Producer consultation guides $9.5m in on-farm research

Livestock producers, through consultation with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), have directly influenced the investment of $9.5 million of levy funds into 12 new research, development and adoption (RD&A) projects aimed at building the prosperity of the sheepmeat and grassfed beef sectors.

The projects address key industry priorities that fit within three themes: whole farm breeder productivity systems; future feedbase scenarios; and profitable and efficient ruminant nutrition.

The priority areas were determined by producers through MLA’s regional consultation process, which involves 18 regional committees and the North Australia Beef Research Council (NABRC), the Southern Australia Meat Research Council (SAMRC), and the Western Australia Livestock Research Council (WALRC).

MLA’s General Manager – Producer Consultation and Adoption, Michael Crowley, said the 12 successful RD&A projects were the result of an extensive consultation and selection process.

“MLA doesn’t make decisions about levy investment in isolation. Once the priority areas for 2017/18 were determined via regional consultation, MLA’s annual call sought preliminary RD&A proposals and this attracted 149 preliminary proposals,” Mr Crowley said.

“After review by Northern, Southern and Western Producer Panels and MLA, 24 preliminary proposals were found to best address the 2017/18 RD&A priorities, describe producer benefits at a regional and national level, and cost-effectively outline ways to deliver on industry RD&A plans.

“The full proposals were subsequently assessed by an independent panel of technical experts, chaired by internationally-renowned livestock researcher Professor Alan Bell.

“After expert review, the full proposals were re-assessed by the Red Meat Panel who recommend the highest quality, highest impact projects for MLA to fund, in 2017 recommending 12 projects.”

The Red Meat Panel consists of the Chair and a producer member from NABRC and SAMRC, two producer members of WALRC, a representative from Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) and Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) and two MLA General Managers.

The 12 RD&A projects endorsed for 2017/18 include:

  • New approaches to increase the weaning rate of the national sheep-flock
  • Improving beef production through management of plant toxins
  • Feeding Leucaena to manage the rumen for maximum beef profit
  • Grazing strategies and tools to improve profitability and land condition
  • Development of a single shot immunocontraceptive vaccine for cattle
  • Maximising the value of existing technology for sheep producers
  • Reducing foetal and lamb losses in young ewes
  • Managing fecund flocks to improve survival of triplet dams and their lambs
  • Boosting lamb survival by supplementing ewes with vitamins and minerals
  • The gateway to selecting for nutrient efficient livestock – “Better Doers”
  • “The Sweet Spot”: Improving breeder herd performance through optimal pasture utilisation
  • Grazing with Self Herding to improve breeder nutrition and reproduction.

Source: MLA

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