Research & Development

MLA is looking for sheep meat and grass-fed beef research ideas

Sheep Central, August 24, 2020

MEAT & Livestock is seeking preliminary funding proposals from researchers for on-farm research, development and adoption projects that benefit sheep meat and grass-ed beef producers.

Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) investment call is aimed at attracting projects from individuals, organisations and project teams which address the RD&A priorities identified for the sheepmeat and grassfed beef industries for 2021-22.

The priorities were determined following extensive consultation with red meat producers through MLA’s regional consultation process.

The 2021-22 priorities are:

  • Driving on-farm practice change to increase whole of life cow productivity for southern beef production systems
  • Matching feed supply in a variable landscape to a changing climate
  • A scour worm vaccine for sheep
  • Breeder herd efficiency and managing calf wastage for northern production systems (NB2 Foundation project).

MLA general manager, research, development and adoption, Michael Crowley, said researchers are encouraged to work collaboratively on project proposals and involve producers or producer groups where possible.

“This approach is part of MLA’s focus on delivering programs of work that address producer priorities and deliver greater benefits and impacts for the industry.

“The development of a vaccine against scour worms, identified as a priority by producers, would be a potential game-changer for Australian sheep producers,’ Mr Crowley said.

“Internal parasites have the costliest impact of all endemic conditions on profitable sheep production – almost the entire Australian sheep flock is challenged by infestation with scour worms.

“For southern beef producers, proposals are sought for developing and delivering extension packages that will result in improvements in reproductive performance throughout a breeder’s productive life as a result of adoption of selected management techniques,” he said.

“The productivity of the southern beef sector has the potential to improve if management strategies are put in place that concentrate on reproductive performance.

“There is a wealth of information and resources available to producers but practice change leading to improved reproductive outcomes, and the associated productivity gains, remains a significant opportunity,” Mr Crowley said.

Researchers are encouraged to develop an adoption pathway within proposed projects suitable for the research outputs. This may consider, but not be limited to MLA adoption programs as described in Appendix 1 – ‘Guidelines to developing an adoption pathway for annual call RD&A projects’, such as integrated R&D Producer Demonstration Sites (PDS) or Profitable Grazing Systems (PGS).

A request for tender based on the 2021-22 RD&A priorities for sheep meat and grass-fed beef and a MLA preliminary proposal template are available to download from the MLA website.

Preliminary proposals should be submitted electronically in Microsoft Word format to MLA at projectcall@mla.com.au before 11.59pm AEDT, Friday, 2 October 2020.

“Looking at northern beef production systems, proposals are sought through a specific and separate tender process for RD&A activities that directly align with the development of the Northern Breeding Business (NB2) strategic research partnership, which came out MLA’s 2019-20 investment call,” Mr Crowley said.

A request for tender for preliminary proposals to address breeder herd efficiency and managing calf wastage for northern production systems and a MLA preliminary proposal template are available to download from the MLA website. Preliminary proposals must be received by MLA before 11.59pm (NSW time) Monday, 14 September 2020.

For further information, please contact the MLA Consultation Program Manager, Hayley Robinson, hrobinson@mla.com.au or 0439 337 925.

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