MLA’s investments into animal production research and development (R&D) aim to increase on-farm productivity and profitability through improved nutrition and supplementation, reproductive efficiency, fertility and calf/lamb/kid survival.
Opportunities to further increase livestock production lie in R&D investments to better understand and relieve the effects of climatic extremes, including weather events that lead to cold conditions, flooding and drought. In the north, research into providing adequate nutrition to grazing livestock using supplementation will be critical to improving animal performance.
MLA’s main R&D investments to improve cattle production include:
- improving fertility through natural and artificial breeding research
- understanding the causes of, and mitigating, calf loss
- developing novel tools for nutritional supplementation
- improving animal growth rates and reducing greenhouse gas emission intensity through adoption of leucaena and other perennial legumes
- improving ruminant production efficiency through manipulation of gut health
- utilising animal monitoring and control technologies to analyse location, bodyweight, calving and behaviours
- improving herd management by developing virtual fencing and herding technologies.
The main R&D investments to improve sheep and lamb production include:
- developing new knowledge to improve reproductive management of flocks
- understanding the causes of, and mitigating ewe and lamb mortality
- investigating new technologies and tools to support production efficiencies, supply chain integrity and welfare monitoring of sheep
- supporting the value chain through on farm initiatives that ensure continuity and consistency of supply.
The main R&D investments to improve goat production include:
- improving goat growth rates through supplementation
- population modelling to inform strategic development of the industry
- developing eating quality standards for processors and producers
- documenting the impact of kid loss and developing mitigation plans
- improving herd management in rangeland populations.
Benefits to industry
Investment in animal production R&D is designed to increased productivity and profitability across the beef, sheepmeat and goat production sectors through:
- weight gains and livestock production efficiency
- increased breeder herd/flock fertility and performance
- reducing reproductive wastage
- commercial profitability through compliance to market specifications.
- These investments are complementary to producer adoption activities that create opportunities to achieve impact and practice change.
These investments are complementary to producer adoption activities that create opportunities to achieve impact and practice change.