DPI role in major sheep industry award

26 May 2014

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The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has congratulated the Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) and commended DPI staff for their contribution to RamSelect and Managing Scanned Ewes, two research and development programs which were major winners at the 2014 CRC Association Awards this week.

The Sheep CRC scored a prestigious CRC Star Award for high-level engagement with small and medium size businesses through the success of the Managing Scanned Ewes program, and RamSelect won the award for Excellence in Innovation.

DPI sheep industries manager, Joe Sullivan, said delivery of the prize-winning programs saw a dramatic uptake of research and major improvements to industry productivity.

“Both programs were developed by the Sheep CRC and DPI with input from Sheep Genetics, Meat & Livestock Australia, Australian Wool Innovation and the private sector,” Mr Sullivan said.

“A team effort from DPI staff, Allan Casey, Chris Shands, Brent McLeod, Jim Meckiff, Tracy Lamb, Gordon Refshauge, Sue Hatcher, Geoff Casburn, Phil Graham, Trudie Atkinson and Ashley White, and the Sheep CRC put the programs in action.

“RamSelect’s hands-on approach allows producers to use Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) to select the best rams for their breeding goals and production systems.

“Producers learn to use visual, structural and measured traits, known as ASBVs, to select rams that will help maximise genetic gain and increase profit from wool and meat businesses.”

The program has delivered 73 workshops to 1389 participants, including ram breeders and buyers, rural agents and students; and led by Allan Casey, has trained a network of 31 industry service providers across Australia to deliver the program into the future.

Managing Scanned Ewes, led by former DPI livestock officer Chris Shands, received the CRC award after delivering 88 pregnancy scanning workshops to 1800 sheep producers.

An estimated 30 per cent of flocks are now pregnancy scanned and improved use of this data has produced 500,000 lambs born per year, which translates to a 15 per cent increase in reproduction efficiency.

Both programs have delivered significant industry impact through effective collaboration between public sector specialists and private sector service providers to create a platform for sharing knowledge with and between producers.

Investing in the development of private sector service providers is a long-term Sheep CRC strategy and highly sustainable as those businesses play an increasingly important role in the implementation of agricultural innovation, available online

Media contact: Lyndall Hilder 6391 3686, 0409 383 423