Applications are now open for researchers to submit preliminary proposals for funding to support on-farm research, development and adoption (RD&A) projects that benefit sheepmeat and grassfed beef producers.
Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) investment call is aimed at attracting projects from individuals, organisations and project teams which address the RD&A priorities identified for the sheepmeat and grassfed beef industries for 2020-21.
The priorities were determined following extensive consultation with red meat producers through MLA’s regional consultation process.
The 2020-21 priorities are: 

  • Matching feed supply to a changing climate
  • Pain mitigation
  • National Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines
  • Sheep reproduction, including a call for expressions of interest to be involved in a strategic partnership
  • Total grazing pressure
  • Natural resource management in a changing climate.

MLA General Manager – Producer Consultation and Adoption, Michael Crowley, said MLA is encouraging increased collaboration on proposed projects between research organisations and also between researchers and producers.

“The aim is to move away from stand-alone projects to develop larger programs of work that address producer priorities and deliver greater benefits and impacts for the industry,” Mr Crowley said.

“For this reason, we are calling for expressions of interest to be involved in the development of a Sheep Reproduction Strategic Partnership.

“The Northern Breeder Herd Efficiency Coalition (NBEC), an initiative of the 2019-20 investment call, will continue to be the driver of investment in the grassfed beef portfolio for this year.

“NBEC is currently being led by the North Australia Beef Research Council (NABRC) and is utilising the coalition to develop a program of work to address major investments across the grassfed beef productivity area.

“This year’s investment call does not include specific priorities for northern beef productivity as the priorities will feed into the NBEC program.”

Mr Crowley said researchers are encouraged to consider MLA adoption programs as described in Appendix 1 – ‘Guidelines to developing an adoption pathway for annual call RD&A projects’, such as integrated R&D Producer Demonstration Sites (PDS) or Profitable Grazing Systems (PGS).

“Once preliminary proposals for the 2020-21 investment call have been submitted, they will be assessed by panels of northern, southern and western sheepmeat and grassfed beef producers along with MLA staff,” Mr Crowley said.

“Applicants meeting the selection criteria in stage one of the process are then invited to submit a full proposal.

“Stage two of the process will see full proposals assessed for their technical merit by an independent expert panel prior to consideration by the Red Meat Panel.”

The 2020-21 investment call Request for Tender can be downloaded here.

The application form for preliminary proposals is available on the MLA website and should be submitted electronically in Microsoft Word format to MLA at [email protected] before 11.59pm AEDT, Wednesday, 16 October 2019.