Top young WA university research graduates celebrated at agriculture forum

By Sheep Central, 26 March 2018

MURDOCH University graduate Lydia Inglis was awarded the Young Professionals in Agriculture Forum top honours for 2018 in Perth last week.

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Lydia, a student at Murdoch University, was awarded an AWET scholarship in 2017. Her thesis was supervised by Associate Professor Andrew Thompson.

Click here to read the abstract for Lydia’s thesis.

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Keynote speakers announced:

Animal Production 2018 is excited to announce four keynote speakers invited to speak on innovation, big data, heat stress and consumer demands.

The conference is on 2-4 July in Wagga Wagga NSE>

The program is taking shape! Keynote speakers join the four leading scientists we’ve already announced to present the Memorial Lectures.

Edwina Beveridge

Farmer and Innovator, NSW


Topic: Edwina will highlight the need for innovation in Australia’s livestock industries, drawing on the innovation examples in her own farm system to meet consumer needs.

Edwina and her husband own and operate Blantyre Farms, a 2,200 sow pig farm and a mixed farm of sheep, cattle and crops. In the last ten years, the pig farming operation has doubled in size, plans are underway to continue expansion. In operation for five years, a methane digestion system captures methane gas from pig manure and converts it into electricity. Blantyre also utilises other people’s food waste products for pig feed and saves thousands of tonnes of landfill.

Edwina has a commerce degree from the University of Sydney and is a former chartered accountant turned pig farmer. Edwina is on the board of Australian Pork Limited, the Deputy Chair of the NSW Farmers Pork Committee and is a member of the NSW Primary Industries Ministerial Advisory Committee. She has 3 children, is involved in her local community and is proud to be a farmer.


Dr Cameron Clark

University of Sydney


Topic: Dairy farming within boundaries: Taking away complexity whilst adding efficiency through technology

Dr Cameron Clark is enabling a step-change in livestock productivity and welfare both in Australia and internationally through novel, collaborative and interdisciplinary research. This research is changing the global focus of farming towards the individual production animal to improve efficiency and welfare by revealing the value of technology, data and associated advanced precision livestock systems. He plans to expand on this highly innovative research to link the individual production animal and farm practice with the needs of the market and in so doing, add significant value to the food produced in systems that exceed the welfare demands of society. Cameron is a senior research fellow at the University of Sydney.


Dr Jay Johnson

United States Department
of Agriculture, USA


Topic: Evaluating and mitigating the impact of heat stress on livestock well-being and productivity

Dr Jay Johnson is a Research Animal Scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in West Lafayette, Indiana specializing in Environmental Stress and Nutritional Physiology. He received his Bachelor and Masters degrees from the University of Missouri, his PhD from Iowa State University, and completed his postdoctoral training at Purdue University. The overall goal of Dr Johnson’s research program is to evaluate the impact of environmental and production stressors on livestock physiology, welfare, and metabolic health to develop management and nutritionally-based mitigation strategies that will improve animal well-being and productivity.

Specific areas of research include the effects of weaning and transport stress on the well-being of swine provided L-glutamine as an antibiotic alternative, the impact of in-utero heat stress on postnatal productivity and bioenergetics in swine, and the use of rapid versus gradual cooling after extreme heat events.


Prof Wendy Umberger

University of Adelaide, Aus


Topic: Demand for Animal Welfare and Ethical Attributes in Meat: What do consumers really value?

Professor Wendy Umberger is the Foundation Executive Director of the Centre for Global Food and Resources (GFAR) at the University of Adelaide. She was the 2016-2017 President of the Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES). She is a Fellow of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), serves on the Governance Board of the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the editorial board of Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy.

She has spoken globally on topics related to her behavioural economics research, which uses innovative methods to understand drivers and implications of changing consumer and producer behaviour on food systems. She is also studying the impact of urbanisation, modern retail transformation and development programs on food consumption patterns, diet quality and longer-run health and livelihood implications across the region, including Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Fiji. She holds a Bachelor of Animal Science (1996) and Masters in Economics (1998) from South Dakota State University and a PhD in Agricultural Economics (2001) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Wendy was raised on a beef cattle and grain farm, which is still owned and operated by her parents in South Dakota USA.

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The Trust supports 15 Undergraduate Project Scholarships per year.

These are available to suitable applicants from any University.  Each  is valued at $7,000 – with $3500 being allocated to the student and the balance to the University to fund its support for the student.

The University and the student may negotiate how these funds will be split and, consequently the split of the funds must be specified in the application.

These scholarships are available to Honours or other appropriate undergraduate students undertaking a one year research project relevant to sheep and wool. This relevance is the most significant criterion considered by the selection panel in assessing applications

Students planning appropriate Masters by Coursework studies can also apply for these scholarships.

Applications for these scholarships must be made directly to the Trust (download application form) and must be supported by an academic referee from the University at which the student is or intends to enrol (download form for academic referee’s reference).

These forms were last updated on 28th October, 2016.

Applications for 2018 scholarships close on Friday 24th November 2017.

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IWTO Channel: Published September 13, 2017

Wool is a fiber with endless possibilities. In this video you’ll discover how wool is grown and how wool products are made. You’ll learn about wool’s many natural properties such as flame resistance and breathability, and why wool is the top choice for mountain rescue teams.

You’ll also learn how wool growers and companies respect and care for the environment, producing wool sustainably and with respect for the welfare of wool sheep.

Natural, renewable and biodegradable, wool enhances our lives in so many ways. Fashion, sports and outdoor wear, bedding, carpets, medical textiles and more all benefit from the many natural benefits of wool.

This video was produced by the International Wool Textile Organisation with the support of Armadillo Merino, Woopies, Australian Wool Innovation and The Campaign for Wool.

For more information on wool, sheep, and the wool textile industry, visit

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Laurence Gatt is a student at Whitehouse Design in Melbourne.

Laurence has provided a preview of his 2017 collection, using fabrics funded by AWET’s grant. AWET has also received story boards of grant recipients from other institutions.

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Animal Production 2018 program is all about communicating leading science in improving the productivity and profitability of Australia’s livestock industries.

A key component of the conference program are four prestigous Memorial Lecture presentations. These are invite-only by the conference organising committee based on the recipient’s expertise and contribution to animal science.

We’re pleased to announce the Animal Production 2018 Memorial Lecture recipients …

Dr Fred Provenza
Utah State University, USA
Topic: How Palates Link Soil and Plants with Herbivores and Humans

Dr Fred Provenza is Professor Emeritus of Behavioral Ecology in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University. He is a pioneer in understanding foraging behaviour and how behaviour links soils and plants with herbivores and humans. For 40 years, the research undertaken by Fred’s team laid the foundation for behaviour-based management of livestock and wildlife. That work has been an inspiration to researchers in diverse disciplines, including animal behaviour and welfare, wildlife damage science and management, veterinary science, ruminant and human nutrition, chemical ecology, plant ecology and horticulture, landscape restoration ecology, and pasture and rangeland science and management.

These efforts led to the formation in 2001 of an international network of scientists and land managers from five continents, called BEHAVE – Behavioural Education for Human, Animal, Vegetation and Ecosystem Management. They seek to inspire and enable people to understand and use knowledge of behaviour to create relationships that reconcile differences of opinion about how to manage landscapes. With colleagues, he has authored over 250 publications in scientific journals and books and invited to speak at more than 400 conferences. Dr Provenza will bring his perspective on the importance of a diverse diet to animals, and consequently how this impacts on human well-being and the demand for animal-based foodstuffs.

Dr Joao Vendramini
University of Florida, USA
Topic: Concentrate Supplementation of Grazing Beef Calves: Performance and Metabolic Imprinting

Dr Joao Vendramini, Brazil, received his bachelor degree in agronomy from the University of Sao Paulo, master degree in Animal Sciences from the same institution, and PhD in Forage management in the Department of Agronomy at the University of Florida in 2005. He was assistant professor – Forage Specialist at Texas A&M University from August 2005 to August 2006 before taking his current research and extension appointments in the UF/IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center, Florida. Dr Vendramini’s program is dedicated to forage management with emphasis on sub-tropical production systems.

The major area of interest is forage-livestock interface and the impact of forage management on forage and animal production. Dr Vendramini’s research program has generated 3 book chapters; 101 refereed journal articles, 60 non-refereed technical articles, and 100+ abstracts in professional meetings. He has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on grants totaling $1.2 million and currently is the chair or co-chair on 3 graduate students committees and serving as a member of additional 3 committees. Dr Vendramini is a member of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, America Forage and Grassland Council, American Society of Animal Sciences, American Registry of Animal Science Professionals, and Florida Cattlemen’s Association.

Dr David Masters
University of Western Australia, Aus
Topic: Practical implications of mineral and vitamin imbalance in grazing sheep

Dr Masters has more than 30 years’ experience as a scientist and research leader with CSIRO, the University of Western Australia and in private industry. He has a research background in livestock systems, mineral, amino acid and protein nutrition, wool production and livestock-environment interactions. He began his career studying the requirements and utilisation of zinc during pregnancy before working more generally with cobalt, selenium and copper in grazing sheep and later in the development and effectiveness of mineral supplements for ruminants. As a leader of the Livestock Systems program within the Salinity CRC, Dr Masters initiated research into the utilisation of halophytic plants, high in sodium, potassium and chlorides for production.

This research provided the basis for rehabilitation of saline landscapes for productive agriculture in Australia and overseas. More recently he has provided scientific leadership for a national research program investigating the imbalanced intake of sodium, magnesium, potassium and calcium in pregnant sheep grazing young, vegetative crops. Dr Masters was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Society of Animal Production in 2006 and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia and an Honorary Fellow with CSIRO Agriculture.

Prof Paul Hemsworth
University of Melbourne, Aus
Topic: Key determinants of animal welfare: animal management and housing design

Prof Hemsworth is a professor at the University of Melbourne and a member of the Animal Welfare Science Centre, a joint centre of the University of Melbourne, University of Adelaide, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (Victoria), South Australian Research and Development Institute and Ohio State University. Prof Hemsworth is an agricultural graduate with a PhD in animal behaviour and physiology.

He is most recognised internationally for his research on the role of human-animal interactions on farm and companion animal welfare. Prof Hemsworth, in collaboration with numerous colleagues has studied the influence of a wide range of housing and husbandry practices on common behavioural problems and welfare risks in farm animals. Over his research career, he has published more than 200 refereed journal papers on animal behaviour and welfare. He teaches undergraduate and postgraduate subjects on animal behaviour and animal welfare at the University of Melbourne.

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Curtin Students, Emma Watson and Sophie Watson, display their collections in Beijing.

AWET provides 25 grants each year to final year fashion students to assist them to utilise wool fabrics in their final year collections. Two of these students, Emma Watson and Sophie Watson (not related), both from Curtin University in Western Australia, were invited to show their designs in a parade in Beijing.

Emma Watson

Sophie Watson

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The Australian Society of Animal Production, together with CSIRO Publishing, will prepare a special edition of Animal Production Science to be distributed at the Animal Production 2018 conference, 2-4 July 2018, in Wagga Wagga, NSW.

The first call is now open for authors to submit 300 word abstracts. These will be reviewed by the conference editorial committee and invitations will then be offered for a limited number of authors to prepare a full six page paper.

The Animal Production 2018 editorial committee will be assessing full papers and one page papers for relevance to the conference theme – Fostering innovation through the value chain – soundness and quality.

Research papers in Animal Production Science focus on improving livestock and food production, and on the social and economic issues that influence primary producers. The journal is predominantly focused on beef cattle, dairy cows, sheep, pigs, goats and poultry as well as emerging animal industries.

The full papers will follow CSIRO submission requirements with submissions made through the CSIRO’s ScholarOne Manuscripts portal.

Authors of abstracts who are not invited to submit full papers will have the option to submit one page papers through the second call for submissions.

The deadline for the first call for abstracts is 5pm (ACST), 8 September 2017.

Details: For further information on the conference and the call for abstracts visit the conference website.

Find out how to submit your abstract.

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Founder of the Hub and Spoke model retires.

Professor Cottle was an Associate Professor of Wool Science in the Department of Wool and Pastoral Science at the University of NSW in the 1990s. When the school was closed David worked five years as a member of the senior management team at the Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand.

In 2002 he was appointed Professor of Sheep and Wool Science at the University of New England, to manage the education program for the Australian Sheep Industry Cooperative Research Centre (Sheep CRC). The new Chair at UNE was jointly sponsored by the CRC itself, UNE, and the Australian Wool Wool Education Trust.

The education program developed by the CRC under Professor Cottle’s leadership was part of the CRC’s strategy to revitalise education and training for Australia’s sheep industry. A key element of the strategy was the delivery of a range of courses that accepted external enrolments from other universities, with UNE acting as the “Hub” and the other universities as the “Spokes”, thereby maximising the enrolments.

Professor Cottle gained his Doctorate at UNE. During his career he was the editor of The Australian Sheep and Wool Handbook and the Journal of Wool Technology and Sheep Breeding, two of his lasting legacies to the sheep and wool industry.

We wish him well in his retirement.

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Fostering innovation through the value chain

The 32nd Biennial Conference of the Australian Society of Animal Production, Animal Production 2018, will take place from July 2-4 at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.

The 2018 Organising Committee have commenced planning a dynamic program that will bring scientists, educators, social scientists, extension experts, consultants, consumer advocates, processors and producers together to share the latest information on all aspects of animal production.The conference tagline, fostering innovation through the value chain, will deliver a cross-species focused program sourcing international and national speakers on topics such as:
– Opportunities for innovation in animal production – a cross-species view
– Understanding the consumer: social, economic and animal welfare in animal production industries
– Mixed farming and grazing systems: integration, management, innovation
– The value of big data and its potential as a resource

Conference submissions are now being called for. The paper submission timeline has been released.

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