CSIRO's new Boorowa Agricultural Research Station opens

The Boorowa Agricultural Research Station opened on November 9.
The Boorowa Agricultural Research Station opened on November 9.

Members of the public celebrated the official opening of CSIRO's new 11.5 million Boorowa Agricultural Research Station (BARS) on Saturday, November 9.

BARS is a purpose-built 290 hectare facility that will be a practical, digital farm, testing emerging technologies in crop science, agronomy and farming systems.

The opening took place four years after CSIRO announced it would shut down its Ginninderra centre.

BARS farm manager Stuart Brown said he was excited for the site to get underway.

"The old research station at Ginninderra has gone past its due by date; it is surrounded by houses and doesn't really represent the Southern Tablelands' cropping and grazing scenarios," he said.

"Moving out to Boorowa places us in that heartland and gives us representative soils that allow us to do research that is really relevant to Southern Tablelands farmers.

"There's still a long way to go, we've got to sort out some water issues, but we are having trouble with water in Canberra at the Ginninderra site so these are to be expected in a drought year," he said.

Staff at the Ginninderra centre will be relocated full-time to BARS by February 2020, although two will stay at Ginninderra to manage the existing sheep, Mr Brown said.

Part of the flock will then be relocated to Boorowa in October next year.

Some staff are already located at BARS including Mr Brown, three days per week, researchers and technicians.

BARS' first cropping trial will be harvested in early December and all new cropping trials will begin at BARS during next year's planting season, usually between March and July, Mr Brown said.

Mr Brown said there were "opportunities for employment and businesses to support the research station".

"Watch this space, we have a labour contracting company that will be interacting with people in the community for these opportunities.

"Hopefully it has both a financial and research spin off: people will be staying out there, buying lunch and that will add an injection to the town.

"There will be unquantifiable multiplier in terms of business impact as it (BARS) ramps up, for example there's a breeders workshop and field day at Ginninderra later this month, that sort of thing will continue on in the future at Boorowa," he said.

What do you think of the new research station? Have your say