To read about the program scroll down below 'Latest Updates'.
The main activity for the postgraduate project in the last quarter was the running of the Postgraduate Conference on the 4th - 7th of November. This year participants included students from Meat & Livestock Australia, Australian Meat Processor Corporation and APL/Pork CRC. As in previous years the conference was structured to simulate an international conference in animal production, providing students with fundamental experience in scientific writing in the form of a one page paper, as well as poster or seminar presentations. Student feedback following the conference has highlighted that the evaluation of the one page papers and the oral presentations by an experienced panel is one of the most useful components of the conference, particularly as each student received written feedback from each panel member for both their written and oral work.
As the panel has a broad range of backgrounds in animal production, the students were exposed to concepts in physiology and nutrition, genetic inheritance, statistical analysis and industry applicability of research outcomes. In addition to the presentation component of the conference, a two-day workshop was also held focusing on adaptation of research to increase industry adoption. This seminar was well received by all students, many of whom were being exposed to these concepts for the first time.
The Graduate Certificate in Agriculture (Agricultural Consulting) had 37 enrolments in Trimester 2 with 36 students completing the unit. The high enrolments and low attrition rate reflect a successful flow-on of students from the marketing exercise early in 2013 and success with the transfer of coordination of the units to a new University of New England Unit Coordinator in Trimester 2 (Dr Rachelle Hergenhan - previously a Sheep CRC PhD Scholar). The unit received very positive student feedback with an overall rating of 4.2/5 which is excellent.
The Education and Training program is supplying highly qualified professionals to service the shortfall in sheep industry needs and accelerate the delivery of innovation to the industry, through:
The benefit over the next 25 years is estimated to have a net present value of $6.9 million.
To find out about our training resources click here.
Student completions are occurring at a high rate, with many students joining the industry workforce in various roles.
Jessica Rickard competed in the 2013 CRC Association Postgraduate Student Competition recently. Jessica performed well but did not make it into the final six contestants but is congratulated for her excellent entry in the competition.
Ten members of the Meat & Livestock Australia professional development group attended the Lean Meat Yield and Eating Quality Field Day at the Hamilton demonstration site in May and thirteen members of the group participated in the Genetics Service Provider Training Workshop held in Melbourne in May. The group has provided very positive feedback on both events.
There were 36 enrolments in the Graduate Certificate in Agriculture (Agricultural Consulting) course in Semester 1, 2013 with 30 students being retained in the unit. The increase in enrolments indicates the success of the new marketing plan developed in consultation with UNE’s Marketing and Public Affairs section.
It was also a successful year for the the Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE) program. A great deal of exposure of students and teachers to sheep and wool science was achieved. Four out of 20 students did sheep-related projects on their week-long Industry placement, which exceeded our target of 15%. Other key activities included exposure to CRC activities and technologies during the Science Investigation awards (175 students) and Ag/Science teacher training (25 teachers).
Postgraduates - The postgraduate program has reached its full quota in terms of enrolments for PhD and Masters Programs. Most of the postgraduate students are making good progress and 2013 will see an increase in the number of completions. The process of tracking Masters and PhD students following their graduation in order to determine the careers that they move into and the impact of the CRC’s training program is underway. The Sheep CRC has worked with the Beef CRC to conduct this tracking survey every three years. Past results have indicated a retention of approximately 70% of graduates from both CRCs within agriculture and around 60% in the beef and sheep industries.
Industry Training - The scope of the Graduate Certificate in Agricultural Consulting has been expanded in 2013 to encourage students from disciplines outside the sheep industry. This advertising campaign has been effective and there has was a record intake of 39 students in Semester 1 2013. At these levels of enrolment, the course will continue to be run by the University of New England.
The PICSE program to encourage talented high school students to consider careers in agriculture was successfully completed during January 2013. The CRC’s contribution to this program enables approximately one third of the students to undertake projects related to the sheep industry and this is a good outcome for long term recruitment of high quality students into the industry.
The Postgraduate program is now fully subscribed with 37 students. Of these there are six Masters students and 31 PhDs.
The annual Postgraduate Conference and professional development program was conducted at Coffs Harbour at the end of October. This continues to be a vital component of the postgraduate training program. A new alliance has been formed with the pork industry and the Pork CRC to include their postgraduate students in the annual conference. This proved to be a success in 2012.
Numbers in the Graduate Certificate in Agriculture (Consulting) course were below target during the last two semesters. The University of New England will step up its marketing program and advertise the course for broader agricultural interests rather than restricting the promotional material to the sheep industry. The consulting units in this course are generic and therefore equally suitable for agronomists and other agricultural specialties.
Following the November round of scholarship offers, the number of postgraduate students that have accepted scholarships and commenced their studies stands at 37 as opposed to the target of 35.
The annual Sheep CRC Postgraduate Conference and professional development workshop was held at Coffs Harbour during the week commencing 29th October. A report about the conference together with photos from this conference will be included in the Summer Newsletter.
The Graduate Certificate in Agriculture (Agricultural Consulting) ran again during Trimester 1 2012 at UNE, with 19 students enrolled. Regarding the MLA professional development workshops linked to the Graduate Certificate in Agriculture, the last activity for the group was attending the LambEx Conference in June. Planning is now underway for a new activity in the coming months.
Agreement has been reached with the PICSE program on targets and reporting responsibilities for sheep and wool training, and good cooperation with the program continues.
Following the November 2011 round of scholarship offers, the number of postgraduate students that have accepted scholarships and commenced their studies stands at 37, as opposed to the target of 35. One student has rejected her scholarship offer, and the remaining one that has received an offer has indicated that they are likely to accept and will commence enrolment shortly. Of the 37, seven are masters and 30 are PhD students.
Plans are being put in place for the 2012 Sheep CRC Postgraduate Conference and professional development workshop, with dates and location still to be finalized, although the end of October at Aanuka Beach Resort in Coffs Harbour is the most likely scenario. Additional participants for this event will be sought (most likely MLA) to ensure numbers of about 30 students. The Pork CRC and Australian Pork Limited have also expressed interest in this event. This year the professional development workshop rotates back to scientific writing.
Graduate Certificate in Agriculture (Agricultural Consulting)
Trimester 1 2012 saw 19 students enrol in CSLT 501. Advertising is currently underway for Trimester 2 entry, but costs to new enrolling students will be full commercial rates as UNE has exceeded its annual quota of Commonwealth supported postgraduate coursework for 2012. It is hoped that this situation will not recur in 2013. UNE is exploring ways of taking a greater (leading) role in the promotion and branding of the Grad Cert and reducing reliance on CRC pathways.
Genetics Training Initiative
The CRC has developed a one-day ram selection workshop to provide skills development in practical ram selection using ASBVs along with visual assessment.
There is good progress in collating results from research and demonstration trials set up to evaluate “proof of profit” from using breeding values for ram selection.
A Genetic Service Providers Training Workshop was hosted by Sheep Genetics in Melbourne in May. and a Leading Breeders Forum was held during July in Victoria.
Delivery of Industry Training (June to March 2012)
For the period January to May 2012, 20,734 hours of training has been delivered to 2,010 producers and service providers across all Sheep CRC activities.
Training activities for the last three financial years totalled;
• 2009/10 – 21,486 hours to 2,308 individuals
• 2010/11 – 33,058 hours to 4,040 individuals
• 2011/12 – 31,361 hours to 3,054 individuals
In total the Sheep CRC has delivered 85,905 hours of training to 9,402 individuals since June 2009.
Following the November round of scholarship offers, the number of postgraduate students who have accepted scholarships and commenced their studies stands at 36 as opposed to the target of 35. One student has rejected her scholarship offer, and the remaining two who received offers have indicated that they are likely to accept and will commence enrolment shortly. Of the 36, seven are masters and 29 are PhD students. To read about our latest round of graduates click here.
Semester 1 2012, saw 19 students enroll in CSLT 501. This is in addition to the 22 students who enrolled in CSLT 502 in 2nd semester 2011. Of those 22 enrolments there were 19 completions. As of 2012 the course name has changed to Graduate Certificate in Agriculture (Agricultural Consulting). A transition of management and funding for course delivery to University of New England has commenced. The University of New England will only support the course if enrolment levels are maintained.
Genetics Training Initiative
The CRC is currently developing a one day ram selection workshop. This workshop will provide skills in practical ram selection using ASBVs along with visual assessment. Participants will leave the one day workshop able to describe their breeding objective and then translate that breeding objective into benchmark breeding values for ram selection. They will also understand the importance of selection based on genetic merit rather than visual traits that are impacted by environmental factors. The ram selection workshop will provide further training and support to producers who have attended a ‘Bred Well Fed Well’ workshop. A network of deliverers will be established across the country to deliver the workshop from May 2012 onwards.
For the period June 2011 to March 2012 a total of 19,723 hours of training has been delivered to 1,837 producers and service providers by the Sheep CRC.
Training activity in the previous two financial years totaled:
In total the Sheep CRC has delivered 74,267 hours of training to 8,185 individuals since June 2009.
The current number of postgraduate students that have accepted scholarships and commenced their studies stands at 31 (Table 1) with a further two still negotiating their acceptance of their scholarship offer. Assuming that these last two students accept their offer, this would bring the student intake for the postgraduate project to a total of 33 out of the 37 students targeted. From the April round of scholarship offers, five applications were received, and these are currently being assessed. It is possible that a final further round, possibly for Masters students only will need to be called.
The 5th sheep CRC postgraduate conference will be held this year from the 24th to the 28th October.
Graduate Certificate in Rural Science (Agricultural Consulting).
Enrolments in the Graduate Certificate in Rural Science (Agricultural Consulting) in Semester 1, 2011 totaled 24. Since 2009 there have been 117 enrolments in the two compulsory units, with 75 unit completions to date. There was a drop off in enrolments in the last semester, which has led to an increased effort to promote the course for Semester 2, 2011. The course is currently being promoted through paid advertising in the Rural Press and direct email to the Sheep CRC Communications database and the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (AIAST) members.
A proposal has been submitted to UNE to begin transition of the course to full UNE management and funding.
A complementary Professional Development project, funded by MLA, commenced in spring 2010. In total 21 individuals have enrolled for the course, which has delivered 3 webinars and a two day workshop for the year.
Genetics Training Initiative - available to commercial producers
The consultancy project “Communication and Skills Development Needs Analysis” was completed in early 2011. Since receiving this report there has been intensive work in Projects 5.2 and 1.1 to develop a program of activities and investment that integrates with other investments in Sheep Genetics, AWI and MLA. The objective of the CRC project is to increase the knowledge and utilisation of genetics technologies by commercial sheep producers. Projects and activities include; training of Specialist Genetic Advisors and industry influencers in genetics, development of new information and tools to support commercial producers, training and demonstration activities for commercial producers. Actual training activity is expected to commence in FY 11-12. The genetics training initiative is coordinated through Project 5.2 with activities overseen by a Steering Committee having representatives from the Sheep CRC, AWI, MLA, Sheep Genetics and the state agencies.
Industry training activities across the Sheep CRC
Managing Scanned Ewes
A total of 15 Managing Scanned Ewes workshops have been delivered nationally in the previous six months. In total, 431 producers and advisors have attended these popular events. These workshops have all been delivered by Chris Shands from NSW DPI.
Lifetime Ewe Management
Delivery of LTEM courses had continued throughout 2010/11. In addition to the 100 groups that have now completed the course, there are currently 78 groups undertaking the Year 1 course. The highest participation is in Victoria (31) and WA (23). Group formation has been very successful in Tasmania (10) and is now getting traction in NSW (6). In addition to the Year 1 groups there are 12 Year 2 groups operating in Victoria.
High Performance Weaner
The High Performance Weaner course is now available through RIST and there are 8 active groups operating in Victoria. Marketing and promotion of the course is limited to LTEM graduates that want to continue their training and group interaction.
The “Using eID in Sheep Management and Breeding” course material has been completed by RIST in collaboration with MSA. Course trainers from VIC, NSW and QLD have undertaken train-the-trainer with others to be trained in WA, SA and TAS. The course is conducted across 3 separate sessions with two deliverers and will be hosted on properties using e-ID equipment in their day to day business. The course cost will be determined by the Registered Training Organizations (RTOs) licensed to deliver the course (estimated to be at least $1500 per person) and the RTOs will be able to apply to register it for FarmReady Reimbursement Grants.
Delivery licenses have been offered to RIST (Hamilton, VIC), I&I NSW (TOCAL, NSW), Western TAFE (Dubbo, NSW) which links to the Riverina and New England TAFEs, and the CY O’Connor Institute (Northam, WA). All have expressed interest in course delivery.
A total of 40 Flystrike Management training workshops were delivered throughout the financial year. This compares favourably with a target of 30 workshops. In total 629 producers and service providers were trained in flystrike management throughout the year.
A Worm Control workshop has now been developed for the northern tablelands summer rainfall region and piloted with 45 participants in two workshops. This workshop developed by Lewis Kahn and Deb Maxwell will provide a template for national roll out of worm control workshops. For each region the workshop will be customised using specific regional worm control recommendations developed by local experts. It is proposed that the workshop be licensed to suitably qualified experts across the regions, who will then deliver the course of a fee for service basis ($150/head). This is the CRC’s first attempt at charging full cost for training delivery and evaluation of industry response and uptake of the training needs to be monitored closely.
Primary Industries Centre for Science Education (PICSE)
For the past two years, Project 5.2 has provided funding support for the PICSE initiative based at UNE. PICSE aims to increase interest in the agricultural science industry amongst secondary school students. In the past 12 months the project has undertaken the following activities;
• Showcased the careers and science supporting the sheep industry as part of presentations to 570 Year 11 and 12 science students in the region.
• Run sheep specific sessions as part of the 5-day student camp that is offered to the 20 students selected for Industry Placement Scholarships.
• Provided 2 CRC Industry Placement Scholarships in sheep projects for students participating in the student camp.
• Developed a teacher resource entitled – “Genetics in Agriculture” which includes both animal and plant genetics linked to the NSW Biology Stage 6 Syllabus.
• Provided professional development activities for science teachers that included sessions with Roger Hegarty on measuring methane emissions from sheep and cattle and using e-ID in the sheep industry.
It is envisaged that the CRC will provide funding to PICSE for one more year. During the next year, PICSE has been asked to prepare some professional development material on sheep genetics that can be provided to agriculture and science teachers.
In total, 18,171 hours of training have been delivered to 1,717 producers and service providers across all Sheep CRC activities in the previous 6 months. When added to the 14,887 hours of training delivered to 2,323 individuals in the first half of the year this delivers a total training delivery of 33,058 hours to 4,040 producers for the 2010/11 year.
The first of our CRC postgraduate students are starting to graduate and find employment in the sheep/wool or allied industries. The final round of scholarship applications in November was successful in attracting a strong field of candidates and the CRC will hit its target of 35 postgraduate scholars.
The Sheep CRC Postgraduate Conference and professional development workshop was held from 24-28 October. As well as Sheep and Beef CRC postgraduate students this year we also included student delegates from MLA, and the Pork CRC. Following the conference the professional development workshop focused on communication with the media industry.
The Graduate Certificate in Agriculture (Agricultural Consulting) continues to attract good students for the 2012 academic year.
The industry training activities are gathering momentum with Genetics training activities commencing in 2012. These will build on the two pilot workshops conducted at Armidale.during November 2011.
To find out more about our Postgraduates click here.
The current number of postgraduate students who have accepted scholarships and commenced their studies stands at 31 as opposed to the target of 35. Of these, six are masters and 25 are PhD students. A small final round of scholarship offers will be made in November/December to take up the final scholarships available.
The Sheep CRC postgraduate conference and Professional Development Workshop is on track, to be held this year from the 24th to the 28th October at Aanuka Beach Resort in Coffs Harbour. All plans for this event are in place. The professional development will be in the area of communications to media and industry.
A total of 22 students have enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Rural Science (Agricultural Consulting for Semester 2 2011. This brings the total enrolments in the two core units to 135 since 2009. The University of New England will commence transition of the course from CRC to UNE management and funding from 2012.
Professional development for consultants and advisors
There are 20 young and emerging livestock advisors and consultants enrolled in the professional development project. The first year was very successful with four webinars and a face to face workshop in Melbourne. The next planned event is a workshop in Adelaide to deliver training in business benchmarking, evaluation and the meat and wool supply chains.
Genetics Training Initiative
A Genetics Training Initiative Steering Committee has been formed to oversee Sheep CRC investment in development of tools, resources and training for the sheep industry.
Project 1.1 has drafted material for a “genetics starter kit” and a decision support tool to assist in determining breeding objectives for commercial producers.
Two commercial producer case studies in the use of ASBVs for ram selection have been prepared and another seven are under development to provide a national perspective across Merino and cross-breeding operations.
The CRC is working with Sheep Genetics to deliver a training workshop for genetics service providers from November 21 to 23, and for leading ram breeders during 24-25 November, to advance their skills in use of the genetics and genomics technologies. A pre workshop survey has been undertaken to determine interest and topics to be addressed in the training. Twenty service providers have expressed interest in attending the training workshop.
Delivery of genetics training to industry
The Sheep CRC will use the new tools and resources developed in Project 1.1 and 5.2 to support the development of a national approach to genetics training for the sheep industry, including ram breeders not currently using breeding technologies, commercial producers, service providers and industry influencers. It is envisaged that this will involve a co-ordinated effort with all the Sheep CRC participants to commence in 2012.
The Bred Well Fed Well workshop has been piloted with a number of producer groups during September. This practical one-day workshop highlights the key production aspects of genetics and feed management for improved reproduction. It delivers sessions based on condition scoring, feed budgeting, ram rankings and ram selection. More detailed training in these aspects are sign posted including LifeTime Ewe Management and genetics training such as ram selection workshops and EDGE training courses. National roll out of the workshop is planned, subject to funding approval from MLA and AWI.
To date 25 postgraduate students have accepted scholarships and commenced their studies with the CRC (see Table 2). The November 2010 round of scholarships attracted 15 applicants from which 9 were considered worthy of scholarship offers. Assuming that all 9 scholarships are accepted, this would bring the student intake for the postgraduate project to a total of 34 out of the 37 students targeted. Therefore a small final round of scholarship offers closed 20th April 2011, with the aim of achieving the target of 30 enrolments by 31st May 2011. The 5th sheep CRC postgraduate conference will be held this year on 24 – 28 October. Planning is underway, with Aanuka Beach Resort the likely venue.
Graduate Certificate in Rural Science (Agricultural Consulting)
In the 1st semester 2011, 24 students enrolled in the core unit (CSLT 501) on offer for the Graduate Certificate course. Enrolments have dropped in this semester and the CRC will need to put more effort into marketing and promotion coming up to second semester. Bruce Howie has been contracted to prepare new course material for the communications module of CSLT 502. This material will focus on making use of persuasion skills to increase adoption of new technology in rural industries. The costs of material development are being shared by Bruce Howie’s GRDC project, Sheep CRC and the Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Grains Production offered at UNE.
Genetics Communication and Skills Development
The Genetics Communication and Skills Development Needs Analysis project represented the first component of an initiative by the Sheep CRC to increase the adoption and utilisation of genetic technologies within the sheep industry, with a particular focus on educating and training for commercial producers. The project is now completed and the final report has been delivered to the Sheep CRC. The recommendations from the needs analysis were developed into a draft implementation plan (tentatively titled “RamBoss”) which is planned for further developed with assistance from MLA, AWI and other partners. RamBoss will be managed within Project 5.2 with significant input into tool development and packaging of extension material from Project 1.1. Co-investment will be required to successfully implement all the elements of RamBoss.
Precision Sheep Management Course
Development of a competency based training course for Precision Sheep Management has been contracted to Rural Industry Skills Training in Victoria. RIST have collaborated with Mike Stephens and Associates, funded by DPI Victoria, to develop and test training material with two groups of Victorian producers. The project encountered some difficulty in determining the most appropriate target market for the training and identifying “value propositions” for adoption of the technology on farm. The target market for the training course has now been confirmed as sheep breeders. Although this sector of the market is small, testing with producers in Victoria has confirmed that the PSM value proposition is greatest for this segment. Development of the PSM course was completed at the end of March and reviewed by a group of industry experts and potential deliverers in April. It is envisaged that potential trainers will be trained in the course in May and June in NSW, with the course available to industry from July. RIST will arrange for national registration of the course under FarmReady and contract appropriately skilled deliverers in each state. From 2011/12 the Sheep CRC will maintain a minor investment in promotion and marketing of the course to industry and maintenance of resources on the Sheep CRC website.
Industry Training Activities from to December 2010 by CRC outcome
In total, 14,887 hours of training have been delivered to 2,323 producers and service providers across all Sheep CRC activities in the previous 6 months.
Outcome 1: Improved sheep management and decision-making – a 10% increase in productivity by 20% of producers. Target number for training by June 2014 – 5,000.
The use of specialist consultants within the sheep industry is low, despite market research showing strong demand for skilled professionals across all sectors of the industry. The Education Program aims to deliver highly trained people to industry on a number of fronts, with a view to increased use of consultant and advisors and productivity growth within the sheep industry.
A challenge for the remainder of the CRC is to develop successful transition of key elements of the training program to other deliverers to ensure ongoing delivery, where relevant, post-CRC.
The business case for the Education Program is built upon the framework outlined above and encapsulated in Commonwealth Outcome 6 described below.
Outcome 6 – Supply highly qualified professionals. The Program will service the shortfall in sheep industry needs and accelerate the delivery of innovation to the industry. Specific outputs of the Program include completions of least 28 PhD students and 7 MSc students and development and delivery of an industry training plan to support growth in the use of consultants and delivery and utilisation of CRC information and technologies by the sheep industry. The net present value of the Program is estimated to be at least $6.9 million.
Download a list of Postgraduates below.