Western Australian sheep research and development is about to leap forward with a $1.3 million investment in a new sheep feed efficiency facility at Katanning.
Construction has begun on the 940 square metre research shed, which will be fitted with 20 pens to house about 300 sheep, at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development's (DPIRD) Katanning Research Facility.
This nationally significant facility will enable researchers to electronically record the feed intake of individual sheep fed a range of different diets under commercial conditions to identify genetically superior animals to target in breeding programs.
Better understanding feed conversion will enable WA producers to refine breeding and management programs to reduce the cost of production and improve the competitiveness of WA sheep meat in the global marketplace.
Albany-based contractor Colab Construction has been announced as the successful tenderer to build the facility, scheduled to be operating in December 2019.
"This investment will assist researchers from the department and the private sector to breed more efficient, high performance sheep that satisfy customers' discerning requirements," said WA Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan.
"It will enable the WA sheep industry to breed more efficient animals that require less feed to produce more meat, from animals that emit reduced methane and carbon dioxide.
"There has already been much interest from the public and private sector research community, as well as industry in how this new facility will benefit current and future production and genetic research.
"The appointment of Albany's Colab Construction is an illustration of the State Government's Regional Local Content Initiative in action.
"We look forward to seeing how this new addition to the department's research inventory progresses and the benefits it will bring to improving the productivity and profitability of WA's sheep industry."