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Help the red meat industry achieve its genetic goals

13 December 2023

Key points:

  • MLA recently released the National Livestock Genetics Consortium Strategic Plan to 2030 and beyond.
  • The 2023/24 National Livestock Genetics Consortium Project Call for preliminary proposals is now open – the Terms of Reference and submission information are available online.
  • Get involved and contribute towards increasing the rate of genetic gain across all sectors of the red meat industry – this will ensure genetic investments are aligned to value chain outcomes and will improve commercial profitability and sustainability in our industry.
  • Submit your proposal electronically to MLA at 11:59pm, AEDT, 15 March 2024.

Applicants are invited to help propel the red meat industry closer to achieving its genetic goals by submitting preliminary proposals for the current Project Call.

Spotlight on genetic progress

The National Livestock Genetics Consortium (NLGC) was initiated in 2016 as the vehicle that drives collaboration, transparency, communication and investment in livestock genetic research, development and adoption (RD&A). Since its inception, it has reviewed and endorsed multiple current and completed projects, worth a total of $90 million in investment.

Closely aligned with industry priorities and informed by stakeholder consultation, the NLGC links genetics to the key goals of the strategic priorities outlined in Red Meat 2030. Its primary aim is to increase the rate of genetic progress achieved for traits that drive value chain productivity and sustainability in the sheep and beef industries.

Steps to success

The NLGC aims to deliver outcomes which will create lasting momentum by delivering improved rates of genetic progress of key traits that drive value chain productivity in the beef and sheep supply chains. Outcomes include:

  • An industry improvement of 2% in the rate of genetic gain annually through access to world leading genomic/genetic technologies.
  • Genetics is an established long-term enabler for achieving productivity and sustainability goals.
  • Genetic tools addressing sustainability outcomes are available to users across the supply chain.
  • Data platforms that enable genetic data to be leveraged in R&D to underpin continual data capture are established.

The following set of drivers will ensure these outcomes are achieved:

  • Enabling transparent and flexible investment.
  • Continuous improvement of world leading genetic tools.
  • Improved social, economic and environmental outcomes.
  • Delivering direct impact of genetic investment to industry through adoption.
  • Facilitating bold, collaborative and impactful RD&A.

Project Call priorities

The Project Call process aims to establish and maintain a continual cycle of project proposals and applications for consideration, reviewed and prioritised by the NLGC in alignment with priority setting for industry genetic investment.

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and the NLGC are seeking preliminary RD&A proposals from individuals, organisations or project teams with the capability to undertake RD&A activities in the Livestock Genetics sector that support genetic progress in the red meat industry.

By paying close attention to the Terms of Reference, applicants will ensure their proposals match:

  • NLGC priorities
  • NLGC Strategy to 2030
  • MLA 2025 Strategic Plan and Red Meat 2030.

Proposals should contribute to achieving the goals of the NLGC and Red Meat 2030 through one or more of the following three key R&D investment areas defined by the NLGC:

1. New models for future reference populations

Establish and apply a framework to value phenotype and genotype collection, that facilitates self-sustaining and cost-effective reference populations. This is to consider the ongoing collection for easy to measure traits, harder to measure traits and future traits of importance.

2. Accelerate the contribution of genetics towards environmental sustainability

New tools and collaborations to accelerate the contribution of genetics toward environmental sustainability. This may include new tools to fast track data collection for genetic evaluation and/or collaboration with international organisations.

3. New and novel genomic technology

Development of real-time genomic tools for genetic selection that can be value-added to provide other on-farm benefits. This may include areas relating to sustainability, welfare and disease. This could also include the validation of genomic tools that are currently available in the market.

All projects must strongly consider and address the adoption and industry application of the proposed project and detail this within the proposal.

Successful projects will be supported up to 40% through the MLA Donor Company, where there are eligible partner contributions.