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CRC extension ensure bright future for sheep industry

Posted by Bestprac on Mar 10 2014

Sheep CRC Media Release

Sheep producers can look to the future with confidence with news that the industry’s Cooperative Research Centre has secured funding for a further five years.

The Commonwealth Department of Industry has today announced that the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) has been successful in its extension application, with $15.5 million to be provided to support its activities from 2014 through to 2019.

That funding is being matched by a further $45m in cash and in-kind contributions from 35 industry and producer organisations covering the full length of the supply chain.

Sheepmeat Council of Australia board member and chair of the sheep industry’s extension application steering committee, Kate Joseph, said the commitments by the Commonwealth and the 35 industry groups would ensure the sheep industry would continue to operate at the cutting edge of research and technology.

“This is great news for the entire industry as the research program has been designed to deliver significant and on-going improvements in productivity at all levels of the supply chain,” Ms Joseph said.

“The industry is immensely grateful to the Commonwealth and all of the participating groups for backing our vision for the future, and congratulations must go to the Sheep CRC team, led by chief executive James Rowe, for bringing industry and government together in support of this exciting research agenda.”

The Sheep CRC’s research program has been built around three key areas: to enhance monitoring and management of sheep wellbeing; to introduce value-based trading of sheepmeat; and to deliver affordable DNA-based genetic tools.

“Importantly, all levels of industry have been involved in planning the proposed research and delivery program. The engagement of sheep breeders, commercial producers, processors, service providers, supermarkets and research agencies will guarantee that any new discoveries will be useful and designed for real-world application,” Ms Joseph said.

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) Managing Director Scott Hansen said the Sheep CRC would continue the technological advancement of the Australian sheepmeat industry, ensuring the industry remains world leaders in the design of new management tools, as well as best practice genetics to ensure efficient production and quality sheepmeat.

“The Sheep CRC’s planned use of full genome sequencing will lead to faster rates of genetic gain in the national sheep flock, and a greater ability to adapt to market opportunities,” Mr Hansen said.

“The CRC research program also aims to improve meat yield and eating quality, as well as create opportunities for a broader range of brands and products. 

“And the planned flock monitoring systems for use in extensive grazing systems will allow producers to make management decisions that enhance animal wellbeing, and improve flock productivity and survival rates.”

MLA is a major participant in the Sheep CRC, as well as the primary funder of the industry’s Resource Flock (formerly known as the Information Nucleus). On-going data collection from this globally unique ‘bio-bank’ of DNA samples and phenotypic measurements will be central to each of the three research programs.

The involvement of MLA, Sheep Genetics, breed societies, leading stud breeders, abattoirs and retailers in the new Sheep CRC will ensure the science is tested in real world conditions and result in rapid uptake of new tools by industry.

More information is available here.     

Last changed: Mar 11 2014



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