Department of Agriculture publications and reports

Since its inception, the Department of Agriculture has published a wide range of publication series or types to record and deliver information to its diverse range of clients and the wider community. These publication types have been tailored to meet the needs of various audiences and fulfil the agency’s regulatory, research and extension roles. They vary from highly scientific reports to small simple documents with a very specific message to the general community. Some publications have been written in languages other than English to meet the special needs of particular audiences.

Publication types

The table below lists the various series or types of publications published by the Department of Agriculture since its inception. They are listed in chronological order based on their commencement date.

The table also contains information about the period of publishing, and a description of the role or purpose of the publication type. The life of each publication type or series has also been documented. Some have been short lived, some amalgamated with others, some rebadged, while others have been published over more than 90 years.

Where lists of titles for a particular publication type are available, these can be accessed by clicking on the link provided under the publication type heading.

In addition, Department of Agriculture research staff have written and published many refereed research papers over the past 100+ years. These are published in a wide array of national and international research journals rather than the Department’s internal publication series.

South Australian Journal of Agriculture

This journal was produced from the late 1800s until 1976 and was the main conduit for the dissemination of technical information to the state's farmers and agribusiness people.

The first volume of the journal was released in January 1889 and was called the Journal of the Proceedings of the Bureau of Agriculture. It contained proceedings of the Central Agricultural Bureau meetings and regional Bureau meetings as well as identifying emerging issues being experienced by farmers. The journal was produced monthly, until June 1897.

The publication was renamed the Journal of Agriculture and Industry with the first volume released on 1 August 1897. The Editor A Molineux, who at the time was the General Secretary Agricultural Bureau of SA, in his introduction wrote:

"It is usual in all new publications to give some reason for coming before the public in print. In this case the Journal of Agriculture and Industry has no apology to offer, since it is really an old friend in new dress. The fact is that the Department of Agriculture has so increased in importance that it has been deemed to be necessary to establish some ready means of inter-communication with the producers and industrialists generally..."

The new journal could be obtained by a subscription of five shillings a year, which included postage.

Molineux remained the editor until July 1902 when the Secretary for Agriculture, AJ Perkins took over the role. The title remained as the Journal of Agriculture and Industry until 1905. It is interesting to note reference in this Journal to the Department of Agriculture at this time, some years before 1904, the date considered to be the commencement of the Department. WL Summers was appointed the role of Journal Editor in mid 1904.

The contents of the journal was increasingly provided by officers of the Department of Agriculture and in February 1905 the name was changed to the Journal of Agriculture of SA. The following was included in the editorial:

As the title implies, the Journal will be the official record of the Department's work, and although the final editing and control will rest with the Secretary of Agriculture, it will nevertheless be the joint production of the officers of the Department...

The name of the Editor was not recorded until 1936, after which the Journal was edited by the following:

  • HC Pritchard, from February 1938 until September 1942
  • FD (Don) Stacy from June 1943 until August 1964. The May 1964 edition of the Journal listed the Editors as the late FD Stacy and AE Engel
  • PD Hynes was the Editor of the August 1966 edition
  • JC Skull was the Editor from August 1970 to mid 1974.

At first the new journal, published monthly, was heavily weighted towards reporting the programs and other activities of the Agricultural bureau branches and the proceeding of the Council of Agriculture. As time went by the presentation of technical and scientific material increased.

In 1919 the first paid advertisement appeared and continued thereafter in gradually increasing numbers. A wide range of farm and orchard machinery, equipment, fertilizers and other agricultural and veterinary chemicals and more general services were drawn to the attention of rural producers and their families. This would have produced a small but significant element of cost recovery for the journal, although this cannot easily be assessed because it was the custom in those days for all moneys received to be credited to the State Treasury's general revenue.

Following Don Stacey's death in 1964, the Journal continued as a monthly publication until it became quarterly in mid 1970, served by a number of editors. In 1976, in the light of changing perceptions of the communication of technology and a move to more specifically targeted publications, the Journal came to an end. This was announced by Director Agriculture and fisheries, JC McColl in the following terms:

The Journal of Agriculture was first published in 1897. For most of its life it has served the State's farmers as a source of information on technical know-how and progress. In the last five years, however, the Journal's role has been largely replaced by more specialized publications produced by the Department as well as other organizations and private business.

An examination by the department of its information and publications services has revealed that farmers and agricultural industries require a wide range of publications that are specific and available as problems arise. We are developing our services to fulfil these needs which obviously cannot be met by a quarterly publication containing a mixture of articles dealing with a variety of subjects.

Thus, with a feeling of nostalgia but a sense of realism, we announce that this is the Journal's final issue.

We would like to thank our subscribers and contributors for their support over the years. In compensation for the Journal's 1976 spring and summer issues, current subscribers will receive free between January and June of 1977 the first two issues of a new feature publication.

A comprehensive listing of all departmental publications are provided below.


Since at least as early as the turn of the 20th century the embryonic Department of Agriculture has maintained a reference library. William Angus in 1906–07 had formally referred to his organisation as the Department of Agriculture and Intelligence, explaining that the last word in that title referred to the technical library it maintained.

This library developed and grew until in Strickland's time it was supervised by an official librarian. The library held a very valuable collection of reference works and an excellent array of scientific publications relevant to agriculture. A very significant element was the collection of abstracts of scientific papers from all over the world, produced by the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau in England, especially dealing with entomology and plant pathology. The library was a valuable resource for departmental research officers and was also accessible to other organisations.

It continued in this fashion until its holdings were integrated with the University of Adelaide and CSIRO collections in the newly established Woolhouse Library, as part of the co-location process of the 1990s.

List of publications

Publication series, types or titlesDates Final number Purpose and comments
Journal of Agriculture and Industry of South Australia 1889–1907 V62 No. 3 Extension: Journal of the Bureau of Agriculture prior to the establishment of the Department of Agriculture. Published from Roseworthy Agricultural College by Molineux
Journal of Agriculture 1905–1976 Vol 79 No 2 Extension: Targeting a broad rural audience.Published monthly up to 1970, then quarterly to 1976. During its early years, the Journal of Agriculture was supplied to all Agricultural Bureau members.Later it became a subscription series. Many Journal of Agriculture articles were published as Bulletins, while many Bulletins were also reprinted as a series of articles in the Journal of Agriculture.
Department of Agriculture and PIRSA Annual Reports 1905–1976 1987– onwards ongoing Annual Report: Formally advising Parliament and the public of the agencies activities. Annual reports were not published between 1976 and 1987.
Bulletins – Series 1Bulletins – Series 2 1905–1969 1972–1998 No 481 1/98


Detailed articles on a range of topics of relevance to farmers and technicians; including photos. The initial series published between 1905 and 1969 used a simple numbering system. The subsequent bulletin series published between 1972 and 1998 used a Bulletin number plus year numbering system. Click on the Bulletin link for a full list of topics, authors and publishing dates for the 1905 to 1969 series. The Bulletin series is further complimented by the Extension Bulletin and Special Bulletin series shown below.



No 4057


Two pages of simple technical information on specific topics of relevance to South Australian Agriculture. Often consisted of reprinted articles from the Journal of Agriculture. From 1975 Fact Sheets replaced the Leaflet Series.

Horticulture Spray Charts




Annual charts providing pest and disease management programs for various fruit crops and grape vines for the Cool Climate (Adelaide Hills) and warm climate (Riverland) districts. To handle the growing complexity of using IPM, in 1988 the Spray Charts were replaced with a comprehensive book, “Pest and Disease Control Handbook – pome fruit, stone fruit and berry fruit”, which was updated every 2-3 years.

Weed Control Notes


No Series numbers


A series of leaflets each dealing with an agricultural pest plant under the Weeds Act (S.A.), 1956-1969. Later issued with the title Pest Plant Notes, by the Pest Plants Commission, South Australia, under the Pest Plants Act (S.A.), 1975

Experimental Record

Agricultural Record




V13, No18


Contains refereed biological, economic, and sociological scientific papers not published in other publicly accessible scientific journals.

Experimental Record was renamed Agricultural Record in 1974 and published approximately every 6 months. After 1986, researchers were encouraged to publish research papers in national and international research journals.

Soil Conservation Reports


Branch Report No S1/82

Research & Extension:

A series of 206reports prepared by Soil Conservation Branch officers. Major topics include local soil surveys, land and vegetation descriptions, evaluation of soil fertility matters, soil conversation techniques, overseas study tours, and irrigation and salinity management. The series also contained and additional 6 Special Land Descriptions, 17 Specific Land Use Surveys, and a Land Description.

Horticulture Branch Research reports


Variable numbering system

Applied Research& Extension:

Published annually over 10 years between 1967 and 1977, these reports assembled results and information about the numerous research and demonstration projects, surveys, study tours being conducted by Horticulture Branch research officers. The series comprising approximately 290.

Project report grouping varied from year to year and used both crop and topic categories. Some of the common categories for grouping included citrus, stonefruit, pomefruit, viticulture, vegetables and potatoes, crop physiology, fruit packaging/storage, entomology and plant pathology headings.

From 1981 to 1984, Horticulture Branch Research Reports were combined with Agronomy Branch Research Reports and published as the Plant Industry Division report.

Special Bulletin


No 3/76


A series of specialised bulletins using a publication number plus year numbering system. More than 60 Special Bulletins were published during the 8 year life.

Agronomy Branch Reports


No 112

Applied Research & Extension:

An internal Agronomy Branch series of publications for circulation to agronomists, researchers, and service personnel working with grains, herbage and seed industries. The series contains a wide array of information including research reports, conference proceedings, seasonal reports, study tours and surveys.

Extension Bulletin


No 21/76


Detailed series of small topical articles relevant to farmers and technicians. They use a publication number plus year numbering system. A total of 215 extension bulletins were published. Generally they are smaller documents than Bulletins. Includes the quarterly Rural Market Outlook series.

Livestock Branch/Animal Industry Division Technical Information Circulars



Applied Research & Extension:

From 1970 to 1981 the Department of Agriculture (to 1975) and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (1975–1979) Livestock Branch issued a series of 58 Information Circulars. These contain a wide range of research, extension and study reports associated with livestock breeding, feeding, and industry development.

After 1981, livestock research papers were published in a broad range of national and international refereed scientific journals.

Farming Forum


V18 No. 1


Produced by Economics Branch targeting farm management and farm decision making topics. Merged with Farm Management Society Journal from 1990 to 1994

Fact Sheets

1975 onward



Simple, mostly single page handouts on specific topics on a wide range of farming, horticulture and general agricultural topics.

Prime Notes was a searchable CD containing all of the fact sheets published by state and national agriculture agencies. It was published every 6 months under a national agreement by Qld DPI with support from all states from 1996 to 2006. PIRSA assisted with disk formatting and layout of these CD’s.

Farm Costs and Returns


12 (annual)


Farm management decision & planning tool. Published annually in conjunction with the Stock Journal for cereal and livestock enterprises, it provides an array of information about input and operating costs to assist budgeting. A similar Horticulture Costs and Returns was produced in conjunction with the Murray Pioneer newspaper.

Northern Cattlemen’s News

1975 onward

Current with different name


A publication servicing landholders in the pastoral areas.It was subsequently published under various names including “On The Run” (sheep focus) (August 1988-94) and “Across The Myalls” (cattle focus). It is currently published as “Across the Outback” for all agencies delivering services in the pastoral areas.

Cereal Weed Spraying Chart




An annual wall chart showing the range of weeds that will be controlled by various herbicides registered for use on different cereal crops.

Market Development Papers


No 14


Series of comprehensive booklets on specific industry development opportunities.

Pig Industry News



Vol. 98


A long running extension newsletter targeting pig producers and industry leaders.

Plant Industry Division Reports


No. 15

Applied Research & Extension (internal):

After merger of the Agronomy Branch and Horticulture Branch to form Plant Industry Division, this group published its annual reports, workshop proceedings and industry studies in the Plant Industry Division. This numbered report series was published between 1981 and 1984.

Technical Reports


No 275

Applied Research & Extension:

Technical Reports are a series of comprehensive and descriptive reports on a wide range of research and extensions topics.Target audience is people servicing agricultural industries (In house with limited refereeing). Click on the technical reports link for a full list of topics and authors.

Technical reports cover a vast array of topics and contain information about specific research projects, surveys, study tours, training material,conference proceedings, and investigations into the performance of industry projects.

Technical Papers


No 39

Applied Research & Extension:

Technical Papers are a series of descriptive reports about a wide array of topics on specific research projects, surveys, or studies. Technical Papers are generally a smaller document than a Technical Report.

Pulse (& Canola) Weed Spraying Chart




An annual wall chart showing the range of weeds that will be controlled by the various herbicides registered for use on different pulse (and canola) crops.

Publications Lists

Dec 1976–1997


Published quarterly listing the publications. Includes order forms for subscribers and prices.

Farming Forum Nov 1973 – Dec 1981 Quarterly

The first issue of Farming Forum was published in November 1973. Subsequent issues were produced quarterly until December 1981.

Copies of publications

For many years the Department of Agriculture ran its own library located in its head office. In 1995 the Department of Agriculture/PISA/PIRSA library was amalgamated with the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus library and all publications moved to the Waite to be housed in a new purpose built building (Woolhouse Library).

It has not been possible to list where each publication can be sourced as complete sets are rarely available at the one site. Individual publications can generally be sourced at one of the following libraries or storage sites:

  • Barr Smith Library Waite – University of Adelaide Waite Campus (Woolhouse Library)
  • Barr Smith Library - Roseworthy Campus
  • State Library
  • State Archives
  • Trove (National Library of Australia)

Some publications have been digitised and can be searched for via the University of Adelaide Library.

About the authors

This information about the range of publications published by the SA Department of Agriculture/PISA/PIRSA was prepared by members of the History of Agriculture Working Group during 2013 and 2014. Key contributors were Arthur Tideman, Bill Giles, Barry Philp, Phil Cole, Don Plowman, Tricia Fraser, and Trevor Roberts.

Page Last Reviewed: 01 Mar 2018
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