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Sheep CRC ahead of the flock

20 May 2014

The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Sheep Industry Innovation was awarded the 2014 CRC STAR Award last night for a collaboration with small businesses and farmers that is bolstering the national sheep flock.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Bob Baldwin, presented the award to the CRC and supporting small businesses – Cousins Merino Services and DM&JM Connell Pregnancy Scanning Services – in Perth at the Cooperative Research Centres Association Excellence in Innovation awards dinner. The Award recognises CRCs for achievement in engaging with small-to-medium enterprises to drive and deliver innovation.

“The CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation has been instrumental in helping farmers better manage pregnant ewes, leading to improved reproduction rates,” Mr Baldwin said.

“I congratulate the CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation on the big increase in productivity resulting from this collaboration. An additional 500,000 lambs are born per year because of the better use of pregnancy scanning data.”

The CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation, working with 40 SME pregnancy scanning businesses, held workshops around Australia for 1800 sheep producers. The workshops helped farmers better manage their flock, including making sure ewes receive targeted nutrition for their pregnancy status and body condition for a good lambing outcome.

Sheep CRC Chief Executive Officer, Professor James Rowe, said the percentage of sheep producers using information from scans on multiple versus single lambs to manage nutrition had increased from 49 to 79 percent.

“Importantly, 80 per cent of workshop participants surveyed had changed their management practices following the workshops,” Prof. Rowe said.

“One of our most challenging and ambitious goals in the Sheep CRC was to improve sheep reproductive performance of the national flock to bolster productivity.  Our success has been particularly gratifying.”

The Australian Government’s CRC Program supports collaboration between researchers and industry. For more information on the Sheep CRC’s collaboration, view the case study at www.ausindustry.gov.au/crc-sheep, or visit www.sheepcrc.org.au.

Media contacts:

Mr Baldwin's office 02 6277 4200

Professor James Rowe - 02 6773 131600