SA Govt urged to commit to livestock R&D
Livestock SA has called on the incoming South Australian Government to commit to investing in livestock research, development and implementation in the industries which underpin and contribute significantly to the health of this sector.
Livestock SA Chief Executive Officer Andrew Curtis said the SA livestock sector contributed $4.5 billion in Gross State Revenue to the SA economy and employed a significant number of people both on-farm and in related industries off-farm including meat and wool processing.
“For the past two decades the SA Government has continued to reduce investment into research and development in the industries which underpin and contribute significantly to the health of this sector,” he said.
“SA has a proud history of scientific and academic excellence in the development of the primary sector but in recent years there has been an ongoing erosion of R&D support frameworks in PIRSA and SARDI.
“More than a decade ago, the Council of Australian Governments established a research, development and extension framework meant to identify the jurisdiction which would take the lead in different sectors of R&D to reduce any potential overlaps.
“The framework provided a great opportunity for our state to focus its RD&E effort, but instead of building on the best research outcomes across the country and refining them for South Australian conditions, the state government withdrew from making any such investments. It was hugely disappointing, and a missed opportunity for the SA livestock sector.
“At a national level, industry is willing to contribute through its R&D Corporations, but it is reticent to do so in this state when it has to “go it alone” while across the border (any border) it is able to partner with the state government and double its investment.”
Mr Curtis said since it was launched less than two-years-ago the SA Sheep Industry Blueprint had shown the benefits of R&D investment across the value-chain – and was well on track to delivering its overarching aim of a 20 per cent increase in productivity and value in the state’s sheep industry by 2020.
“As part of the Blueprint, 16 research projects have been instigated or supported so far, from on-farm research such as development of real-time on-farm lice detection test, to further along the value chain with the installation of hook tracking systems at JBS Australia’s Bordertown plant and objective carcase measurement,” Mr Curtis said.
“Further investment from State Government could allow the Blueprint to build on this growth for many years to come.
“The SA Beef Cattle Industry Blueprint is also in development and will have a focus on collaborative value chains, consistently meeting consumer and community expectations and adoption of proven practices to increase productivity. It will again provide a great opportunity for a shared investment between industry and the state for the betterment of SA.”
Livestock SA is also calling on parties to commit to investing in the implementation of a statewide feedbase and grazing system plan – to aid the whole SA livestock value chain to significantly expand gross state revenue. Areas of focus should include:
- Enhancing the feedbase so it is productive for longer each year
- Grazing and enterprise management practices to allow for greater ‘out-of-season’ supply to the benefit of suppliers and value chain
- Unlocking the potential of underutilised irrigation in the Limestone Coast for intensive livestock production systems
- Exploration of pasture-based finishing systems for warmer regions of SA during winter
“Such a program will not only enhance the productivity of the SA industry but will also capture many of the gains and learnings generated in other States and through national research funding,” Mr Curtis said.
“Livestock SA calls for all parties and candidates to commit to investing in current and future research, development and adoption projects which underpin SA’s livestock sector.”
In its recently released 2018 SA Election position paper Livestock SA focused on six key issues which were vital for the continued success of the livestock sector and called for all political parties and candidates to commit to resolving these issues. These included:
- Commit to continuing the 90-Day Transport Project.
- Improve the NRM framework.
- Establish and implement a water security and accessibility program for livestock producers.
- Improve engagement and reduce the impact of the State’s mining, gas exploration and extraction sector.
- Energise the implementation of One Biosecurity and commit to continued support. Recognise the benefit of the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) to the broader community and commit to funding in partnership with industry.
- Commit to investing in current and future research, development and adoption projects which underpin the South Australian livestock sector.