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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2015 2016
16 SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2015-16 STRATEGIC ACHIEVEMENTS Sheepmeat Industry Strategic Plan 2010-2015 Review /Achievements (continued) Postgraduates in the sheep industry Strategic theme 7: ‘People and relationships’ identified that it is important to maintain adequate numbers of enthusiastic, skilled and professional people if the industry is to continue to make improvements across the production and processing sectors. There needs to be a broad range of funded postgraduate positions and that there is a career path available at the end. It is important to industry funding bodies to ensure their levy funded investment in postgraduate research and training is having long-term benefits to the industry. Initially, the rewards of their financial support can be easily identified with valuable research being conducted within CRC research programs, contributing directly to the achievement of key experimental milestones. In fact it has been estimated that postgraduate researchers deliver a considerable proportion of the CRC’s entire research output but do these graduates stay in agriculture, and in particular in the sheep industry? In 2013 Murdoch University produced a report tracking CRC post graduate students. The data collected demonstrated that the retention of graduates within the beef and sheep industries was on average 72% across all cohorts, with 62% of Sheep CRC postgraduates being retained in the sheep industry. Retention in the agricultural industry was about 92% across all postgraduate student cohorts, with over 90% of Sheep CRC students being retained within the agricultural industries. The bulk of postgraduate students are finding work as academics or research scientists directly addressing the needs of the beef and sheep industries. Dr Khama Kelman focused her PhD on lamb growth in two main areas: • What impacts lamb growth, for example birth, rear or sire type or ASBVs, and by how much in kilograms? • How increased growth impacts meat quality traits such as intramuscular fat, shear force, iron, zinc and overall liking? Specific findings from her research include: • The response to sire PWWT (Post Weaning Weight) ASBV varies between singles and multiples (weight gain due to the ASBV is greater in single than multiple born lambs). It allows producers to understand that if they are using high growth sires, the twins and triplets will not achieve the same growth in response to the ASBV as singles, so it helps moderate expectations of what can be achieved. • Growth between birth and weaning has the greatest impact on certain meat quality traits such as intramuscular fat so the nutrition provided to the lamb by the dam has a larger impact on intramuscular fat in the lamb than what the lamb eats after weaning. “The work on lamb growth is highly relevant to my new role as a Lecturer in Veterinary Anatomy at Murdoch University as it has given me a good understanding of the way in which animals grow and the changes in the tissues (bone, muscle and fat) as they grow. It will also help me as I now co-supervise two new Sheep CRC PhD students, one who will be looking into technologies to measure lean meat yield in the abattoir and another who will be looking at the factors influencing meat colour, including sheep age,” Dr Kelman said. and biosecurity communications; support jurisdictions to enhance industry capability in the event of an emergency animal disease (EAD) incursion; and work with collaborators to identify, and where necessary, update extension material for on-farm animal health, welfare and biosecurity for dissemination within the cattle and sheep industries. Improved biosecurity as well as projects on sheep health such as a review of the Ovine Johne’s Disease Management Plan, the Paraboss program and implementation of the Sheep Health Monitoring project to provide animal health feedback from abattoirs were components of Strategic theme 6: Health. During 2010-2015 the Paraboss program was further developed and kept current, providing best practice advice on worm, louse and fly management. It has been determined that Paraboss information is used by 30% of consultants to advise their clients and is actively used by 11% of producers of whom over half based management decisions on the advice they received. The benefit of Paraboss was estimated at $3.7m/year in 2014. Strategic theme 7: People and relationships had the objective of ensuring adequate numbers of competent and professional personnel remain in the sheepmeat industry. During 2010-2015 the CRC postgraduate program resulted in training 37 research specialists in PhDs or Masters, 70% of whom are expected to be retained in the sheep industries (see information box) and over 200 graduates of the CRC Graduate Certificate for consultants and advisers. The industry has also been very successful in holding biennial lamb industry conventions which have presented leading edge information and been well patronised by all sectors of the industry.