Since its inception in 1902, the SA Dept of Agriculture has delivered services to rural communities through more than 80 operational centres spanning across the state. The following link immediately below shows a table that lists the locations, functions and specific items of interest of the centres.
This information was researched and assembled by Mr Trevor Roberts who served as an administrator in the Department for more than 40 years. The information has been sourced from Departmental Annual Reports, personal communication and a range of government records. Information about these locations reveals the extraordinary extent of technical support and resources offered to communities throughout the state.
Departmental officers operating from the centres have provided regulatory, extension and applied research services to surrounding districts. They engaged with communities using personal communication, media, special workshops and field days. Of particular importance was the extensive array of “on farm” demonstration trials using networks of privately owned properties for applied research sites. Good examples are the cereal variety and potato production trials.
The functions of each centre were many and varied. Some centres were only active for a year or two to assist new primary industries or to control a new disease outbreak. Other centres had a long history covering many decades with a permanent town office and support staff. For example, the Jamestown Office has offered services covering agronomy, soil conservation, dairying, animal health, livestock production, financial planning, and support to the Agricultural Bureau and the Rural Youth Movement for more than 80 years.
The various functions delivered by each centre have been briefly described and links to more detailed articles are provided where they are available.
Included in the list of Operational Centres are the Government experimental farms and orchards (usually of not less than 500 acres) which were established in 1905 at Parafield (Adelaide plains), Murray Bridge and Kybybolite (South East), and in 1908 at Turretfield (Barossa Valley), Hackney and Blackwood (metropolitan Adelaide), Loxton and Veitch (northern Murray mallee).
These experimental farms tested the capabilities of the soil in various districts and promote practical agricultural education rather than illustrate the most expensive systems of farming that might be adopted. New grains, grasses, fodder plants and manures were also be tested on these farms.
Some of these farms were to become the Agriculture Centres of the late 20th century, and which are now managed and operated by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI).
A summary of the activities of the research centres in the SA Department of Agriculture in the 1980s is outlined in Technical Report 32, Review of Research Centres, August 1983 and can be viewed at the following.