Sustainable livestock production will benefit from a new China-Australia Joint Research Centre for Ruminant Production between The University of Western Australia and Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University in China.
Researchers from UWA, including Professor Graeme Martin and Principal Research Fellow Dr Shimin Liu, both from the School of Animal Biology and Institute of Agriculture, and UWA Adjunct Professor Johan Greeff, a Senior Research Officer from the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, signed the agreement in support of the Centre during a visit to China last week. UWA has an ongoing Memorandum of Understanding with Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University.
Professor Martin, who led the delegation, said the purpose of the Joint Research Centre was to establish collaboration in research and training, and create research teams with complimentary expertise that would target persistent, high-impact activity in research on sustainable ruminant production.
“Clean, green, and ethical management of the responses of ruminant livestock to global climate change is a high priority,” Professor Martin said. “This will be achieved through collaboration on mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions from ruminant livestock, improvement of efficacy of animal production, and breeding naturally healthy ruminant animals.”
Dr Greeff’s research on parasite resistance has provoked excitement in China where there is a rapidly developing vision for ‘clean, green, and ethical’ livestock management with less dependence on medication for animal healthcare.
“Resistance of intestinal worms to the available drugs is a serious problem in China,” Dr Greeff said. “Current medication practices are not sustainable and breeding genetically resistant sheep is the only long-term solution.”
Another main area of activity for the Centre will be training the next generation of researchers in ruminant production in dry-land agricultural regions.
“By 2050 the agricultural industries need to feed 50 per cent more people in the world, while minimising damage to the planet. A new generation of professionals must be prepared to respond to this mission, so training the next generation is an important role for the Centre,” Professor Martin said.
The delegation also visited University of Nanjing in Nanjing and China Agricultural University in Beijing to discuss collaborative research opportunities in breeding sheep and goats against diseases, to strengthen old ties and establish new relationships between these universities and UWA.
Professor Graeme Martin (UWA Institute of Agriculture and School of Animal Biology) (+61 8) 6488 6781 / (+61 4) 08 951 052
David Stacey (UWA Media and Public Relations Manager) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 32 637 716