Redlands’ unsung heroes of agriculture research

Published Thursday, 09 June, 2022 at 11:29 AM

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner

Brisbane’s bayside is home to a hothouse of agricultural science research and development with 75 staff at the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Redlands Research Centre currently working across almost 50 projects and trials.

Member for Capalaba Don Brown said many of the breakthroughs and cutting-edge practices in Queensland agriculture were a result of the ground-breaking partnerships conducted at Redlands.

“With laboratories, glasshouses, shade houses, extensive fields of rich red soil and reliable rainfall, Redlands attracts not just Queensland Government scientists, but also tertiary and private sector partners including the grains, legumes, horticulture   and sports turf industries,” Mr Brown said.

“There’s a huge amount of work going on at the Centre, which is currently at full capacity with projects focused on combatting fruit fly, plant disease resistance, sports turf development, converting food waste into protein products and renewable energy systems.

“Redlands Research Centre is a vital piece of infrastructure and its importance in ensuring food security and growing exports is putting our region on the National and even international stage.”

Use of the facility has increased significantly since the Palaszczuk Government was elected in 2015.

In seven years the number of external research partners working on the site has grown from five to 21 and the number of event bookings for the site has risen from 21 in 2015 to 103 over the last 12 months.

The number of DAF-led research projects on the site has grown from three to 13.

Member for Redlands Kim Richards said Redlands Research Centre meant the region played a significant role in agriscience.

“Trials led by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) are focused on reducing disease impacts and improving yields of staple crops such as capsicum, tomato, zucchini, barley, wheat and mung bean,” Ms Richards said.

“This includes trials that are part of the $19 million national, multi-agency project Area Wide Management of Vegetable Diseases: viruses and bacteria.

“This Queensland-led project is continuing its diagnoses of what causes disease outbreaks in multiple districts across Australia and is providing valuable knowledge fundamental for development of disease management strategies.

“DAF is also leading a national collaboration to better understand the seasonal cycles affecting fruit fly activity and better target outbreaks of this pest.

“This broad sweep of work is another example of the Queensland Government’s commitment to supporting agriculture as a key economic pillar and safeguarding our reputation for clean green world class produce.”

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said research was an irreplaceable part of the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to agriculture in Queensland.

“Research and extension work is at the heart of how the Palaszczuk Government supports our primary producers to be the best in the world,” Mr Furner said.

“Research like that carried out at Redlands means we can grow more, we can grow safely and we can export to the world.

“We are tackling diseases and helping to control pests that cost our farmers money and jobs.

“The Palaszczuk Government has always backed science, just as we did to save thousands of lives through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Queenslanders can be proud of what is achieved at Redlands Research Centre and all of our Department of Agriculture and Fisheries research facilities.”


Media contact:           Ron Goodman            0427 781 920



Examples of research projects:


  1. Relative durability of a range of industry-relevant timbers after 30 years in L-joint tests and evaluation of other field tests

A range of long-term timber durability field tests which run for a decade or more for durable timber species. Accelerated field tests are used to model the performance of timber products in service as building products (such as pallets, house stumps, surveyor pegs).


  1. Evaluation of Bioclay

Bioclay is a new, novel plant protection concept. Nucleic acid of a specific pathogen is coated in nanoparticles of a protective clay which protect and allow for controlled release of the nucleic acid. When this product is sprayed on plants, the specific nucleic acid prevents infection by the pathogen, providing a form of immunisation.


  1. Area wide management of vegetable diseases: bacteria and viruses

This project is a multi-state endeavour that aims to improve the capability and responsiveness of the Australian vegetable industry to manage bacterial and viral diseases. The main outcome of this project for DAF is improved capacity to identify and investigate bacterial and viral diseases of vegetable crops.


  1. Fusarium Wilt in South East Asia

The project is looking at whether certain rotation crops have a suppressive effect on Fusarium Wilt in bananas, and if the addition of various quantities of different wood chips to the soil will achieve a suppressive effect.


  1. Phenology, demography and distribution of Australia’s fruit flies

The project is a DAF led national collaboration between six State government agencies, the Queensland University of Technology and the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, under the Strengthening Australia’s Fruit Fly System Research Program. Trials are being run at Redlands Research Facility to test whether fruit fly preference and performance on host fruit changes over time.


  1. Biological control of prickly acacia

The project aims to find promising biological control agents for prickly acacia in the native range, conduct host specificity testing for promising agents from the native range in quarantine, seek approval to release host specific biological control agents, and mass rear and field release approved biological control agents in prickly acacia infested areas to reduce the impact.


  1. Resourcing, supporting, and assessing biosecurity in nursery production

This project is assessing the quality and uniformity of vegetable seedlings obtained from commercial nurseries.


  1. National barley variety disease screening - minimising the impact of major barley foliar pathogens on yield and profit

This project is assessing the susceptibility of new barley varieties to the major barley foliar pathogens.


  1. Characterisation of a carlavirus in French bean

A whitefly transmitted virus has caused damage to bean crops in southeast Queensland in several seasons since the virus was first detected in 2016. The Redlands Research Facility has been used to test commercial bean varieties for resistance.


  1. Disinfestation of viruses in seeds

Seeds imported into Australia need to be tested for a large range of exotic viruses. Seeds positive for exotic virus/es are exported or destroyed, leading to direct economic loss and potential supply constraints. Currently, supply constraints are emerging for tomato seed due to the emergence of a new, highly virulent Tobamovirus: tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV). This project aims to determine if virus infected seeds can be treated to eliminate viruses. If successful, the treatment option could be applied rapidly and cheaply offshore to greatly mitigate the risk of ToBRFV entry into Australia.


  1. Understanding the role of latency in Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) symptom expression

The project is investigating the epidemiology of BBTV to achieve better control of banana bunchy top disease and more efficient use of industry resources.