In­spired to learn from the best

Mun­dub­bera farmer to use schol­ar­ship to in­ves­ti­gate AI

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL UPDATE -

NUFFIELD scholar Kara Knud­sen, of Mun­dub­bera, was in­spired by the en­ergy at the pres­ti­gious schol­ar­ship pre­sen­ta­tion evening.

She said she planned to use the op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn, col­lab­o­rate and bring new ideas and innovations back to Aus­tralia to im­prove north­ern cat­tle ge­net­ics.

Mrs Knud­sen is sup­ported by Meat and Livestock Aus­tralia and is plan­ning on in­ves­ti­gat­ing large scale ar­ti­fi­cial in­sem­i­na­tion (AI) tech­niques.

“It was in­spi­ra­tional to be there with other Nuffield schol­ars,” Mrs Knud­sen said.

“There were new schol­ars like me and pre­vi­ous schol­ar­ship win­ners.

“These peo­ple are prob­lem solvers, lead­ers and in­no­va­tors from all across the pri­mary in­dus­try spec­trum.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to the Con­tem­po­rary Schol­ars Con­fer­ence in Canada in March, be­cause it will give me a global out­look.”

This out­look will be en­hanced when she joins eight other Aus­tralian and New Zealand Nuffield schol­ars on a six-week world tour of in­no­va­tive farms and en­ter­prises.

Af­ter this she will work on her re­search project, which she will present at a na­tional con­fer­ence in late 2014.

“My pri­vate study will most likely in­clude Brazil, Ar­gentina, UK – Wales and Ire­land, and south­ern USA.

“It’s great that the kids and Darcy can come with me for this part.”

Kara and her hus­band, Darcy, run 1500 santa gertrudis breed­ers on 18,000 acres at Mun­dub­bera and have a fur­ther 82,000 acres of Mitchell / Downs coun­try, with up to 4000 head run mostly as a trad­ing op­er­a­tion.

The slow ge­netic progress in many north­ern cat­tle herds has prompted her to study AI on the large scale needed in the re­gion.

“If the in­dus­try is go­ing to sur­vive, then ge­netic im­prove­ments and bet­ter re­pro­duc­tive per­for­mance has shown to be a dom­i­nat­ing fac­tor in farm prof­itabil­ity,” she said.

“If we could mul­ti­ply su­pe­rior ge­net­ics quickly and at a low cost, the north­ern beef in­dus­try will again have a promis­ing fu­ture.”

She will fo­cus on fixed time AI, em­bryo trans­fer (ET) and ul­tra­sound tech­niques and ser­vices that can be repli­cated on a large scale.

While the Knud­sens are cur­rently suc­cess­fully us­ing fixed time AI in their own heifers and cows, Mrs Knud­sen hopes to use the Nuffield Schol­ar­ship to in­crease the up­take of this tech­nol­ogy in the north­ern beef herd.

Nuffield Aus­tralia is an or- gan­i­sa­tion that pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to Aus­tralian farm­ers to travel over­seas on an agri­cul­tural re­search schol­ar­ship. Read­ers can fol­low Mrs Knud­sen on Twit­ter @knud­senkara or on her busi­ness Face­book page Knud­sen Cat­tle.

■ What do you think about Kara’s suc­cess? Email us at ed­i­to­rial@south­bur­nett­times.com.au.

GREAT ACHIEVE­MENT: Mun­dub­bera’s Kara Knud­sen is pre­sented with her Nuffield schol­ar­ship by Nuffield Aus­tralia chair Terry Hehir (left) and also con­grat­u­lated by Meat and Livestock Aus­tralia chair Rob An­der­son.

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