Murdoch wins big at agriculture youth forum

April 5, 2018

Lydia Inglis

Medal winner: Lydia Inglis is passionate about animal welfare

Murdoch University students have swept the board at the Young Professionals in Agriculture Forum, earning the top three honours for their animal science research.

Murdoch University sheep researcher Lydia Inglis took out the top prize for her Honours work examining the use of analgesics to mitigate pain following mulesing of Merino lambs. The practice of mulesing helps farmers tackle fly strike, a costly condition for the sheep industry.

Ms Inglis received the inaugural Noel Fitzpatrick Medal, named after the former Director General of the Department of Agriculture, and will be invited to represent Western Australia at a national forum in Brisbane later this year.

Second prize and best presentation was awarded to Murdoch University graduate Robin Malik. She presented on her Honours project examining the effect of breed on feed intake and feed efficiency in Merino and maternal type ewes.

Third place went to Lisa McLerie, who recently completed Honours in Animal Science at Murdoch. She presented on increasing the intake of magnesium in cattle to reduce the incidence of dark cutting, a syndrome that produces meat which is dark in colour, dry to eat, spoils quickly and has variable tenderness.

Ms Inglis said she was ecstatic and humbled by the win.

“My research project raised as many questions as it answered, but it helped us to develop reliable pain response information in lambs, which with continual refinement, will be valuable for the industry,” she said.

“I have become very invested and passionate in the field of animal welfare but keeping in mind viable options for farmers so they can be productive and welfare conscious. We all care about our animals and we want the best for them at the end of the day.

“Presenting at the Forum gave me the opportunity to talk to people from the Ag Institute Australia. They were so supportive of my passion and poured gas on the fire in my belly to be involved in the industry.”

Dean of the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences Professor Richard Harper said the successes demonstrated the strength and depth in animal science teaching and research at Murdoch University.

“Our young researchers have regularly been successful in this competition because of the high standards set by their supervisors and because they are so embedded with industry, ensuring they have an intimate knowledge of what farmers require from our research,” he said.

The annual Young Professionals in Agriculture Forum recognises the work of students who have completed an undergraduate degree at a Western Australian university. Finalists are required to submit a research paper and deliver a presentation.

The event was hosted by the Ag Institute Australia (WA Division) and supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

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