Build sheep capacity to meet demand: DAFWA

Stories by Bob GarnantThe West Australian
DAFWA excutive director Peter Metcalfe (right,)spoke to University of WA associate director Phil Vercoe on the future of agricultural research.
Camera IconDAFWA excutive director Peter Metcalfe (right,)spoke to University of WA associate director Phil Vercoe on the future of agricultural research. Credit: Bob Garnant

With improved seasonal conditions combined with today’s innovative tech-nologies, the call was for producers to lift sheep numbers at the Department of Agriculture and Food WA’s Sheep Industry Research Open Day in Katanning last week.

Latest flock projections from the department estimated the WA sheep flock may close the 2016-17 financial year at just 12.9 million, a year-on-year decrease of 10 per cent.

DAFWA executive director Peter Metcalfe said increased demand for WA’s sheep products would provide sustainability and allow a doubling of sheep numbers by 2025.

“DAFWA will assist in economic development with a focus on science in the sheep sector,” he said.

“We are having positive discussions with the new State Government as well as the major export companies which have the biggest impact on building demand.

“Information from reports on what Asia wants has assisted in defining the competitive advantage and we are sharing this with the export companies.

“At the farm level, infrastructure is being readied to relay the most comprehensive weather report, however the challenge remains for key digital pathways.”

DAFWA director of sheep industry development Bruce Mullan welcomed a 200-strong crowd to the open day, saying the WA sheep meat and wool industry was worth more than $1.1 billion a year.

“Events like today are focused on building industry capacity to help sheep producers deliver the volume and quality of products required by new and existing markets,” he said.

“Research into areas that can increase productivity from the same or a larger base flock, and investment in new technologies ... are an essential part of growing the WA sheep industry.”

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