PHA Farmer and Researcher Workshop

In an effort to foster stronger ties between researchers and farmers, an engagement session was held on the 20th of May 2024. This online session aimed to facilitate dialogue, exchange knowledge and identify the key challenges faced by farmers. This would hopefully give scientists an idea of the real-world issues that farmers are faced with.

The session commenced with Kate Benfer and Scott Lewis giving a brief overview of the Darwalla business and then they moved into the topic of using biosecurity on farm and how important a biosecurity plan is and especially at the moment with avian influenza on the rise.

The discussion then moved into the world of nutrition. Alternative solutions for soybean was discussed and whether insect meal would ever be the answer. We came to the conclusion that more research would be needed for this to eventuate into commercialisation.

Kate and Scott from Darwalla had practical challenges that they encounter while the researchers offered scientific expertise and potential solutions. It was great to see the conversations happening between the farmers and the researchers and both parties gaining knowledge from the experience.

The next part of the session was then open to numerous questions. It seemed the most meaningful as both the farmers and researchers could ask each other whatever they wanted and nothing was off limits. It was great to see farmers clarifying issues in ‘the commercial world’ as compared to the world of research where the trials are only on a small number of birds. Both parties spoke about the importance of doing meaningful research that could be implemented into the farm on a regular basis.

The session fostered meaningful collaborations between researchers and farmers. Many participants expressed interest in continued engagement beyond the session. These collaborations hold the promise to bridge the gap between scientific research and on-the-ground farming practices, ultimately leading to a more sustainable and efficient poultry industry.

The researcher – farmer engagement session served as a platform for dialogue, collaboration and mutual learning. By bringing together diverse perspectives and expertise, the session laid the groundwork for future collaborations aimed at addressing pressing challenges in the poultry industry. As we move forward, sustained engagement between researchers and farmers will be crucial in driving innovation and fostering agricultural development that is both scientifically sound and socially impactful.

Carissa Anderson, PHA Education and Training Officer

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