April 24, 2018


Animal Production 2018’s program is structured to ensure all target audiences are catered for, including scientists and researchers, growers, industry service providers, students and educators.

The 2018 conference theme is ‘Fostering innovation through the value chain’. Innovation is the basis which flows through all plenary sessions as well as the concurrent sessions and posters.

The conference committee have prepared an engaging three days of leading innovative science to be delivered from the conference main stage. Here’s an overview … 

Monday 2 July – day one

Morning session: Innovation

Out-of-the-square thinking captures new solutions to age-old problems. All participants in the value chain have a vested interest in championing innovation. This session will focus on the high levels of innovation achieved in each of the conference’s target industries and where representatives from each see its future direction.

Edwina Beveridge, pig farmer in NSW, will open the conference sharing her perspectives on the need for innovation in Australia’s Livestock industries.  An innovator herself, Edwina will also share the innovation applied in their system, and her understanding of the needs of the consumer.

This session also includes a panel of industry leaders who will provide a snapshot of where innovation in Australian animal science is heading and lessons that can be shared across the species.

Afternoon session: Consumer demands and animal welfare

Consumer buying behaviour is increasingly being shaped by perceptions of animal welfare – what is best practice, acceptable or unacceptable. This session will focus on improving the understanding of researchers and producers alike in how consumers demands when it comes to animal welfare will shape demand for animal products.

This session includes the Barnett Memorial Lecture, titled ‘Key determinants of animal welfare: animal management and housing design’, which will be presented by Professor Paul Hemsworth, University of Melbourne. Professor Wendy Umberger, University of Adelaide, will speak on ‘Demand for Animal Welfare and Ethical Attributes in Meat:  What do consumers really value?’.

Tuesday 3 July – Day two

Morning session: A systems approach to improving livestock productivity

Productivity is a key driver of profitability and understanding all the possible elements of the production system is important in improving performance. One of the key presentations of this session is the Stobbs Memorial Lecture, titled ‘Concentrate Supplementation of Grazing Beef Calves: Performance and Metabolic Imprinting’ presented by Prof Joao (Joe) Vendramini, University of Florida. In addition, Dr Jay Johnson, United States Department of Agriculture, will speak on ‘Evaluating and mitigating the impact of heat stress on livestock well-being and productivity’.

Afternoon session: Big data – what’s the value and its potential?

Technological advances continue to disrupt the entire value chain. The range and volume of data that can be captured is increasing, but there is greater scope to use data to improve welfare and productivity at the farm-gate level, and more generally in terms of farm systems and management.

This session will focus on how big data is being used across the value chain to identify innovation opportunities across the value chain. In this session, Dr Stuart Wilkinson, Feedworks, will discuss ‘Big Data for Monogastrics – What is Possible?’ and Dr Anthony Clark, NSW DPI, will present on ‘New agricultural technologies–implications for applied livestock systems modeling’.

Wednesday 4 July – Day three

Producer Day – in collaboration with the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

The Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation will be including their annual sheep and beef producer workshops, which each are attended by more than 100 producers, into the program for final day of the Animal Production 2018. This makes the day all about hands-on, practical animal science that can be implemented on-farm and is expected to attract producers from the region and beyond.

Morning session: Opportunities for productivity improvements in extensive livestock systems

Tailoring the diets of livestock run in extensive livestock systems can not only offer productivity benefits for livestock but also provide flow-on benefits for consumers. While herbivores have an attuned palate, which allows them to meet their needs for nutrients and medicines, impoverished pastures and feedlot diets can adversely affect the health of livestock and the subsequent flavour and nutritive value of meat and milk products for humans. This session will focus on work being done in these extensive livestock systems and how it can be applied to offer benefits for herbivores and humans. Keynote speakers include Prof Fred Provenza, Utah State University, presenting the McClymont Memorial Lecture titled ‘How palates link soil and plants with herbivores and humans’. As well as Dr David Masters, University of Western Australia, presenting the Underwood Memorial Lecture titled ‘Practical implications of mineral and vitamin imbalance in grazing sheep’.

Afternoon Session: Innovation in the processing sector

Australian Meat Processing Corporation (AMPC) will host two meat processors from NSW to share with delegates recent innovations in the meat processing sector and what opportunities lay ahead for the industry.

Details: View the conference program here