Farmers and industry representatives chewed into fresh research from Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) at a recent meeting in Dandaragan.
The WA Livestock Research Council (WALRC) Farmer Forum hosted farmers and industry representatives from across the Northern Agricultural Region, to share ideas about livestock farming research, development and adoption, which NACC staff attended.
WALRC’s Erin Gorter introduced the council and discussed how a portion of levies from meat producers are invested in MLA-managed research and development, and marketing projects that deliver cross-sector benefits “beyond the farm gate”.
Erin’s colleague, Mary Goodacre, extended on Erin’s introduction and said that one of MLA’s priority research and development sectors is currently animal welfare, with a strong focus on cattle production.
Another hot topic for discussion at the meeting was Profitable Grazing Systems, a pilot program for longer term support and guidance from specialist coaches to identify business potential and support producers to “make on-farm changes which will drive productivity and profitability and have measurable and tangible impacts”.
The forum concluded with a small workshop which encouraged participants to write down and share their research and development concerns, priorities, and ideas with regards to the red meat industry.
Time did not allow for all of these to be shared, however Erin collected the ideas to develop and share with other NRM bodies in the region at future meetings.
So what kind of ideas were on the table?
Among the ideas that were thrown around were virtual fencing and aerial sowing of otherwise inaccessible areas. Interestingly enough, NACC’s Innovative Farming Demonstration Site project has already supported an innovative sustainable agriculture trial similar to this concept, through funding from the National Landcare Program. This trial explored establishing various types of salt-tolerant species on salt-affected areas that were inaccessible by machinery.
Opportunities to get involved
Meat producers with ideas for new research and development that would benefit animal welfare and cattle production are encouraged to submit their project ideas to MLA for consideration.
MLA is also currently taking applications for producer demonstrations sites, giving projects the opportunity to receive up to $25,000 (ex GST) over a maximum of three years.
Applications for this funding is due 10 March 2017, and more information can be found here.
According to Mary Goodacre, $9.4 million has already been allocated to 18 projects to advance research and development priorities. These projects are listed on the MLC website, which also provides further information about funding opportunities within the red meat industry.
For more information regarding the forum, or the work of WALRC, please refer to the WALRC website or contact Erin Gorter at email@example.com.