Commencing in the 2017-18 financial year, a new levy will support priority research, development and extension activities to address thoroughbred industry challenges and opportunities.

This levy provides greater certainty about future RD&E funding for investment in longer term projects.

Key components of the program

Along with breeding productivity and research into reducing horse diseases and parasites, the program may explore:

  • Research to reduce injury and breakdown of horses in work and training
  • Improve the safety of industry participants
  • Enhance the environmental sustainability of the industry.

About the industry

Australia has the second largest thoroughbred breeding industry in the world after the United States, with 660 stud farms across the country, predominantly in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

These stud farms supply thoroughbred horses to both the domestic and overseas markets. In the 2014–15 season, 19,368 mares were covered to produce 12,871 live foals.

Australia stages more races with more runners than most of Western Europe combined, with Australian-bred mare Winx the top-rated racehorse on turf in the world in 2017.

The thoroughbred racing industry is worth approximately $5 billion/annum to the Australian economy, and employs more than 65,000 people, particularly in rural and regional areas.


The program is funded by statutory levies paid by industry participants which are matched dollar for dollar by the Australian Government (up to 0.5%  of the industry’s GVP).

Industry Advisory Panel

AgriFutures Australia is committed to working with industry to deliver research and development outcomes. We work in partnership with advisory panels to decide on research priorities and to make investment decisions each year.

The levy will be set at a rate of $10/mare covered per season, paid by the stallion owner and $10/mare returned per season, paid by the broodmare owner.

The levy is expected to collect $400,000 from the industry per annum.

RD&E plan

AgriFutures Australia is currently developing a five-year RD&E plan for the AgriFutures™ Thoroughbred Horses Program.

AgriFutures Australia has undertaken R&D for the broader horse industry since 1995, and delivered valuable outcomes such as improvements in equine neonatal care​.

Program news


Annelies McGaw
Manager, Research
02 6923 6913
0407 987 738

Related Publications


Interim Thoroughbred Five Year RD&E Plan 2017 – 2022


Models that predict risk for Hendra virus transmission from flying fox to horses


Models to predict Hendra Virus Prevalence in Flying Fox Populations


Compendium of findings from the National Hendra Virus Research Program

Related Resources

Search regions suitable for thoroughbred horses

Search now

AgriFutures™ Thoroughbred Horses Program Industry Update January 2019

Project updates from our AgriFutures™ Thoroughbred Horses Program.


AgriFutures™ Thoroughbred Horses Program Industry Update November 2018

Project updates from our AgriFutures™ Thoroughbred Horses Program.


Latest News and Events


PhD students to investigate exercise and heat risk factors in Thoroughbreds

The AgriFutures™ Thoroughbred Horses Program has approved two PhD research projects that will not only support development and extension activities to address Thoroughbred industry challenges and opportunities, but create capacity building opportunities for researchers.


Thoroughbred Horses open call for researchers

As part of its commitment to thriving rural industries, AgriFutures Australia has commenced a research open call for preliminary RD&E proposals to address the priorities of the Australian thoroughbred industry.