SHEEP wellbeing and productivity research at the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation will be led by livestock scientist and consultant, Dr Lewis Kahn, with the retirement of program leader Professor Geoff Hinch.
Sheep CRC chief executive officer James Rowe said Professor Hinch had made an immense contribution to the industry over a career spanning 35 years.
“In his time working with the Sheep CRC, Geoff has been a leader in the applied sciences of animal behaviour and welfare, as well as animal reproduction.
“It is with both sadness and gratitude that we wish him farewell and all the best in his retirement,” Professor Rowe said.
He said the Sheep CRC was fortunate to have a smooth transition plan in place with Dr Kahn a proven hand in delivering programs which enhance the health and performance of sheep in his years as executive officer of the ParaBoss program. Click here to get Sheep Central story links sent to your email inbox.
Professor Hinch’s involvement in CRC activities dates back to the 1990s when he was involved with the CRC for Premium Quality Wool, before holding roles with all three Sheep CRC’s as well as the Poultry CRC and the Spatial Innovation CRC.
Throughout this period he has also held the positions of deputy head and later head of the University of New England’s School of Rural Science and Agriculture.
Originally from a farm at Yerong Creek, NSW, Prof. Hinch chose to take his undergraduate studies at the UNE as it allowed him to pursue a career in agricultural science without moving to a metropolitan university.
“I didn’t necessarily want to go back to the farm, but I wanted to maintain a connection to agriculture and from there my career just evolved,” he said.
He completed a PhD at UNE in the area of cattle behaviour and meat quality, before taking a full time research role with the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries investigating high fecundity sheep – a move which brought the realisation that he would find a return to academia and teaching at UNE a more rewarding career path.
Professor Hinch planned to continue to contribute to the development of young researchers as an academic supervisor. He is presently principal or co-supervisor of two Masters and six PhD students covering aspects of animal welfare and behaviour, and reproductive management.
Dr Kahn will take over the role of the Sheep CRC’s Program Leader for Animal Wellbeing and Productivity from January 1. He will co-ordinate a number of projects, including the development of a web-based app that integrates detailed data about a farmer’s livestock, pastures, and genetics to predict opportunities and threats to individual farm operations from the weather, pests or disease.
The program also includes research projects developing the use of video image analysis to identify behavioural change associated with illness and the automated measurement of body condition. The program is also investigating wool cortisol as an indicator of animal stress with the potential to be used in genetic selection of animals that are well adapted to their environment.
Dr Kahn will continue in his role as executive officer of the ParaBoss program, but said he wanted to bring to bear a track record of delivery, including developing new practices that provide value to industry.
“I would like the app that is under development to be something that people will use and say, ‘Wow, that is really useful information that I can use to put me on the front foot in managing my business.’”
- More information is available at www.sheepcrc.org.au.
- Source: Sheep CRC.