visitors on Farm Day, December 1921

During 1912–1942, the station was one of the centres of youth education for agriculture in NSW. The first students took up residence in 1912 and received practical training and formal lectures. Included among these students were the ‘Dreadnought Boys’ – English boys brought to Australia to be trained in farm work. When considered proficient they were to be ‘… distributed to the farmers of the state’. The station trained some 325 Dreadnought boys between 1912 and 1930.

From circa 1930’s, research commenced in earnest with an initial focus on plant improvement with wheat, oats, maize, potatoes and tobacco breeding. Shannon Vale Nutrition Station, a remote sub-station of The New England Experiment Farm, was established in 1939 for research on ‘weaner ill-thrift’ - this was a prevalent limitation to sheep performance on the granite soils of the Northern Tablelands. With the solution found in ‘clover & super’ technology, research and extension work for the grazing industries progressed to:

  • Maximising production (1960’s -70’s) through past agronomy research and animal nutrition studies
  • Optimising profitability (1980’s -90’s) through cattle genetics research, sheep fertility innovations and the development of steer 'backgrounding' technology
  • ‘Best practice’ management for sustainability in the present era
Glen Innes ARAS Metereological Station 056013

The Northern Tablelands of New South Wales is a cool temperate highlands region between latitudes (28-32oS). Climatic conditions across the Northern Tablelands include relatively high rainfall (average annual rainfall, 750-1250 mm), marked summer incidence, a 200-day frost interval (April - October) and intensely cold winter conditions.

GIAR&AS is located at 29o 44’S/151o 42’E in the Northern Tablelands and the altitude is 1057m. Climate is characterised by average annual rainfall of 840mm with summer dominance (36% incidence between December and February), a wide temperature range, and precipitation exceeding evaporation only in winter months.  The annual temperature range is 24.5oC, the mean maximum and minimum temperatures in the warmest month (January) are 25.2 and 13.5oC, respectively; the mean maximum and minimum temperatures in the coldest month (July) are 12.4 and 0.7oC, respectively.

Soil moisture has a well-defined seasonal pattern. Despite summer-rainfall dominance, soil moisture is progressively depleted during spring-summer, remains low and variable in late summer-autumn, and is recharged in winter. For pastures, the seasonal growth rhythm comprises high pasture growth during the spring primary growth phase, moderate pasture growth during the secondary growth phase in summer-autumn and low growth in winter. The major climatic stresses for pasture plants are summer-autumn moisture deficit, winter cold and episodic drought.


444 Strathbogie Road
Glen Innes NSW 2370

Postal address:

Agricultural Research and Advisory Station
Glen Innes NSW 2370

Phone: (02) 6730 1900
International: +61 2 6730 1900  
Fax: (02) 6730 1999