Murdoch students put theory to practice

Murdoch students put theory to practice
Farm Weekly,                                              Perth 05 Sep 2013
    LAST week 21 of the brightest third year Animal Science students from Murdoch University learnt how to put theory into practice.
The students participated in a five-day tour of agricultural enterprises in the Great Southern.
During the week the students visited a mixture of beef cattle, prime lamb, wool, pig, chicken and dairy production enterprises between Narrogin and Denmark.
In doing so, they had the opportunity to learn from some of the State’s most progressive producers.
The industry tour was essential for the students as they experienced the latest ideas and technology as it applies in a commercial setting according to Associate Professor of Animal Production Science Dr Andrew Thompson.
The industry tour was supported by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and the Murdoch University Veterinary Trust.
All 21 students also received a scholarship from Australian Beef Industry Foundation (ABIF) to assist them in making this tour a reality.
“Our agricultural sector and “Our agricultural sector and Murdoch University is extremely fortunate to have these organisations with a vision for the future and an understanding of the importance of the next generation of animal science graduates,” Dr Thompson.
He said keeping students at the forefront of new developments in agriculture and assisting producers to maintain a sustainable level of profit was paramount.
Some very strong messages rang out time after time to the rang out time after time to the students.
One of those, supported by Koojan Hills Angus stud principal Lew Smit, Kojonup, was the need for an efficient animal with rapid early life growth and a moderate mature weight, as the cost of supplementary feeding is significant every summer and made worse by large inefficient cattle.
Mr Smit urged the students to take a scientific approach to producing beef and utilise the power of Estimated Breeding power of Estimated Breeding Values to assist the selection of genetically superior cattle.
This message was again reiterated by Bill and Geoff Sandilands, Billandri Poll Merino stud, Kendenup, who told students to use Merino Select Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) to advance the genetic and phenotypic improvement of target traits.
Mr Sandilands also said that ASBVs were fantastic for identifying animals which are
curve benders’ and uncouple normally negative correlations between traits like fleece weight and fibre diameter.
More great lessons were learnt at Glenridge Park with David, Lyn and Andrew Slade.
The students witnessed a mixed beef, sheep and cropping enterprise which is managed with precision and science from the soils through to the pastures and genetics.
Advances in efficiency and profitability through Farms, Chuckem Merinos, the WAMMCO processing plant, the new Katanning sheep sale complex, Moojepin Multipurpose Merinos, Mt Barker Free Range Chicken, Plantagenet Free Range Pork, M & C Jenkins Dairy, Summit Gelbviehs, Glenridge Park Cheviots, Border Leicesters, Greelines and Sussex, Billandri Poll Merinos, Koojan Hills Angus and Genstock Breeding Services.
innovations which reduce labour inputs and allow the mating of ewe lambs was experienced.
Third year student Laura Grubb said the industry tour was a fantastic opportunity.
“It was a much needed addition to our degree giving us a broader, more practical understanding of all production systems plus it gave us valuable contacts within the industry,” she said.
During the week the students visited Hillcroft