New $1 million lab opened at Tamworth Agricultural Institute

Minister for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald, today opened a new $1 million soil and plant processing facility at the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ Tamworth Agricultural Institute.

This state-of-the-art facility brings all the activities associated with the processing of soil and plant material for research at Tamworth under the one roof, leading to greater efficiencies and much better facilities for DPI researchers to work in.

Soil scientists, agronomists and plant breeders are to share the facility and will have ready access to machinery and equipment previously housed in various locations across the site.

Designed by the scientists, the new building provides a staged processing line from receival through to washing, drying, weighing, grinding, seed testing, data processing and samples ready for laboratory analysis.

The design will boost the capacity of staff for fast-tracking the release of new crop and pasture varieties and improved quality and disease resistance in a variety of crops.

The new facility provides separate rooms for the plant and soil processing, thereby eliminating the potential for cross contamination.

Dirty or dusty operations are kept separate from clean areas where electronic balances and computers are housed.

This complies with the department’s quality assurance policy and enhances the ISO 9001:2000 certification that is already in place for the nine laboratories at this Institute.

Construction of the facility is part of the NSW Government’s Towards 2020 re-investment program which is designed to strengthen applied science capabilities at key agricultural research centres across the State.

The Tamworth Agricultural Institute is DPI’s Centre of Excellence for Northern Farming Systems.