Researcher in Industry – Dr Kelly Drake

Dr Kelly Drake from Poultry CRC partner SARDI has, with the aid of a ‘Researcher in Industry’ grant from the CRC, commenced a series of one-week industry placements with egg producers. During this time Kelly aims to:

  • Gain a comprehensive overview of the various issues impacting the layer industry,
  • Gain an understanding of different producers views from large and medium scale farms,
  • Up-skill and increase her knowledge of the poultry industry on a broad range of industry issues, and
  • Develop networking opportunities with industry representatives.

Kelly’s first placement (16-20 March) was with Days Eggs at Two Wells in South Australia. Over the coming five months she will visit other egg producing companies, each for a period one week. This will take her out of South Australia to include Western Australia and Tasmania. Kelly outlined the reasoning behind her desire to undertake these visits, and the benefits to industry and researchers of such placements.

“They say you need to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes to understand that person’s journey” said Kelly.  “So, here begins my journey to understand the Australian layer industry. I began my journey last week on a large commercial layer farm with a variety of production systems including pre-enriched cages, barn and free range, and  rearing  facilities. My poultry production experience was in the UK so having a ‘sticky-beak’ into the layer industry in Australia is essential. As a research scientist it is critical for me to understand the major challenges and issues facing industry. I am very keen to support producers by undertaking research which leads to benefits to the industry, particularly in regard to layer welfare”.

According to Kelly the major benefits of being afforded this opportunity include direct contact with farmers and staff, relationship development, insight into the challenges and issues affecting producers (small, medium and large scale) and a greater insight into all sectors of the industry. “But this isn’t just a one-way relationship; there are benefits on both sides” Kelly assures. “Researchers who are in tune with industry concerns and challenges can only be beneficial, and will help to resolve industry problems to improve industry growth. There is a need to develop alternative approaches to address those challenges, as we know that one strategy may not suit all. This first foray on-farm is only the start of my journey and I’m looking forward to the next five months and what each visit will open my eyes to”.

“With demand for safe, sustainable, efficient and welfare friendly food, there will always be a need for open communication between farmers, researchers, funding bodies, Government, consumers and retailers – how we move forwards to do just this – starts with these conversations”.

For more information regarding the CRC’s Industry Internships and Early Career Support program, please click here.

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