Education & Training Update – June 2009

Researchers, Postgrads, Postdocs, Honours & Interns workshop and industry visits

The workshops and industry visits went well for Poultry CRC Research Scientists, Interns, Postgrads, Postdocs and Honours students, held in Armidale and Tamworth in May. The workshop commenced with introductions and there was a very wide range of research areas discussed. Kylie Hewson told us about her recent experiences in communicating with industry and this generated much interesting discussion about how researchers can work most effectively with members of the industry and how much can be learned from industry personnel.

Researchers, Postgrads, Postdocs, Honours & Interns industry visit to the Baiada Hatchery in Tamworth

Researchers, Postgrads, Postdocs, Honours & Interns industry visit to the Baiada Hatchery in Tamworth

Ben Wells (Wells Avian Consultancy) gave an interesting and provocative presentation about vaccination and his experiences with use of vaccines against infectious stunting syndrome (ISS), avian nephritis virus, infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT), infectious bronchitis (IB), and avian encephalomyelitis (AE). There was much lively discussion with another industry speaker Shane Reeves (Inghams) disagreeing with Ben on a number of points. We all found it interesting to see that, in many cases, the situation is far from clear-cut and the way in which vaccines are administered can greatly affect their efficacy.

Shane Reeves, Inghams Farming Manager for NSW, provided a most interesting overview of the broiler industry, from the perspective of a major processing company.

Steve Teitzel (President of Qld Chicken Growers’ Association) completed the picture of the broiler industry by providing a detailed description of what is involved in being both an owner/manager of a broiler farm and an official representative of broiler growers at state and national levels. On the Tuesday evening, the discussion continued over dinner which was attended also by Poultry CRC Office Staff and poultry researchers from UNE. Thanks to Helene Dawson for making all the arrangements in Armidale.

The industry visits on the Wednesday necessitated an early start by bus from Armidale to reach Tamworth by 8.30am. Half our group visited the impressive new Baiada Hatchery near the Tamworth Airport. The hatchery visit was organised by Jorge Ruiz along with colleagues John Fyfe and James Baker and was conducted by Richard Hurst. The other half of the group visited the integrated layer farm of Bede and Narelle Burke about 20 km from the Tamworth airport. The Burkes are upgrading their layer sheds so it was interesting to see one new shed in operation and the second shed empty ready for the new installation. In the afternoon, we all visited the feed mill at Weston Animal Nutrition near the centre of Tamworth. This visit was hosted by Kim Wong and Mark O’Brien. The generosity of these industry people in hosting our visits is very much appreciated. On Wednesday evening, we had a dinner at the Tamworth Towers Motel which was attended also by 10 poultry industry people from the Tamworth area. Col Quast (Jr) gave a most interesting presentation on the Quast family turkey business. Col invited researchers to contact him if they are interested in any research involving turkeys.

The Workshop and Industry visits concluded on Thursday with everyone returning home by bus or plane from Tamworth. Thanks to all those who attended and a special thank you to our industry participants.

Industry Training Update

The Revision of the Rural Production Training Package

The first draft of the new merged rural training package, Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management (AHC09), is now up on the AgriFood Skills Australia website. The Poultry CRC formulated a response to the draft, with assistance from Michael Williams and Susan Gleeson.

To go to the Improvement Register to provide feedback, visit the Agrifood Skills Australia website and click on Rural Production (RTE03). Michael Williams is assisting Agrifoods Skills Australia with the integration of feedback to produce the second draft of the training package.

Revision of the Food Processing Training Package

On the same Agrifood Skills Australia website, you will also see Food Processing (FDF03). This training package is also of relevance to the poultry industry as it covers poultry meat processing and further processing, as well as egg processing. Richard Jenkins, a consultant who is working on the revised Food Processing training package, is planning to visit the Poultry CRC shortly – hopefully later this month. For more information about the review of this training package, visit the Agrifood Skills Australia website. Although May 15 is stated as the closing date for comments, Richard tells me that comments can still be made on the second draft of the revised training package. Michael Williams is preparing a report on the second draft of this training package but says that Richard has done a good job and the draft training package is looking good. Richard has visited a chicken meat processing plant and is keen to visit an egg grading and packaging floor so that he fully understands the needs of the poultry industry.

Agricultural Teachers of South Australia (ATASA) Conference

Susan Gleeson (FarmGate Training) and I attended the Agriculture Teachers Association of South Australia (ATASA) conference in Murray Bridge last month. It was great to meet the approximately 45 teachers (about half of the agriculture teachers in SA) and to see how dedicated and enthusiastic they are about their work. They were very interested in the Teachers’ Resource Kit that the Poultry CRC is developing with Susan’s assistance and had many good suggestions. The younger female teachers are particularly interested in integrating poultry into their agriculture teaching. I look forward to seeing some of the teachers again at the National Association of Agricultural Educators conference in January 2010, at the University of Queensland Gatton campus.

Primary Industries Centres for Science Education (PICSE)

The Poultry CRC has provided sponsorship for the PICSE Education Centre at UNE. UNE is the only university in Australia which is part of the Poultry CRC and also has a PICSE Education Centre. Mingan and I have met with the Education Officer of the UNE centre, Ms Susanna Greig, about poultry-related activities at the Industry Placement Scholarship Student Camp and Industry Placements in January 2010. I will liaise with Susanna to identify a suitable industry visit in the Tamworth region and also a choice of industry placements. Susanna used to be the Education Coordinator for the Weeds CRC and is very experienced in schools science education. Elisa Heylin has organised a meeting in Sydney on Friday, June 5, which will be attended by Gordon Stone representing PICSE, Angus Crossan and myself. We will be discussing poultry industry sponsorship of the PICSE program into the future. The PICSE Program targets science students who are interested in primary industries. For more information about PICSE, go to
Australian Science Festival (ASF)

Chris Day and I attended the Australian Science Festival in Canberra, which overlapped with the CRC Association Conference. We had a hectic time when the classes of school children descended on the venue but it was lots of fun. During the CRC Association conference and the ASF, I had some preliminary discussions with people from Questacon about the possibility of CRC sponsorship of their activities.

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