A NSW Government website

Tocal Agricultural Institute & College


The Hunter Region is one of NSW’s most popular destinations, located just two hours’ drive north of Sydney. The Hunter features coastal and valley landscapes, internationally renowned wine production, important natural areas, both urban and rural lifestyles and extensive mining resources. Together with its global companies, these features make the Hunter an attractive place to work, live and play.

Tocal Agricultural Institute & College is a 2200 hectare property in the NSW Hunter Valley. The property includes the Tocal College, Paterson campus and the Tocal Homestead heritage precinct. Tocal farm staff operate a commercial beef herd, stock horse breeding, dairy and free-range egg production as well as a demonstration sheep flock and bee hives used in training.

The College consists of the College, Regional Services and Regulatory programs, Tocal Field Days and Tocal Homestead. The Hunter Local Land Services (LLS) is also located at the Tocal College, CB Alexander Campus.

Tocal College also has a southern campus, Yanco Campus, situated at the NSW DPI Yanco Agricultural Institute near Leeton, which provides a wide range of skills training courses, traineeships and the Aboriginal Rural Training Program (ARTP).

Tocal College Purpose: To grow the capacity and productivity of the agricultural workforce to meet the needs of a changing agricultural sector.

Our research

TAI works to deliver key research, and develop and support the agricultural industry.

Our facilities & services

TAI offers a range of facilities from labs, training centres and testbeds.

Visit, events and learn

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

Key Programs and Initiatives

Tocal College

The College is part of the Tocal Agricultural Centre within NSW DPI. It consists of the College, Regional Services and Regulatory programs, Tocal Field Days and Tocal Homestead. The Hunter Local Land Services (LLS) is also located at the Tocal College, CB Alexander Campus.

Plan Bee – Australian honey bee genetic improvement program

The National Honey Bee Genetic Improvement Program is a collaboration between beekeeping and horticulture industries, universities and non-profit organisations.

Local Land Services - Hunter

Hunter Local Land Services works with producers. Visit their website to find out about the range of services available to help industry.

Research Station Request for Opportunity

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

The Hunter region of New South Wales is located north of Sydney. With a long history of settlement, the region features many towns and villages connected by an extensive road network.

The variety of landscapes and climates in the region supports a diverse range of agricultural industries. All of which place a high value on the region’s reliable water supplies. Beef cattle grazing occurs throughout the Upper Hunter region and is the most frequent agricultural land use. Dairying and equine grazing enterprises are concentrated in areas that feature alluvial soils suitable for highly productive pastures and reliable access to water. Other grazing enterprises include; sheep for wool and prime lambs predominantly in the drier, more inland areas and smaller scale domestic goats (for meat or wool) or alpacas. Irrigated cropping, particularly for lucerne hay is an important development in the drier Upper Hunter. Intensive agricultural enterprises including viticulture and poultry are of particular significance in more closely settled areas with milder climates.

Commodity Short DescriptionGross value ($) Proportion of State Total (%)
Total primary industries  713,982,473 4%
Cattle and calves  238,057,493 9%
Milk  127,751,623 19%
Poultry  106,900,953 14%
Eggs  102,254,765 26%
Commercial fisheries and aquaculture (estimated)#     50,539,449 25%
Hay     24,210,768 5%
Turf     13,941,424 9%
Nurseries     10,519,494 2%
Sheep and lambs       9,313,949 1%
Wool       6,531,221 1%

Data from sourced from ABS, ABARES & DPI 2021.

Our climate

Tocal is located in the lower Paterson Valley of the NSW Hunter Valley approximately 11 kilometres north of Maitland, and about 180 kilometres north of Sydney. Tocal receives more summer rainfall than winter. Most summer rainfall comes from storms caused by moist air extending southwards from northern Australia and east from the Tasman Sea. Winter rainfall is caused by cold fronts from the mid latitudes. The rainfall average is 972mm per year. Paterson’s proximity to the coast affects its temperatures by reducing extremes. The area does not receive the intensity of hot days in the summer and cold nights in the winter compared to the Upper Hunter Valley. It is, however, far enough inland to receive some very hot days (>35°C) in most summers and some frosts in most winters.

Our history

Tocal has a long and proud history, which has seen it established as one of the foremost agricultural institutions in Australia. Tocal is on the lands of the Wonnarua people. The name ‘Tocal’ is a Koori word meaning ‘plenty’.

A detailed timeline can be found here

Tocal Agricultural Institute & College Site Video

News and case studies





Tocal Agricultural Centre
815 Tocal Road
Paterson NSW 2421

Phone: (02) 4939 8888 or 1800 025 520

International: +61 0 4939 8888

Email: tocal.college@dpi.nsw.gov.au