LIVESTOCK productivity will be at the fore of a new $22.5 million joint agricultural venture announced in Armidale on Friday.
NSW Department of Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair announced the government would team up with Meat and Livestock Australia and the University of New England to help boost profitability in the beef industry.
The government will invest $17.5 million into the partnership with MLA donor company MDC, which is a fully-owned subsidiary of industry service company MLA.
The state DPI will also invest an additional $5 million in the new National Livestock Genetics Consortium.
The initiative seeks to achieve world-leading rates of genetic gain, to drive value chain profitability among key livestock industry stakeholders.
“By partnering with universities and also industry, we make sure we do research in the areas that are needed,” Mr Blair said. “And by having industry on board that can help promote it, so the uptake of that research is better.”
Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce also flew in for the announcement and said the new funding reinforced Armidale’s status as a centre of agricultural excellence.
“It reinforces the skill sets that we have here,” he said.
“If we get a very marginal increase in carcass quality, we get a huge return for that in the Australian economy.”
Industry funded research is key, ensuring the science is conducted in the right areas, and that the industry implements the findings to improve productivity, according to Mr Blair.
“That’s the advantage of this, getting better bang for your buck,” he said.
“Gone are the days when we had government doing all of the research and all of the development.
“[This is] how we want to progress research and development in the state, but also progress the sector.
Mr Blair also said the announcement would secure jobs in the region.
“This provides security for the jobs in Armidale, but it will also provide more profitability for farmers in the region,” he said.
The first co-investment research and development program will focus on five key areas.
Improving supply chain efficiency, overcoming the nutritional limits to livestock genetic potential and improving reproductive performance will be priorities.
The sustainability of livestock production systems and enhancing the feed base by optimising grazing and soil management will also be a focus.
“This research and development can help boost productivity across the whole supply chain,” Mr Joyce said.
“We have taken cattle to record prices and we have to work to keep them high.”