The Agricultural Experimental Station (AES) was established in 1986 with a mission to provide quality field support and skillful expertise for the various departments in the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences in particular and the SQU in general; foster their teaching, research, extension, and community services activities while conserving and sustaining the natural resources.
The AES is situated at the north side of Sultan Qaboos University over an area of more than 70 hectares and it has grown today into a state-of-art station with integrated farming systems, fully equipped facilities, advanced infrastructure, and professional staff. The station is currently composed of 14 fields and over 33 units organized under three major sections: Plant, Animal, and Services. The AES staff consists of 41 members in various areas of expertise. These areas include: 1- Crop Production; 2- Plant Protection; 3- Greenhouse Management; 4- Landscape Horticulture; 5- Honey Production and Bee Management; 6-Fruiting Trees; 7- Animal Health; 8- Livestock Production and Management; 9- Equine Breeding and Management 10- Camel breeding and management 11- Poultry Production; 12- Aquaculture; 13- Irrigation Engineering; 14- Soil and Water Management; 15- Machinery operation, repair and fabrication; 16- Shop and Store Management. All staff undergoes extensive training both on the job and in local, regional, and international institutions and are involved in teaching, research, routine production and management operations, community services, training, and extension. As an example of staff participation, they support in the practical training of more than 20 courses and support in more than 20 research projects each semester. Staff also hold annual workshops in Bee Keeping and Ornamental Plants for general SQU staff and their families.
The AES participates in many events organized by SQU and the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences like University Open Day and Farmers Day where staff present lectures to the scientific community and to the general public on a variety of subjects disseminating the most current information attained by research conducted at the College and the AES. The station also hosts tours for school students and other groups as part of its community outreach service.
The AES, and through its activities, also generates income that goes to SQU from the sale of variety of products including dairy products, animals, Dates, Date offshoots, chickens, eggs, meat, Honey and beehives, indoor and outdoor plants, Sweet corn, Mango, Lemon, and also Manure.
The AES has plans to expand its activities and operations. Four new larger greenhouses were constructed in 2013 and a new milking parlor is in the process of being built this year to increase milk production. Proposals are now being prepared for the development of horse arena, modern poultry production, central pivot system, and hydroponics sprouting fodder production.
In the near future, and as problems become more complex and the need for multidisciplinary research becomes crucial to solve them, the AES will extend its efforts to involve faculty and staff from other departments and centers across SQU, as well as off-campus research centers, to build a powerful research unit able to provide solutions that are successful and sustainable. This will enable the AES to fulfill its vision to become the leading regional agriculture research station and a national resource center in agricultural and bioenvironmental field activities.