Lo­cal vet wins world dairy re­search tour

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - RURAL LIFE -

NORTH Coast Lo­cal Land Ser­vices dis­trict vet­eri­nar­ian Sarah Bolton has re­cently been awarded a Nuffield Farm­ing Schol­ar­ship for 2018 to sup­port her re­search.

She will join 24 Aus­tralian pri­mary pro­duc­ers and managers from a di­verse range of back­grounds and with in­ter­ests in a broad range of study top­ics.

The Nuffield Farm­ing Schol­ar­ships show­case the depth and breadth of Aus­tralian agri­cul­ture.

Sarah was sup­ported by Dairy Aus­tralia and the Aus­tralian Dairy Con­fer­ence.

She will re­search how best to rear dairy calves to in­te­grate suc­cess­fully into the beef sup­ply chain.

Ev­ery year, ap­prox­i­mately 350,000 young ‘bobby’ calves leave Aus­tralian dairy farms to be sold for meat, skins or other uses.

In­ter­est has grown within Aus­tralia’s dairy beef in­dus­try in op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow out a larger per­cent­age of bobby calves for beef.

Sarah be­lieves this move would help address neg­a­tive in­dus­try per­cep­tions, as well as con­trib­ute to di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of farm out­puts.

She plans to study ways that other coun­tries op­er­ate dairy beef sys­tems from calf rear­ing through to the fin­ished an­i­mal, fo­cus­ing on pre­ven­ta­tive health, wel­fare and nutri­tion.

Sarah is co-man­ager of Big River Dairy on 150ha on the bank of the Clarence River.

It runs a 300-cow herd of jer­seys, hol­stein-friesians and their crosses on a 36-bail ro­tary dairy.

She and her part­ner also op­er­ate their own beef farm next door.

Along with help­ing to man­age both farms, Sarah works full-time for North Coast Lo­cal Land Ser­vices as a dis­trict vet­eri­nar­ian.

Sarah said there is a push from the beef in­dus­try to im­prove the bobby calf value chain.

“With the broader live­stock in­dus­try com­ing un­der in­creas­ingly high lev­els of scru­tiny from the gen­eral public, it is vi­tal that we con­tinue to find prac­ti­cal, achiev­able ways to sat­isfy com­mu­nity ex­pec­ta­tions, pri­ori­tise the care of our an­i­mals and pro­vide new mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties for pro­duc­ers,” Sarah said.

For her re­search tour, Sarah will visit dairy farms in New Zealand, the United King­dom, Europe, the US and Canada.

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

OFF TO FIND BET­TER WAYS: Sarah Bolton is a tal­ented and en­thu­si­as­tic mem­ber of the agri­cul­tural in­dus­try who is help­ing shape the fu­ture of North Coast farm­ing.

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