Our history

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).

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

GIARAS buildings