UWA & MLA ‘BeefLinks’ partnership to deliver range of projects across WA

Shannon VerhagenCountryman
Northern cattle.
Camera IconNorthern cattle. Credit: Dean Revell

An “exciting” partnership between one of the State’s leading universities and a national research body is anticipated to enhance the red meat value chain and foster prosperity and productivity within WA’s beef industry.

The recently launched four-year partnership — dubbed BeefLinks — between the University of WA and Meat & Livestock Australia through the MLA Donor Company is hoped to deliver an integrated research and practice change program.

The program has been developed to provide an understanding of the efficient use of farm resources, better use of grazing mosaics and production of cattle that reach and exceed export standards to achieve profitable, consistent and sustainable beef yields.

Part of the research and development program’s focus will also be on providing information on technology to support the interconnectivity between producers, processors and consumers.

UWA professor Phil Vercoe.
Camera IconUWA professor Phil Vercoe. Credit: Bob Garnant/Countryman, Bob Garnant Picture: Bob Garnant

UWA program lead Professor Philip Vercoe — from UWA’s Institute of Agriculture and School of Agriculture and Environment — said several research projects designed to help develop a more productive, sustainable and higher valued supply chain for northern WA were under way and he was “excited” by the partnership.

“The partnership is exciting because it is based around a model of collaboration, engagement, discussion and genuine sharing of information amongst producers, the wider industry, State Government and researchers to make faster progress towards improving both productivity and the environmental footprint of the northern beef industry,” he said.

There is a key focus on understanding more about the nutritional characteristics of the northern mosaic feedbase and how to transition animals more efficiently across different parts of the mosaic.

Professor Philip Vercoe

“Of particular interest is using the information to strengthen the existing north-south alliance and establish practices that increase productivity and improve the consistency of growth paths in cattle that transition from north to south.”

One of the projects will be the placement of a PhD student at Pardoo Station, to work with veterinarian Dr Kevin Bell, which Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association chief executive Emma White was pleased with.

It’s really important to be able to train and up skill young people and provide those career paths, and to be able to work alongside Kevin is a great mentoring and development opportunity.

Emma White

She said the Gascoyne Catchment Council, West Midlands Group and Mingenew-Irwin Group would deliver some of the other BeefLinks projects — including north-south backgrounding — which built on previous projects.

MLA productivity and animal wellbeing group manager David Beatty said the goal of the partnership was to ensure producers and industry were “an integral part” of the program.

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