Sydney agriculture research facilities

Research facilities

Linking research with local industries and communities
Our facilities are purpose-designed with equipment and instrumentation to encourage excellence in teaching and research.

Research facilities

The big issues facing the world today – building sustainable food, water and energy supplies – will not be solved by single-focus, reductionist approaches. We need a multidisciplinary approach, in which various environmental and related specialisations can be integrated in collaborative projects that aim to find solutions to secure a sustainable future. 

Combining their respective expertise, our researchers have formed the groups that create the core research capability of our Camden Facility, based in the Centre for Carbon, Water and Food. It’s an approach we believe positions us to deliver faster, deeper and more meaningful research outcomes.

The Sydney node of the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub – Legumes for Sustainable Agriculture (LSA) is based within the Centre for Carbon, Water and Food at the Camden Campus of the University of Sydney. Led by the University of Sydney, LSA is a national research program focussed on grain legume productivity. Its research is targeted at addressing common abiotic stresses (drought, heat, salinity and flooding) that constrain Australian grain legume producers.

LSA is funded by the Australian Research Council under the Industrial Transformation Research Hub program, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, various universities (see below), state agricultural departments (NSW Government, Government of South Australia) and a private research entity, the NSW Wheat Research Foundation.

LSA is a national program with research nodes at the following universities and agencies: the University of Sydney, Australian National University, the University of Adelaide, the University of Western Australia, Flinders University of South Australia and the South Australian Research and Development Institute. We also have an external partnership with North Carolina State University.

At the University of Sydney, LSA members include Associate Professor Brent Kaiser, Director, LSA Hub; Professor Richard Trethowan, Deputy Director, LSA Hub; Professor Mark Adams; Associate Professor Margaret Barbour; Associate Professor Penny Smith; Dr Helen Bramley, ARC Future Fellow Dr Andrew Merchant; and Dr Rosalind Deaker.

Research activity involves multiple locations including the Centre for Carbon, Water and Food (Camden), Planting Breeding Institute (Cobbitty), IA Watson Grains Research Centre (Narrabri) and Australian Technology Park (Eveleigh).

The research conducted at the Plant Breeding Institute (PBI) concentrates on plant production, plant breeding and related areas. Plant breeding encompasses a wide range of skills and disciplines including molecular biology, plant pathology, agronomy and cereal chemistry. Plant production research, plant breeding research and cultivar development activities at PBI span the laboratory and field.

PBI offers plant breeding services. We have developed a range of research services that can assist any breeding company in a number of areas.

Researchers with a specific interest in sustainable ecosystems are expanding our horizons and have opened up the potential for collaborative projects with PBI. Professor Robert Park, Judith and David Coffey Chair in Sustainable Agriculture and Dr Lachlan Ingram, Senior Research Fellow in Sustainable Grasslands are leading these initiatives.

A long term project at John Bruce Pye Farm in the Camden Farms Network has also been proposed, and will enable our researchers to run farm-scale systems experiments. 

Precision agriculture offers the possibility of growing better quality crops, while optimising the use of inputs and minimising environmental impacts. It is a revolution in agriculture brought about by the application of information technology.

The University of Sydney’s Precision Agriculture Laboratory (PA Lab) was established in 2012, superseding the Australian Centre for Precision Agriculture (ACPA) which was established in 1995. The mission of the PA Lab is to provide excellence in precision agriculture science and training, leading agricultural industries to practical, sustainable precision agricultural systems.

Visit our website for more information

The Pulsford Laboratory started out as SUNFix, the Centre for Nitrogen Fixation, which had the aim of promoting research and teaching in biological nitrogen fixation.

The Pulsford Laboratory seeks mutual benefits through cooperative arrangements with researchers and teachers at national and international institutions and agencies, and with industry.

The Precision Weed Control Group’s research efforts focus on innovation in weed control towards the introduction of alternative weed control systems for Australian agriculture. Utilising new sensing technologies coupled with software developments in machine learning, the group have initiated weed recognition research for Australian weed species.

The overall objective for the Precision Weed Science Group is the development of alternate weed control technologies based on site-specific approaches. The specific research aims are:

  • Development of site-specific approaches to weed control in cropping systems
  • Identification of weed recognition techniques
  • Evaluation of weed identification and detection technology
  • Evaluation and development of alternate weed control technologies
  • Determine the efficacy of in-crop and strategic weed control technologies.


Water in Australia is a critical resource. It has historically shaped and formed the landscape and it both drives, and reacts to, more recent land use change. The Hydrology and Geo-Information Sciences Laboratory (HGISL) combines the quantitative strengths of a group of researchers with a clear focus on modelling landscape processes in space and time. 

Our skills cover hydrological modelling, GIS and remote sensing, water quality and biology, environmental modelling, ecohydrology and statistics. 

We offer consultancy in data analysis, statistical analysis and spatial and hydrological analysis. For information, contact Associate Professor Willem Vervoort


Our aim is to quantify the natural and anthropogenic variability in time and space of landscape processes with a main focus on hydrological and rural landuse processes.

Our interest focuses on the interactions between climate, land use, soils and water in landscapes. More specifically, we are interested in the highly variable and non-linear processes. This drives the need to develop novel stochastic and hydrological simulation approaches to forecast and predict water quantity and quality, land use change and the feedbacks between water and land use.

The Sydney Institute of Agriculture has a suite of analytical instruments that are available to students and researchers for isotopic, elemental and organic compound analysis. The instruments are located at the Centre for Carbon, Water and Food, part of the Camden Campus of the University of Sydney. 

The instruments include:

  • Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (Thermo Fisher Scientific)

  • Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometer (Agilent)

  • Proton Reaction Transfer Mass Spectrometer (Ionicon)