Merredin Dryland Research Institute

Page last updated: Wednesday, 14 September 2022 - 8:52am

DPIRD’s Dryland Research Institute (DRI) has operated for more than 100 years. Located 5km west of Merredin in the low rainfall, eastern Wheatbelt region.  Facilities at the DRI cover 1165 hectares and provide broad R&D capacity from near infrared analysis of grain quality attributes through to fully controlled glasshouses, modern laboratories, a 600-hectare field trial area, a network of digital soil moisture probes and weather stations, and an engineering workshop.

The experienced team of research scientists and technical officers have decades of collective expertise in crop agronomy, genetic improvement, plant pathology, weed and pest management, drought adaptation, pasture and livestock management, agricultural engineering, controlled traffic farming, digital agriculture, hydrology, and soil science.

Research programs are underpinned by strong collaborative relationships with growers, agribusiness, grower groups, research organisations and universities, NRM organisations, regional development groups and other government agencies. There are currently 66 research trials associated with the Merredin facilities.

The Merredin Dryland Research Institute also have staff in biosecurity and land-use planning.

Research

DRI scientists are involved in a range of research and development programs hosted on and off site, targeted at:

  • Low rainfall crop science and agronomy
  • Soil constraints including compaction, acidity, aluminium toxicity and soil salinity
  • Farming systems research including transformative, climate adapted and regenerative agricultural systems
  • Agricultural engineering
  • Integrated weed management
  • Evaluation of breeding lines and genetic traits for a range of cereal, legume, and oilseed crops and biotic and abiotic stresses
  • Re-engineering soils to optimise crop access to water and nutrients.

Facilities

Facilities at the Dryland Research Institute cover 1165 hectares and provide broad R&D capacity from near infrared analysis of grain quality attributes through to fully controlled glasshouses, modern laboratories, a 600-hectare field trial area, a network of digital soil moisture probes and weather stations, and an engineering workshop.

  • Six fully equipped laboratories including labs for soils, plants, grain processing, grain quality analysis (including grain protein with Foss Infratec NIR machines), plant pathology, and controlled temperature
  • 600 hectares for field trials covering a range of significant soil types
  • 5Ha vermin proofed, netted trial area
  • 15.2km irrigation network of 2 inch pipes
  • 3.8km irrigation network of 4 inch pipes
  • Two 250.000L water tanks
  • Cone seeding machines, plot harvesters, irrigation equipment, plot sprayers, tillage implements, large scale farm machinery and equipment
  • Two 38m² split glasshouse and a 78m² glasshouse and workspace – temperature controlled with cool rooms and spray cabinets
  • Storage sheds, chemical store, grain silos, augers and sheep yards
  • Germplasm Facility with onsite shed housing machinery, clean down pad, clean lab with controlled environment seed storage room.
  • Crop processing shed with drying ovens and storage
  • Machinery workshop with threshing and seed cleaning machines
  • Two dams with roaded catchments
  • Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) with a range of IoT sensors and digital agriculture technologies to support research activities, including soil moisture probes, gate sensors and automatic weather stations
  • Modern offices, and large conference room with audiovisual and video conferencing facilities as well as smaller meeting rooms.

Co-locators

Wheatbelt Development Commission, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), Grower Group Alliance (GGA), and South-West WA Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub.

Contact

For more information on the facilities and R&D opportunities available at the Dryland Research Institute please contact:

P: +61 1300 374 731 (1300 DPIRD1) or +61 (0)8 9081 3111
E: enquiries@dpird.wa.gov.au

Merredin Dryland Research Institute