Applications are now open for individuals, organisations and project teams to submit preliminary proposals for funding to support on-farm RD&A projects that benefit sheep meat and grass-fed beef producers.
The annual MLA project call is aimed at attracting projects which address the RD&A priorities identified for the sheep meat and grass fed beef industries for 2019-20.
The priorities were determined following extensive consultation with red meat livestock producers through MLA’s regional consultation process.
The 2019-20 priorities are:
Optimisation of reproduction efficiency in sheep production systems
Autonomous on-farm data acquisition and interpretation to manage livestock productivity
Novel grazing systems
Weeds and pest management approaches to preserve the feedbase
Design and perform studies to estimate the prevalence of calf loss in southern Australia
Exploring stable tree–pasture systems in northern Australia
On-farm actions (such as herbicide and pesticide use) that can impact rhizobia
Call for expression of interest in developing a northern Australia strategic partnership to address calf loss.
MLA general manager – producer consultation and adoption, Michael Crowley, said aside from the short-term projects and reviews, the 2019-20 annual call is looking to focus on longer-term, three to five-year programs.
“The aim is to attract collaborative, multi-disciplinary and innovative programs of work, moving a step beyond the more stand-alone project focus that has been the result of previous annual calls.
“MLA is encouraging proposals that integrate solutions across sheep meat, beef productivity and feedbase productivity priorities that deliver whole-farm benefits,” Mr Crowley said.
“An emphasis has also been placed on the need for proposals to address the pathway to adoption in order to be considered for funding.
“MLA has a suite of adoption programs which could be suitable to deliver outcomes for the proposed work, including awareness through to adoption activities such as the Profitable Grazing Systems program, as well as decision support tools,” he said.
“Proposals must also engage producers from the planning and design stage, through to the implementation and delivery of the adoption actions on-farm.”
Mr Crowley said once preliminary proposals for the 2019-20 annual call have been submitted, they will be assessed by panels of northern, southern and western sheep meat and grass-fed beef producers along with MLA staff.
“Applicants meeting the selection criteria in stage one of the process are then invited to submit a full proposal,” Mr Crowley said.
“Stage two of the process will see full proposals assessed for their technical merit by an independent expert panel prior to consideration by the Red Meat Panel.”
The 2019-20 annual call Request for Tender can be downloaded here.