The PTDE was established in 1914 to identify the long term effects of fertiliser application on pasture and animal production.
The agro-ecological context of this site is a grazing system within a region of mixed farming at Rutherglen with an average 582 mm of annual rainfall. The site is located in north-eastern Victoria on the slopes of residual low hills and rises and surrounded by outwash slopes of the Riverine plains. These residual landforms are of older sedimentary origin and are separated from the Eastern Uplands.
Soil types on the slopes are generally Yellow Dermosols.
The PTDE sign at Rutherglen reads 'Permanent top dressing experiment'