Sweet Spot Project kicks off (gets moo-ving) across the north

Robyn Cowley, Senior Rangeland Scientist, DPIR Darwin

The Cash Cow project found that there was an opportunity to improve breeder performance in some areas of Northern Australia. Previous research has focused on disease, herd management and genetics, but little is known about how different levels of pasture utilisation impact breeder productivity. The Sweet Spot project will address this knowledge gap and find the sweet spot of pasture utilisation to ensure long term optimal breeder performance in northern Australia. The project is funded by Meat Livestock Australia (MLA) and brings together pasture and cattle scientists, and modellers from across the north. The $2M project, over four years, is led by the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources, collaborating with the Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and Department of Environment and Science.

The project will use existing breeder datasets to ask new questions, increasing the value of previously funded research.

“There is an untapped gold mine of breeder production data from sites across northern Australia. By bringing together these existing datasets we will gain new insights into how to manage breeders to improve reproduction” Dr Robyn Cowley said.

The project aims to develop tools to predict the impact of pasture utilisation on reproduction, so producers can optimise pasture use to maximise kilograms turned off, while maintaining the resource base.

The project team had their first meeting in August. The first phase of the project is searching across the north for suitable breeder datasets that can be collated and modelled.

For more information call Dr Robyn Cowley, Senior Rangeland Scientist, on 0419 829 493 and Dr Kieren McCosker, Senior Livestock Scientist, on 08 8973 9771.

Last updated: 30 April 2020

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