Moura cattle producer awarded Nuffield Scholarship
CATTLE producer from Moura, Alistair Corr, will use his 2019 Nuffield Scholarship to investigate the effect that a range of wellbeing factors before, during and after transport can have on the production value of cattle.
Mr Corr manages a 12,100 hectare corporate aggregation for the Mactaggart family, turning off around 1200 steers and 1000 heifers each year. He and his wife also run a small breeding operation of around 250 cattle.
“The basis for my research is in animal wellbeing, in the handling and transport of cattle and its effect on the measured production value on the cattle,” he said.
“How we can make the cattle better able to cope with transport and handling so they don’t lose weight and be less effected by stress.
“In this industry we’re not great at discussing what we do. So I want to discover the best practice out there in the world and bring it back to Australia.”
Mr Corr said there are two reasons behind his research.
“The first real reason is to bring some profitability back to the farm gate,” he said.
“We can also use this as a means to communicate to the public how well we’re doing.
“There is quite a bit of negative views out there in the news, but there is never any news on how well we’re doing.”
Mr Corr hopes to conduct research across North America, South America and Europe.
“My general plan is, since we’re looking to compare measurable outcomes, North America has a massive amount of cattle on feed. I can imagine there will be a lot of travel around there visiting feedlots,” he said.
“In South America my assumption is that we will be focused on the stock handling down there. I can imagine they wont be as specific on their production recording on farm down there.
“However they do have four to five times the amount of cattle on feed. Over four million head in feedlots in Brazil alone I think.
“I’d also be looking at going to Europe where animal welfare is held in very high regards.
“They are a lot more intensive, but less feedlots.”
Mr Corr said his research was inspired by experience in his role managing the properties for the Mactaggarts.
“We focus a great deal on getting our cattle to a stage where they can handle the stress and experience of transport,” he said.
“And because of that we have increased profitability at a very maintainable level.
“We can improve profitability in the industry and also improve views in a social licensing perspective.
“And we will have measurability and statistics to prove that.”
Mr Corr said the experience so far had been incredibly exciting and inspiring.
“We’ve just been down in Melbourne for the week where we received our awards and attended the conference where past scholars spoke to us,’ he said.
“As part of the scholarship there is a tour of the world, about six countries, where we will look at various agricultural industries and the factors that influence them.
“It’s an amazing chance to improve our knowledge not just on our topic but on a world wide scale. And the leadership and experiences that come with that.”
EXCITING OPPORTUNITY: Cattle producer, Alistair Corr, has received a 2019 Nuffield Scholarship. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED