Administration building at Grafton

The Grafton Primary Industries Institute (830 ha) is located at Trenayr, approximately 10 kilometres north of Grafton. The Institute is unique in NSW by providing operational and research functions for agriculture, fisheries and forestry from the one location.

Cattle grazing, cropping, timber and fisheries are presently the mainstay activities of the Grafton district. These diverse coastal industries are reflected in the wide range of programs at the Institute.

The Institute has been involved in the evaluation of many enterprises over the years. Many types of crops, from fruit trees (mangoes, lychees, citrus) to crops such as tobacco and pineapples, have been evaluated on the property. More recently the focus for crop development has included maize, sugar cane, soybean triticale, barley and forage oats. With the North Coast of NSW being the single largest soybean production area in Australia, the soybean research program at Grafton is of particular regional and national importance.


Livestock enterprises have included beef and dairy cattle, pigs, poultry and aquaculture. Grafton was the research centre that demonstrated the benefits to the beef industry in crossbreeding Bos indicus and Bos taurus cattle. At present the institute forms the major component of the North Coast livestock operation with the ability to carry around 800 head on improved pastures with excellent water security.

Research and advisory work at the Institute is presently directed at the control and eradication of various terrestrial and aquatic weeds by chemical, biological and mechanical means, and through the provision of high quality information resources. These weeds include salvinia, cabomba, cat’s claw creeper, Madeira vine, giant Parramatta grass and lantana.

The Institute also houses the Grafton Aquaculture Centre that has pioneered aquaculture of fresh water species such as Silver Perch.

The Forestry Corporation of NSW also operates from the site and conducts a wide range of programs supporting the timber industry. These include Grafton Forests Technology Centre, Production Nursery, Northern Region and North East Region.

The station comprises an area of 830ha with the following facilities:


  • Highly improved coastal pastures comprised of kikuyu, setaria, Rhodes grass and white clover supported by excellent irrigation and cultivation potential.
  • Field staff experienced in pasture development, beef cattle management and broad-acre cropping
  • A specialised facility for assessing weathering tolerance in soybean
  • Weed Biological Breeding Facility
  • Two glass houses for plant propagation and insect breeding
  • A hothouse and potting shed for plant propagation

NSW salvinia bio-control facility

Salvinia biocontrol ponds
  • The National Aquatic Weeds Management Group and the NSW Department of Primary Industries established a salvinia biological control rearing facility at the Grafton Primary Industries Institute. The facility supplies salvinia biological control agents to local control authorities throughout NSW that have salvinia infestations. This is a joint operation between Federal, State and local government. Funds to construct the facility were provided by the Australian Government.


  • Aquaculture research centre including hatchery with office and laboratory facilities, numerous grow out ponds, water supply from the Clarence River with provision for recycling effluent water
  • Specialised facilities for conducting studies into aquatic weed ecology


  • Regional Forestry office
  • A nursery for seedling propagation and development
  • Climate controlled glasshouse complex

General facilities

Bureau of Meteorology weather radar located at Grafton PII
  • A heritage listed office and administration complex including library
  • Conference room
  • Automated weather station. The Bureau of Meteorology weather radar is also located on the station

Northern Cropping Systems Research

The Northern Cropping Systems research team based at Grafton works closely with growers and industry organisations to develop improved varieties of broad acre crops (eg. soybean, triticale and barley) for the diverse farming systems and environments of Northern NSW including the North Coast, Tablelands, Slopes and Plains.

Grafton Weeds Research Unit

Grafton Weeds Research Unit is ideally located and resourced to conduct research into agricultural and environmental weeds both terrestrial and aquatic. The aquatic weeds research program works with industry to develop integrated control systems for aquatic weeds. Current work focuses on cabomba a 'weed of national significance' (WONS). This unit was responsible for producing efficacy data that was used to register carfentrazone-ethyl herbicide for control of cabomba. Work is underway to develop practical herbicide application techniques for control of cabomba.

Tree and Seed Resources

Tree and Seeds Resources are responsible for delivery of genetically improved germplasm of both pinus and eucalypt species for deployment of improved material into Forestry Corporation of NSW’s operation plantations state wide and brings together the Grafton nursery facilities and resources for germplasm capture, storage and propagation. Other facilities of the group are located at Bathurst.

Soybean breeding

Invasive Plants and Animals Branch

The Invasive Plants and Animals Branch carries out research and advisory services for noxious and environmental weeds in NSW, as part of Biosecurity NSW:

  • Coordinating and planning weed management, and administering the Noxious Weeds Act 1993 in the North Coast region.
  • Breeding insects for the biological control of lantana, salvinia, cats claw creeper and madeira vine. Along with other weed control measures, these insects are playing an important role in the integrated management of these species.
  • The development, review and coordination of a wide range of weed publications available to NSW weed professionals and the community.
  • The development, promotion and coordination of weed awareness extension materials and activities for NSW.

NSW WeedWise

NSW WeedWise is a mobile app that provides key information to reduce the impact of weeds in New South Wales. The app profiles over 300 noxious and environmental weeds, describing their legal requirements in NSW under the Noxious Weeds Act 1993, control information and registered herbicide options.

Users range from home gardeners and residents to farmers, land managers and weeds professionals. Users can search or browse weed names (common or scientific); recognise a weed by its physical description and image gallery; find out about its impacts, where it occurs, how it spreads; and its preferred habitat.

NSW WeedWise and it's supporting Weeds Information Database were developed at the Grafton Primary Industries Institute, with the assistance of the NSW Weeds Action Program.

The Station was established by the NSW Government in 1902. Originally its purpose was to investigate and evaluate suitable crop and livestock varieties for the north coast region and to provide superior stud stock to encourage the improvement of local herds.

One of the Station’s earlier functions was as a training institute for young men seeking careers in farming. This activity commenced prior to World War 1 and continued through to about 1935 and included boys trained under the Dreadnought Scheme, a scheme which brought young English boys to Australia to be trained in farm work and when considered proficient to be “distributed to the farmers of the state.”

In 1986 the Grafton Aquaculture Centre opened to conduct studies into the conservation of the endangered Eastern Freshwater Cod.

Since opening in 1902, the Station has made a major contribution to our knowledge of coastal agricultural production and has played a significant role in developing technologies associated with aquaculture, horticulture, cereal crops, summer legumes, pastures and livestock husbandry. Most recently, the station has made and is continuing to make, significant advances in beef cattle production, silver perch aquaculture, crop improvement for coastal farming systems (soybean, barley and triticale) and aquatic and terrestrial weed control.

Grafton Experiment Farm 1931

The Grafton Primary Industries Institute is located at 29° 37’ S and 152° 57’E, on the north coast of New South Wales. The property is 830 hectares in area and is approximately 15 metres above mean sea level.

The climate is subtropical with a dry spring and an early summer, with major rainfall occurring during January to April. The mean annual rainfall is 1054 mm. Mean monthly maximum temperatures vary from 29° C in January to 19° C in July, and mean monthly minimum temperatures vary from 19°C in January to 6° C in July.

Soil types vary from heavy alluvial on the creek flats to higher river terrace (red alluvium) on the hills, with lighter sands on the ridges of the north-east section of the Station.


Trenayr Road
Junction Hill NSW 2460

Postal address:

Grafton Primary Industries Institute
Private Mail Bag 2
Junction Hill NSW 2460

Phone: (02) 6640 1600

International: +61 2 6640 1600

Fax: (02) 6644 7251