Western Australian project to examine cropping and cattle synergies

The initiative will cost $6 million
calendar icon 13 June 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

A $6-million research project aims to grow future beef production options in Western Australia's north, as part of a landmark collaboration between research bodies, universities and the Western Australian Government, according to a government press release

    The initiative is eyeing better synergies between the diverse Ord River Irrigated Area and the State's long-running northern pastoral sector.

    It is the first project to kick off under the WA Agricultural Research Collaboration and involves investment from a range of partners including the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA).

    The three-year Cropping Enabled Cattle project will look at potential for irrigated crops in the Ord, such as cotton meal and seed, maize and other grass silage, to contribute to local cattle finishing systems.

    Researchers will test a range of cattle backgrounding systems in the Ord Valley, potentially including a sterile variety of the fodder tree leucaena, which has been shown to reduce methane emissions from grazing cattle.

    The project has a strong emphasis on building research capacity in regional WA, creating three new regional roles and establishing joint PhD appointments with Collaboration partners.

    "This is an exciting new project looking at ways to diversify our pastoral systems in a sustainable way and enable the pastoral sector to tap into the production potential of the Ord," said Agriculture and Food Minister Jackie Jarvis. "This project brings together a range of research agencies and universities under the WA Agricultural Research Collaboration, linking them with the CRCNA to deliver benefits that will not only be applicable for WA, but right across Northern Australia.

    "It is an example of what the Collaboration was set up to achieve - building enduring research capacity and capability in WA and delivering meaningful research outcomes," Jarvis added. "This project aims to deliver new knowledge of feeding systems to optimise feeding and grow-out systems for cattle in the Kimberley - ultimately growing the productivity and profitability of the sector."

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