The future of the Australian Lot Feeding sector is in very capable hands if the top three 2015 Phibro Young Lot Feeder Achiever Award (YLFAA) finalists are anything to go by. The YLFAA is currently in its 22nd year, with a long history of notable feedlot stalwarts having received the honour. The Award aims to identify and promote future champions of the feedlot industry, by asking them to recognise and find practical solutions to key industry concerns.
The finalists have been chosen out of a talent pool of 17 other young lot feeders. This year ALFA welcomed an Industry leader and ex-ALFA President, Malcolm Foster, to join the judging panel. A top six were selected from the 17 entries and were invited to an interview in Sydney and to meet with and present their essay to the ALFA Council in August. The top three were then selected to present their essay at ALFA’s BeefWorks Conference 2015 on September 23rd.
ALFA is proud to announce the following young lot feeders who are the top three finalists for 2015:
- Thomas Green, Jindalee Feedlot, NSW;
- Andrew Slack, Smithfield Cattle Company, QLD; and
- Jeff Schuller, Coonamble Feedlot, NSW.
The three finalists have provided some insight into their topics below:
Thomas Green (Jindalee Feedlot) – Drones
Thomas is currently the Operations Manager at Teys Australia’s Jindalee Feedlot outside Temora NSW. Thomas has chosen Drones and their potential commercial application in a Feedlot environment as his topic for investigation. Thomas says “Drones provide an avenue for improved efficiencies in feed monitoring, with the ability for 24 hour surveillance. Drones will enable closer monitoring of feeding patterns and even be beneficial in animal health monitoring. Whilst there may be some barriers to the commercial application of Drones at present, it will not be long before drones are common place in feedlots.”
Andrew Slack (Smithfield Cattle Company) – Utilising Olfaction for Animal Health Improvements
Andrew is currently a Trainee Manager at Smithfield Feedlot in Proston QLD. Andrew has chosen to investigate further the area of Olfaction and the possibilities of training dogs to detect sick animals before clinical symptoms present. Andrew says “dogs are currently being used in many fields of detection. Dogs are widely used in drug and explosive detection, but also a little less commonly known; they have been used in detecting cancers in humans. Andrew then went onto say “by using dogs as a health detection mechanism on a feedlot they can speed up identifying illnesses and the subsequent treatment processes.”
Jeff Schuller (Coonamble Feedlot) – Effect of Acclimation on Bulling
Jeff is currently the Assistant Manager at Coonamble Feedlot at Coonamble NSW. Jeff’s topic explores the effect of acclimation on bulling. Jeff identified bulling as a significant behavioural problem displayed amongst some steers and believes further research is needed in identifying why the behaviour occurs and what solutions are available. Jeff says “identifying the causes of bulling in steers is difficult as there are so many possibilities including use of HGP’s, improper feed management, pen density and weather, just to name a few.” Jeff believes boredom amongst these steers could be a major contributing factor and has undergone an acclimation trial on site in an attempt to find some answers.
The winner of the Phibro Young Lot Feeder Achiever Award 2015 will be given the opportunity to undertake a study tour abroad (valued at $5,000) and also be given the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills by participating in the TRAIL Program run by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation on an MLA/ALFA sponsored scholarship.
To hear more from these three exceptional finalists make sure you register for ALFA’s BeefWorks Conference held at Highfields near Toowoomba on September 23rd and 24th by going to www.feedlots.com.au