Livestock genetics research set for new era of coordination

James Nason, 10/08/2016
Sam Gill at ABRI forum Bris Aug 2016

Sam Gill speaking at the ARCBA forum in Brisbane last week.

Livestock genetic research in Australia should be more coordinated in future under the soon to be launched National Livestock Genetics Consortium.

Two years in the making, the consortium is being developed to try to bring everyone working in livestock genetic research in Australia into the same tent and working towards the same goals.

For several years the Beef Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) brought coordination and collaboration to beef cattle genetics research in Australia, and meant that for every levy dollar invested by producers, another $5-$6 was brought in from other areas, adding significant horsepower to the research.

However the Beef CRC ended four years ago, leaving a big gap in beef genetics research, development and adoption coordination. A lot of research is now being conducted in isolation, and  lacks the leveraged capacity of before.

The consortium is also aimed at removing a lot of the duplication and overlap that occurs between genetics research in the cattle and sheep industry, by taking a whole-of-livestock sector focus.

The National Livestock Genetics Consortium will also reflect the shift from commodity-based product and into “value-chain thinking” and increasing focus on brands, MLA beef genetics manager Sam Gill said.

“Genetics is the starting point of the whole value chain,” Mr Gill said.

“The first decision that gets made in terms of what a product will be, how good that product is, where it fits, comes from genetics.”

The development of the National Livestock Genetics Consortium so far has involved a two-year process of industry discussions and workshops.

An industry group is now working on an implementation plan, with a draft due to be circulated for comment to co-investors on August 14.



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