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Narrabri: Australian Cotton Research Institute


The North West Plains contains some of the most highly productive and sought-after agricultural land in NSW. The alluvial landscape north and west of the Nandewar Range supports a diverse range of agricultural industries that place a high value on the region’s water supply and topography. The high success of broadacre cropping in the area flows on to successful livestock production, primarily beef. Beef production complements cropping through maximising use of crop residues, utilising areas which cannot be cropped and value adding grain produced as a feed source in feedlots.

The Australian Cotton Research Institute (ACRI) is located between Narrabri and Wee Waa in the centre of New South Wales' main cotton production areas.

Research activities at the ACRI have played a key role in the development of cotton in New South Wales and Queensland. Scientists at ACRI are assisting the cotton industry to develop a sustainable future based on productivity and best practice natural resource, disease and pest management.

The Institute is located on the banks of the Namoi River. The site consists of 277 hectares of land with 183 hectares being irrigated. It includes glasshouses, laboratories, cotton gin, controlled environment growth rooms, insectaries, workshops and conference rooms.

In 2021 the NSW Government announced the Food and Fibre Infrastructure Program. The NSW government will invest close to $100 million in the state’s primary industries research and innovation portfolio to help bolster on-farm productivity and protect the $15 billion sector from devastating pests and diseases.

At the DPI Narrabri site, the Food and Fibre Infrastructure Program aims to support cotton and cropping research, biosecurity emergency management to protect primary industries and improve research and human safety.

Our research

ACRI is the primary centre for the Australian cotton industry. R&D activities aim to deliver improved productivity & sustainable natural resource management.

Our facilities & services

The Institute has a range of research, education, farming and community resources.

Visit, events and learn

ACRI offers various event, visit and engagement activities for producers, students and the broader community.

Key Programs and Initiatives

More Profit from Nitrogen cotton research project

The project investigated management strategies to improve cotton nitrogen use efficiency. Final report available.

World-Class Food and Fibre Infrastructure Program

The NSW Government will invest almost $100 million in the State’s primary industries research and innovation portfolio to help bolster on-farm productivity and protect the $15 billion sector from devastating pests and diseases.

SQNNSW Innovation Hub

ACRI is one of six nodes for the UniSQ-led Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales (SQNNSW) Hub is one of eight national Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs

Farms of the Future

The Farms of the Future program will deliver on-farm connectivity and encourage farmers to adopt ag tech to boost productivity and improve resource management, including water efficiency and drought preparedness

Moree Special Activation Precinct

The Special Activation Precinct will foster world class opportunities to value-add, embrace new technologies and develop innovative energy solutions.

Local Land Services - North West

Visit the North West Local Land Services which is located at 101 Barwan Street, Narrabri.

Work with Us

Completing the Research Station Request for Opportunity form assists DPI staff to respond to requests against DPI availability on site.

Request for opportunity form

Our region and output

Agriculture is a key industry for the North West Plains economically. The area is particularly important for cotton, broadacre cropping, beef, sheep and wool, poultry, fruits and nuts. The North West Plains is 40,990 km² in area and incorporates Moree Plains, Narrabri, Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains councils.

While the North West Plains is just 5.9% of NSWs agricultural production area, it produced 40% value of NSW cotton, over 60% of NSW chickpeas and nearly 80% of NSW sorghum.

The North West Plains has a distinct advantage of large unfragmented areas needed to achieve economies of scale that support agriculture. This coupled with high quality soil and good water access lays the foundations for a strong profitable agricultural sector that underpins the region’s economy

The following table shows the Gross Value of Production for the region in 2010-2021

ProductionValue% Share of NSW 
Cattle and calves402,436,14115%
Cotton lint102,180,86658%
Sheep and lambs72,896,0805%
Total primary industries962,741,6448%

Our climate

The Australian Cotton Research Institute (149°47′E, 30°13′S) in north-western NSW Australia has a semi-arid climate. Situated on an alluvial floodplain elevation is 212m above sea level. The hottest month is January (mean daily maxima and minima of 34.3 and 20°C, respectively) and July the coolest (mean daily maxima and minima of 17.8 and 4°C, respectively). Mean annual rainfall is 568 mm and is summer dominant.

The ACRI has historical weather station records dating back to 1960. Currently there are a number of OzForecast on-site weather stations that measure a wide variety of climate details - including humidity and radiation. This information can be found at https://ozforecast.com.au/cgi-bin/weather.cgi?station=Myall+Vale.NSW

Our history

The Australian Cotton Research Institute was established by the State government in 1958 to research grains, cotton and pastures.

In 1972 CSIRO moved staff to ACRI from Canberra, Griffith and Kununurra to create a cotton research hub in partnership with the then NSW Department of Agriculture. Three successive cotton cooperative research centres (CRC) operated from the site from 1994 to 2012.

The joint research by DPI and the CSIRO has seen cotton production grow into one of Australia’s biggest agricultural industries with new varieties with improved yield, disease resistance and fibre quality seen throughout the Australian market. The variety development is complemented by research in crop management in pests and agronomy as well as delivery of research information in decision support packages.

Narrabri Australian Cotton Research Institute Site Video

Contact & Location

Wee Waa Road
Narrabri NSW 2390

Postal address:

Narrabri – Australian Cotton Research Institute
Locked Bag 1000
Narrabri NSW 2390

Phone: (02) 6799 1500

International: +61 2 6799 1500

News and case studies