Future bright for agriculture after whirlwind tour

September 5, 2013

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Geoff Sandilands from Billandri Poll Merinos guides students through an assessment of ram fleece.

Murdoch University Animal Science students connected theory with hands-on industry practice on a recent five-day whirlwind tour of agricultural enterprises throughout Western Australia’s South-West.

Led by Associate Professor Andrew Thompson, the Narrogin to Denmark expedition stopped in on 15 of the State’s leading beef cattle, prime lamb, wool, pig, chicken and dairy production enterprises.

Professor Thompson said industry professionals shared the latest ideas and technologies and gave students insight into the challenges and rewards of working in a commercial setting.

Topics covered included the use of Estimated Breeding Values (EBV) for cattle and Merino Select Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs).

“Murdoch University and the agricultural sector of WA are extremely fortunate to have a supportive network of organisations with a vision for the future that are committed to nurturing the next generation of Animal Science graduates,” Professor Thompson said.

“This level of contact helps students develop their skills and link theoretical knowledge with production on the ground, and helps industry identify talent and help develop the knowledge base of future employees.”

Professor Thompson said the initiative was generously supported by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and the Murdoch University Veterinary Trust, and that all 21 students received a scholarship from Australian Beef Industry Foundation (ABIF) to assist with the tour.

Third-year student Laura Grubb said the experience was invaluable.

“The industry tour was a fantastic opportunity and a welcome addition to our degree, giving us a broader, more practical understanding of all productions systems; plus it gave us valuable contacts within the industry,” she said.

During the five days, students visited Hillcroft Farms, Chuckem Merinos, WAMMCO processing plant, the new Katanning sheep sale complex, Moojepin Multipurpose Merinos, Mt Barker Free Range Chicken, Plantagenet Free Range Pork, M & C Jenkins Dairy, Summit Gelbviehs, Genridge Park Cheviots, Border Leicester’s, Greelines and Sussex, Billandri Poll Merinos, Koojan Hills Angus and Genstock Breeding services.

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