LEAD­ING FARM­ERS:

Nuffield schol­ars dis­cuss how they will use funds to im­prove agri­cul­ture

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Front Page - CAS­SAN­DRA GLOVER Cas­san­dra.glover@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

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.”

Mr Corr re­ceived a Schol­ar­ship through his North­ern Pas­toral Schol­ar­ship, sup­ported col­lec­tively by Aus­tralian Agri­cul­tural Com­pany, Con­sol­i­dated Pas­toral Com­pany, El­ders, North Aus­tralian Pas­toral Com­pany and S. Kid­man & Co.

❝We

can im­prove prof­itabil­ity in the in­dus­try and also im­prove views in a so­cial li­cens­ing per­spec­tive.

— Alis­tair Corr

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

EX­CIT­ING OP­POR­TU­NITY: Cat­tle pro­ducer, Alis­tair Corr, has re­ceived a 2019 Nuffield Schol­ar­ship.

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