Sheep technology awarded

Researchers at NSW DPI’s Orange Agricultural Institute have received some well-deserved recognition for their work in a ground-breaking Sheep CRC project.

Researchers including Cheryl Pope, Steve Semple and Kevin Atkins received an award at the annual CRC Association’s annual Excellence in Innovation awards event in Canberra this week.

The Sheep CRC, headed by James Rowe, received the award for its developments in Precision Sheep Management.

The award winning work, largely carried out by the OAI team, offers a revolutionary approach to sheep management and has been hailed as a nationally significant innovation in the field of science and technology.

DPI researchers have established a Precision Sheep Management package of tools for graziers to help move the management of their sheep from a mob basis to an individual animal basis.

With affordable and robust technology now commercially available, it is possible for sheep producers to monitor and manage each animal in the mob according to its needs and merits, as well as the farmer’s and the market’s needs.

Professor Rowe said Precision Sheep Management extracts value from the significant variability among all sheep flocks, even within very uniform, well-bred, long-term closed flocks.

The Sheep CRC research team, led by Dr Kevin Atkins of NSW DPI in Orange, identified that variation within the QPlu$ Merino flock from Trangie (as an example) is such that the wool value per sheep ranges from over $82 for the top 25 per cent of the flock to below $40 for the bottom 25pc.

The situation for meat value is similar - ranging from $50 per head for the top 25pc to below $15 for the bottom 25pc.

More information is available at

This is a great effort - congratulations to the whole Sheep CRC team.

Greenhouse top job

Professor Annette Cowie has been appointed as the inaugural full-time director of the new National Centre for Rural Greenhouse Gas Research (NCRGGR) at Armidale.

The centre is a partnership between NSW DPI and the University of New England (UNE).

Her appointment coincides with the launch of the centre’s next $7 million phase of expansion and consolidation.

Professor Cowie will spearhead the cutting edge greenhouse gas research being undertaken at the national centre.

Professor Cowie is an international expert in greenhouse gas systems who has explored in-depth the opportunities for rural industries from emissions trading.

Her background as a senior research scientist with NSW DPI along with her strong leadership skills stand her in good stead for the new role.

The foresight of the NSW Government in creating an alliance with UNE is already bearing fruit with $7,379,000 of externally funded projects scheduled during the next three years.

Professor Cowie will take a "whole system" approach to integrating the mitigation of emissions with production in the rural landscape.