A MAJOR collaborative research partnership aimed at lifting the productivity of Australia’s livestock industry has been expanded – with the potential for up to $50 million worth of projects over the next five years.
The Livestock Productivity Partnership was initially announced in February between MLA Donor Company and NSW Department of Primary Industries and featured a $17.5 million commitment from NSW DPI over five years, to be matched through MDC, for research projects that address key red meat and livestock priorities.
The LPP has now been expanded with the addition of research partners the University of New England and CSIRO, with the potential for more partners to join.
The MDC Board recently approved the LPP Strategic Plan as well as co-investment for the partnership of up to $50 million over five years, with 50pc of funds coming via MDC.
The LPP aims to develop and demonstrate, by 2022, region- and system-specific feedbase options, new animal phenotyping and farm management tools with quantified potential to reduce the cost of production ($/kg liveweight) in commercial grazing enterprises in the improved pasture regions of NSW and southern/central Queensland by at least 5pc in real terms.
MDC chief executive Christine Pitt said $6.5 million had been committed to commence the first set of LPP projects.
The LPP would provide a vibrant, collaborative environment that will leverage the expertise, reach and depth of the partners to advance research to improve productivity for the red meat industry. It will also foster early career researchers and help build long-term capacity for the industry, Dr Pitt said.
“LPP will focus on research that addresses key industry challenges and the early development of viable commercialisation and adoption models. This collaborative model of engagement with universities, other research providers and state departments is a key focus for MDC and we’d like to encourage more of these types of partnerships.”
Dr Pitt said the LPP would complement and extend MLA industry-funded investments in livestock productivity RD&A, without duplicating the work being undertaken in those projects and is closely aligned to the Meat Industry Strategic Plan 2020 and R&D priorities identified by the Southern Australia Meat Research Council (SAMRC) and North Australia Beef Research Council (NABRC).
NSW DPI director general Scott Hansen welcomed the additional partners to the LPP while reaffirming NSW DPI’s commitment over five years.
“This is a pivotal investment that will boost the sheep and cattle industries, which have been key contributors to the record-breaking returns for the primary industry sector in 2016-17,” Mr Hansen said.
“Sustaining these returns over a long period benefits not only producers, but people working throughout the processing chains and in local regional communities.”
The LPP Management Committee has now been formed to steer the partnership and an interim program leader, Dr Ian Johnson, appointed. A search has commenced for a full-time coordinator.
The committee said benefits will arise from the LPP through the sharing of skills, infrastructure, assets and research data.
“The alignment of expertise, data and resources provides an ideal springboard for accelerated research, development and adoption, and has the potential to bring transformational change to the industry,” the committee representatives said.
Producer Feedback Forum for Northern NSW red meat producers
Meanwhile, northern NSW red meat producers are invited to a feedback forum next week to review existing research, development and adoption priorities for the region.
The forum in Armidale on 21 November being hosted by the Northern NSW regional committee of the Southern Australia Meat Research Council (SAMRC) will allow producers to provide direct feedback on the existing RD&A priorities for the Northern NSW region and nominate other priorities to be considered by the committee.
SAMRC is an independent incorporated group which has members who are sheep and grass fed beef producers, MLA, CSIRO, universities, State agricultural agencies and LLS in NSW.
The Northern NSW regional committee consists of seven producer representatives plus representatives of the SAMRC stakeholders.
Committee chair Tom Amey said the contribution of individual producers to the regional consultation model is valuable to the process of RD&A priority setting.
Mr Amey said the producer forum at Armidale was a special event and has a particular focus in engaging younger producers in RD&A consultation.
“Throughout the whole agricultural sector we need to encourage and support our young producers to be involved in setting the priorities and future direction of our industry,” Mr Amey said.
Participants at the forum will have the opportunity to give feedback to the Northern NSW regional committee which then feeds to the SAMRC priorities and the terms of reference for the annual project call.
The forum will also feature a special collection of presentations from participants in the Livestock Productivity Partnership (LPP) – a collaboration involving NSW DPI, CSIRO, UNE and MLA Donor Company to invest in research projects that focus on red meat industry priorities. Research projects ready to begin and others in the planning phase will be presented.
The producers at the forum will be asked to give input into how the RD&A investment from the LPP can be presented in a manner that helps producers turn them into outcomes, such as increased profit and enhanced productivity.
Producers are invited to attend and share their issues around RD&A investment and hear updates on the latest RD&A programs. There will be a small charge of $10 to cover catering costs.
- Click here to register.