The 67ha field laboratory of Class 1 soil is divided into 100 rectangular plots which form the basis of the on-station research programme. Each plot measures 38 x 165m. These plots are available for any interested company to hire. This may be for critical trials, demonstration, observation, marketing and showcasing, and can range from crop varieties to machinery testing.
When a client hires a block, ART will provide complete facilities for managing the plot according to instructions, up to the data analysis and reporting. Clients may organise field days, and also have the option to present at the annual open day in March, which often has attendance of over 400 producers and affiliated individuals.
Although the research plot may contain any crop of interest, the infrastructure tends to favour row crops and horticulture. There is 1.5ha of drip irrigation over beds for the demonstration and research into horticulture.
The Trust, in cooperation with farmers, runs an off-station research programme with some 30 sites around the country for both Summer and Winter investigations. These are currently limited to crop variety trials, but may include other types of research for those interested.
By 2000, 20 years after its inception, the Agricultural Research Trust was one of the best developed institutes of its kind in Africa, if not the world. It compares very favourably with the Morley Research Centre in Norfolk, England, but is able to serve a much larger area including Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, and South Africa.