Innovative MLA program pilots new approach to research adoption

19 May 2016

A new pilot program that focuses on key business profit drivers and lifting the productivity of red meat producers, has been flagged as a ‘potential game changer’ in its approach to on-farm adoption of research and development (R&D) outcomes.

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has launched the Profitable Grazing Systems pilot as part of a shift in the way it delivers R&D extension and adoption.

MLA’s General Manager Livestock Productivity, Dr Jane Weatherley, said the program builds on MLA’s best practice packages of information, tools and events, with a renewed focus on really supporting producers to implement changes in their on-farm management.

“While MLA has developed a range of highly effective tools and resources over the years and run workshops to help producers understand and implement those, Profitable Grazing Systems takes it to the next level through the use of specialist coaches providing longer-term support and guidance,” Dr Weatherley said.

“Beef, sheepmeat and goatmeat producers will have the opportunity to utilise this ongoing support to help them identify their business potential, build their skills and make impactful on-farm changes.

“The program will be delivered to allow flexibility in meeting producers’ regionally relevant needs. 

“The aim is for producers to measure, monitor and manage key business performance indicators and be more confident to make decisions which are informed by data they generate as part of their management systems.”

The program will focus on topics known to drive profit in red meat production, including business and people management, genetics and reproduction, feedbase, and being an effective contributor to the value chain.

The pilot runs until December and if it’s successful, a full program roll-out is scheduled for 2017.

MLA’s recent independent performance review showed there is room for improvement in the MLA investment for on-farm adoption of R&D. 

Dr Weatherley said this program is just one of the ways MLA is working with the industry to overcome the challenge.

“As an industry, adoption of R&D is too slow and not being achieved with enough of our producers. One of MLA’s key strategic objectives is to boost R&D uptake on-farm and this program aims to directly address that,” Dr Weatherley said. 

“It also aligns strongly with the Meat Industry Strategic Plan 2020 which states that we need to increase productivity gains in the red meat sector.

“In order to do that, we have to continue to build business skills throughout our industry. As the plan says, capability and profitability in the industry are intrinsically linked.

“We believe this pilot program will play a key role in achieving that goal because it is designed to give producers confidence to make informed decisions based on evidence to enhance their profitability.”

The pilot for Profitable Grazing Systems is fully booked. However, producers can register their interest in participating in the full program next year, if the pilot is successful. 

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