February 15, 2013
Lamb researcher Dr Matthew Knight has moved to the Southern Red Meat Innovation Centre at the Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) Hamilton office to continue his work into improving lamb production performance. DPI Executive Director of Future Farming Systems Research, Dr Ron Prestidge, said the appointment of a senior scientist of Dr Knight’s experience and knowledge was another important step in the redevelopment of the centre’s capability. “Dr Knight will help DPI to position Victoria as a leader in lamb research, and make an important contribution to the success of the Red Meat Innovation Centre being established at Hamilton,” Dr Prestidge said. “In his role as the newly appointed Lamb Production Senior Research Scientist Dr Knight will work on a variety of projects, with his main focus on investigating the impact of maternal nutrition on lamb fertility, survival and performance. “Maternal nutrition is believed to influence the overall economic performance of the lamb industry and the main aim of this study will be to improve lamb fertility. “The outcome of these studies will provide farmers with advice on what to fed pregnant ewes to improve subsequent lamb fertility and overall economic performance. “This work will be performed in conjunction with the Lamb Foundation experiment which is already on-going at Hamilton and investigates the effects of lamb nutrition on lean meat yield.” Dr Knight has worked on numerous projects within the Sheep Genomics and Sheep CRC programs for the past nine years. His role within these projects has been to investigate novel growth mechanisms to improve livestock performance and the identification of gene markers to improve genomic prediction for improving lamb meat tenderness and nutritional quality of lamb (i.e. omega-3 content). Victoria is aiming to double food and fibre production by 2030, and research from DPI Hamilton is part of the $61.4 million Growing Food and Fibre initiative which is targeted at building the profitability and productivity of the dairy, red meat, grains and horticulture industries.