Lamb Production

WA’s Murdoch University researchers star at Polish symposium

Sheep Central November 7, 2016
Sheep CRC CEO James Rowe presenting to university students.

Sheep CRC CEO James Rowe presenting to university students.

THE sheep research credibility of Western Australia’s Murdoch University’s received a boost at the recent International Symposium on Energy and Protein Metabolism and Nutrition in Krakow, Poland.

Five Murdoch University scientists were recently chosen to deliver oral presentations, all linked to research they are conducting through the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC), at the symposium.

The Sheep CRC said the scientists success is proving to be an inspiration to 20 young post-graduate students, whose studies are sponsored by industry bodies Australian Pork Ltd, Meat and Livestock Australia, and the Sheep CRC, who are undertaking an intensive training course in Sydney.

Sheep CRC chief executive James Rowe said it was highly unusual for an international conference to feature such a large representation from a single organisation, and it was a testament to the quality of training they had received.

“The team from Murdoch submitted five research papers to the symposium and all five were accepted and their authors offered speaking spots, an honour reserved for only the best of the submissions.

“This really highlights the international quality of the research they are undertaking, and the value that the CRC’s Information Nucleus program continues to deliver to industry through our ongoing research activities,” Professor Rowe said.

The International Symposium on Energy and Protein Metabolism and Nutrition is only held once every three years and brings together the world’s leading researchers in the field of energy and protein metabolism in production animals.

The five papers presented were:

  • Dr Fiona Anderson: Using computed tomography to assess the distribution of fat in the lamb carcass
  • Dr Khama Kelman: Production factors can have a larger impact on lamb growth than genetics.
  • Ms Sarah Stewart: How growth breeding values in Merino lambs can be depressed by poor nutrition and other environmental factors
  • Associate Professor David Miller: The effect of altering the starch and fat content of the diet on fertility in breeding ewe lambs
  • Associate Professor Graham Gardner: Intramuscular fat content of the loin as a predictor of its content in other muscles.

Dr Gardner also leads the Sheep CRC’s post-graduate training program, which provides young scientists with professional development in the areas of research, scientific writing and public communication, which ensures they are ready to perform on the world stage.

The current crop of the red meat industry’s post-graduate trainees have this week received guidance from a range of industry leaders including the Sheep CRC’s Prof. Rowe, CRC Meat Program leader Professor Dave Pethick, and Commercialisation Manager David Faulkner.

Mr Faulkner trained the students on job interview preparation, presentation methods, and communicating research and its relevance to accelerate commercialisation.

Graduate tracking surveys completed between 2009 and 2013 demonstrated that over 70 percent of postgraduates have since found employment directly within the sheep and cattle industries, and that 90pc had been retained more broadly within agriculture.

•    More information on applying for Sheep CRC sponsored post-graduate training positions is available at

Source: SheepCRC.


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