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 per 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 per cent of the industry’s GVP).

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


Dr Melanie Bradley
Program Manager, Research & Innovation
02 6923 6913
0407 987 738

Australian Horse Industry Council
Thoroughbred Breeders Australia
Equine Veterinarians Australia
Racing Australia

Related Publications


Equine Laminitis - Current concepts


Feeding Horses in Australia - a guide for owners and managers. (First 103 pages only available for download).


Short term and future athletic performance of critically ill equine neonate


Project Summary - Early detection of Hendra virus infection by microRNA profiling

Latest News and Events


New advisory panel announced for Australian Thoroughbred industry

The newly-formed Thoroughbred Advisory Panel will meet for the first time on 28 June 2017 and host a forum with industry and researchers to discuss research and development (R&D) opportunities for the Australian Thoroughbred industry.


Thoroughbred Breeders Australia Compulsory R&D Levy

Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) has received a letter from Jo Grainger, Assistant Secretary - Wool, Dairy, Wine, Small and Emerging Industries at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources confirming receipt of the levy submission from the Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA),noting that the Australian Government's Levy Principles and Guidelines provide for a six-week period for lodgment of objections to a levy proposal and requesting RIRDC assist the TBA to alert potential levy payers of the objection period.