Orange Agricultural Institute


Orange Agricultural Institute (OAI) has a national and international reputation for quality science and applied agricultural and biosecurity solutions supporting livestock, cropping and horticultural industries, and the protection of the environment and community. Impacting across these sectors, vital research, diagnostic and extension outcomes from this institute are recognised locally, across NSW and internationally.

Orange Agricultural Institute (OAI) consists of the following key facilities:

  • 183 ha of land
  • QC3 Insectarium
  • Biosecurity Collections - Insect & Mite Collection and Plant Pathology & Mycology Herbarium
  • Laboratories
  • Greenhouses
  • Dehydrator
  • Library Services
  • Training Centre available for hire for up to 150 internal and external customers
  • Storage dam for irrigation and livestock with 174 megalitre capacity

Our major objectives are to improve the quality, profitability and sustainability of deciduous fruit, wool and sheep meat production, minimise the impacts of weeds in crops, pastures and natural ecosystems, reduce the incidence of diseases in domestic livestock, and limit the effects of vertebrate pests on production and the environment.

Our approach to achieve profitable agriculture for a better environment covers a wide range of research activities including genetic improvement of fruit trees, development and timing of farming operations that incorporate integrated management practices (including biological methods) to minimise the use of chemical to control diseases, weeds and other pests, and the formulation of grazing management systems to increase productivity of both native and sown pastures all complemented by research that targets environmental problems such as salinity, acidity and loss of biodiversity.

Key research units

NSW DPI has research units spread across various locations. For example, the Weeds Research unit has research staff based in Orange, Wagga Wagga, Narrabri, Grafton and Tamworth.

Some of the units located at Orange Agricultural Institute include:

  • Research Services
  • Biosecurity Collections - Insect & Mite Collection and Plant Pathology & Mycology Herbarium
  • Central Tablelands Local Land Services
  • Climate
  • Pastures and soils
  • Temperate horticulture and viticulture
  • Vertebrate pests
  • Water and irrigation
  • Water NSW
  • Weeds Research
  • Wool performance

More information about key research undertaken at Orange Agricultural Institute can be found in the Introducing Orange Agricultural Institute booklet.

Service delivery direct to the community is mainly delivered by Central Tablelands Local Land Services and Biosecurity Collections.

Central Tablelands Local Land Services delivers advisory and biosecurity services to add value and protect local agricultural industries, enhance natural resources and help communities respond to flood, fire and drought.

The  Biosecurity Collections Unit provides an insect identification or assessment service.

The Orange Agricultural Institute houses one the largest insect and mite collections in Australia available for loan for scientific purposes.

Research Services manages the on-site Training Centre which is available for hire for both internal and external business organisations. There is a large conference room and small conference room available, or the entire centre can be booked. Contact us on 02 6391 3800 for further information.

Agricultural research commenced at Orange because the Bathurst Experiment Farm was unsuitable for vegetable, especially potato, trials. Work on vegetables at Bathurst was conducted on leased land near the Macquarie River.  This land was vacated in 1952 and the potato improvement program was transferred to plots in the Orange district in 1953.  Vacant crown land south of Orange was reserved for agricultural research in 1963 and a potato research station was established.

The planting of apples and cherries in 1967 heralded a change to permanent horticulture.  This was escalated with the cessation of potato research.  The range of research broadened even further to include weeds and pastures.

The next significant development was the construction of the main office / laboratory building in 1980 when the Orange Research Station became a regional centre.  Research activity expanded to include entomology, sheep and plant pathology. The new building included Regional Veterinary Laboratory and a brucellosis eradication team, necessitating a name change to Orange Agricultural Research and Veterinary Centre.

Further developments included centralising vertebrate pest research, expanding sheep and weeds research and the relocation of the BCRI taxonomy unit from Rydalmere to Orange.

In 1997, a new building for the Scientific Collections Unit is built with specialised controlled environment facilities to preserve the insect and mite collection, as well as the herbarium.  This building is later extended to include the Wool and Sheep Meat Building.  As the research station saw a major increase in building activity and staff, there was another name change to Orange Agricultural Institute.

Orange Agricultural Institute is situated in the Central Tablelands of NSW at an elevation of 922m. Weather records date from 1976 to the present and show a narrower band than the earlier records from the Orange Post Office 1907 – 1965. Although from a later period, the OAI temperature records provide an indication of the effect of higher altitude. This affect is continued on the higher altitude horticultural areas on the slopes of Mount Canobolas. The relatively cool district climate suits viticulture and other deciduous fruits with winter chilling normally exceeding 1200 hours.

Total annual rainfall in the district also varies with altitude and topography but averages around 900mm with lesser rainfall during autumn. Snow usually falls in the district several times each winter.


1447 Forest Road
Orange NSW 2800

Postal address:

Orange Agricultural Institute
Forest Road
Orange NSW 2800

Phone: (02) 6391 3800

International: +61 0 6391 3800

Fax: (02) 6391 3899