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Emma Lynch: Research from paddock to plate

Bridging the gap between scientists, industry and livestock producers is one of the things that motivates Charles Sturt University PhD student Emma Lynch.

Her research through the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation does just that- incorporating a paddock to plate approach to the use of canola meal as a grass-fed supplement for beef cattle.

“I have a keen interest in understanding how one aspect of production can affect the entire supply chain,” Emma said.

“Part of my research is investigating varying levels of canola meal for weaner calves looking at growth rates, dry matter intake, and the economic benefit.

“I’m also examining the carcase traits, meat and eating quality of steers fed canola meal on low quality roughages. As well as any impacts on ruminal function.”

Traditionally grain is used to supplement beef cattle but Emma said canola meal may provide an alternative that’s compliant with the Pasturefed Cattle Assurance System (PCAS), allowing producers to tap into price premiums.

“I hope my research will give producers the information they need make decisions based on the whole supply chain.

“Using canola meal as a supplement on poor quality roughages can increase the economic profitability by considering optimum inclusion rates, growth performance of weaners and finishing cattle, carcase and eating quality.”

Emma will talk about her research at the Graham Centre’s annual Livestock Forum being held online on Friday 31 July.

The Forum costs $10 to attend and you can register here https://bit.ly/3h7c7Yb

The path to research

Emma’s interest in agriculture was cultivated on the family farm at Bathurst in the Central West of NSW.

“I’ve always loved animals and a favourite childhood memory is looking after the poddy lambs, going above and beyond to make sure they would survive during the cold Bathurst winters by keeping them in the laundry with little jackets made out of old trackie pants!”

She studied at Bachelor of Animal Science at Charles Sturt University graduating with Honours in 2017.

A CSU Global tour of the beef and dairy industries in Japan in 2017 expanded my knowledge and sparked an interest in a research career,” she said.

“My Honours research project examined the growth rates and carcase data of steers fed either a grain based pellet or canola meal when offered low quality roughages.

“My supervisors have inspired me to link research outcomes to industry related issues.

“In southern NSW one of those issues is how to overcome the pasture feed gap and one option could be utilising canola meal, a by-product of the oil refinery process.

“I have undertaken a hands on approach to research and hope this can be adapted on farm.”

Emma said sharing her knowledge is one of the most rewarding things about her research.

“I supervise undergraduate students who undertake placement with me and have organised workshops for high school students as part of the Graham Centre’s Science and Agriculture Enrichment Day.

“It’s rewarding to teach students about my project and to see their interest in the agricultural industry.”

Emma hopes to continue to work in the red meat sector and pursue further research in ruminant nutrition, meat science and subsequent eating quality and the role the consumer plays in production systems.

Find out more about studying a Bachelor of Animal Science at Charles Sturt https://study.csu.edu.au/courses/animal-vet-sciences/bachelor-animal-science

Register for the Graham Centre Livestock Forum on 31 July 2020  https://bit.ly/3h7c7Yb

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