WA Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan announced a $900,000 boost for research facilities at Katanning to support the Western Australian sheep industry.
The investment, detailed at leading industry event LambEx, will underpin the development of a feed efficiency shed to help drive on-farm production gains.
Measurement of feed efficiency – the amount of feed required per kilogram of weight gain – has been used extensively in the pig and poultry industries to reduce costs but limited work on this has been done in sheep.
The proposed facility will allow the feed intake of individual animals to be measured automatically, leading to assessments of feed efficiency.
Increased feed efficiency is a key factor in improving production and profitability of grain finished lamb and sheep meat.
The new research will utilise one of Australia’s two National Genetic Resource Flocks to identify genetic markers, to enable sheep breeders to select for feed efficiency in their flocks.
It will be complemented by existing WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development facilities at Katanning, including the DEXA x-ray machine used to examine muscle and fat composition in sheep.
Source: WA Government