Genetics consortium to invest $16m in new research

22 December 2016

Media release – Thursday, 22 December 2016

Genetics consortium to invest $16m in new research

An unprecedented level of investment in livestock genetics will drive the advancement of genetic gain in Australia with $16 million of new projects being approved by the MLA board following the first round of project applications through the new National Livestock Genetics Consortium (NLGC).

The Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) Board last week endorsed projects recommended by the NLGC skills-based taskforce for funding.  The MLA Board also endorsed the new structure of the NLGC.

The NLGC is as a vehicle that will increase collaboration, transparency, communication and investment in livestock genetics research, development and adoption (RD&A) in Australia. The primary aim of this initiative is to significantly increase the rate of genetic progress achieved in the sheep and beef industries.

The NLGC functions as a collaborative co-investment vehicle for new investments in genetics and genomic RD&A that will utilise MLA and MLA Donor Company (MDC) governance structures to fund, engage and oversee projects.

First round projects to receive funding address broad research areas, including:

  • A focus on genomics and further developing the ability to use DNA information to predict genetic merit
  • Developing the ability to run multibreed or composite cattle genetic evaluations
  • Improving datasets and evaluation of reproductive/fertility traits, particularly in Northern beef production systems
  • Carcase quality traits, eating quality traits and feed efficiency across beef and sheep
  • Adoption projects aimed at making genetics information easier to use

MLA General Manager – Producer Consultation & Adoption and NLGC Executive Officer, Michael Crowley said the funding of initial projects was an important step forward as the NLGC seeks to fast-track the delivery of technological advancement in genetics for Australia.

“The NLGC seeks to double the rate of genetic gain in the commercial livestock industry through investment that delivers disruptive technologies, cultural change, open data platform and world leading R&D,” Mr Crowley said.

“Following a detailed review by the NLGC skill-based taskforce, which comprises industry representatives from across a range of sectors along the value chain, these projects were recommended to the MLA and MDC Boards for funding approval.”

Mr Crowley said the projects were required to pass through the MLA internal governance process before being approved by the Board and MLA will now work with all project applicants to take projects through the contracting process in order for the work to commence in January 2017.

The new funding coupled with existing genetic investments take the total investment to $65 million. The next steps in the NLGC journey will be for the NLGC taskforce to review and approve a strategic plan and to release the next call for project submissions.

Ends

For media enquiries contact:

Josh McIntosh, MLA Media Manager, p: 0404 055 490, e: jmcintosh@mla.com.au

About MLA:

Meat & Livestock Australia Limited (MLA) delivers marketing and research and development services for Australia's cattle, sheep and goat producers, creating opportunities from their combined investments to build demand and productivity across the supply chain. Most of MLA's funding comes from transaction levies placed on the sale of livestock, with the Australian Government providing matched funding for levy investment in most R&D.

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