Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC

Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC

Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food; Hydrogen Industry

    $4 million R&D investment to support sheep industry

    25/08/2021 1:00 PM
    • McGowan Government to invest $2 million of matching funds to SheepLinks program to build more climate resilient, sustainable and profitable sheep enterprises
    • Research projects to focus on creating strong sheep production systems that optimise productivity in a changing climate 

    The first two of a series of visionary research projects, worth more than $4 million in total, have kicked off to enhance the long term sustainability and profitability of Western Australia's sheep industry.


    The McGowan Government has allocated $2 million over the next four years to the collaborative SheepLinks program, matched by the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) Donor Company.


    The initiative is designed to drive industry change and lift the productivity of WA sheep enterprises, develop business resilience to market and climate variability, optimise the value and volume of production and cultivate new market opportunities.


    The first project, FEED365, seeks to build climate resilience into WA sheep businesses by developing year-round pastures and forage grazing systems, filling the summer-autumn feed gap.


    The project will be based at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development's (DPIRD) Katanning Research Facility and join with farm demonstration sites, while another component will examine the potential of alley-farming pastures and trees as a business model.


    The second project, Future Sheep, will see WA join the MLA Donor Company's NEXUS Program to understand the impact of climate change on sheep production systems.


    The project will help assist sheep producers evaluate strategies to reduce their businesses' greenhouse gas emissions, while exploring adaptation options and future market opportunities for the sheep industry.


    DPIRD will partner with the Grower Group Alliance to develop case studies to compare a mix of sheep and cropping enterprise scenarios and to understand the impact of climate change scenarios to 2030 and 2050.


    Further SheepLinks projects are being developed to be added to the program in time.


    Comments attributed to Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:


    "The SheepLinks program will build long term climate resilience into our valuable sheep industry, while developing more holistic farming systems to deliver for our growers into the future.


    "Sheep have a critical role to play in the biological balance of the broadacre farming system and these SheepLinks projects will help us to optimise their role as part of a sustainable, profitable farming enterprise.


    "The sheep industry has seen many highs and lows in the past 20 years and while there has been great demand for WA sheep in recent times, this has come at a cost as the size of the State's flock has significantly reduced.


    "These SheepLinks projects and those to follow will help reposition the WA sheep industry on a sound footing for the future, backed by scientific evidence, aided with tools and strategies to improve whole farm productivity, weather climate variability and capture carbon opportunities.


    "They will help to ensure our industry's continued relevance and help producers to remain internationally competitive and able to satisfy increasingly discerning consumer expectations around the globe for ethically produced meat and wool products."


    Minister's office - 6552 6200