The Sheep Reproduction RD&E Investment Plan was developed with oversight from the Reproduction Steering Group and involved broad industry consultation with many individuals, organisations and producer groups involved in the sheepmeat and wool industries. This consultation process identified current national priority and capability in sheep reproduction RD&E, the key challenges for improving sheep reproduction and the balance of investment across various aspects of sheep reproduction RD&E, and stakeholders perceptions of the opportunities to build a collaborative national plan. In addition to the stakeholder consultation, a key feature of the process undertaken in developing this plan is the robust economic analysis of the value of improving sheep reproduction and the aspects of sheep reproduction that would be most rewarding for the industry to invest in. Furthermore a detailed rapid appraisal benefit analysis was undertaken on each of the RD&E concepts submitted by stakeholders and those concepts yielding a benefit cost ratio of more than two were consolidated to form the basis of the plan.
The proposed investment plan is defined by the four priority areas (or pillars): Conception and early embryo mortality,
Ewe and lamb survival,
Early reproductive success and weaner performance, and
Genetics and biological mechanisms.
The recommended balance of investment in strategic and applied research and industry development and extension across each of these pillars, as outlined in the framework below, will combine to deliver a 10% increase in national sheep reproduction rates in the next 5 years (2012-2017)