Sheep reproduction focus for Lefroy Fellow Research Seminar

04/05/2022 | 2 mins

New research on how oestrogenic compounds impact sheep fertility will be revealed at The University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture Lefroy Fellow 2022 Research Seminar on May 11.

The E.H.B Lefroy Research Fellowship was established through a bequest by Sir Edward H.B. Lefroy and his family for post-doctoral candidates to undertake agricultural research at UWA.

The seminar will be focused on research outcomes from the past 18 months of the Fellowship, including results from on-farm trials, multi-generational fly models and lab work across several institutes in WA.

Lefroy Fellow Kelsey Pool will explore how oestrogenic compounds in pasture change the ability of sheep to reproduce, how a commercially available neurohormone can impact twin-lamb survival, and where research is headed with monitoring the physiology of the ovine fetus.

Lefroy Fellow Dr Kelsey Pool in the field.Image: Lefroy Fellow Dr Kelsey Pool in the field.

“I am looking forward to sharing new research findings with the producers who are actually working with the animals and may have these problems in their properties,” Dr Pool said.

“For the broader community, this research really highlights just how complex agricultural systems are and that managing them is not a ‘sit back and watch’ sort of task.”

Dr Pool will speak about the oestrogenic compounds in pasture and their impact on sheep, as well as how these compounds could influence human fertility.

“There’s a lot I’m going to speak about, particularly regarding endocrine disruptors that are also relevant to human reproduction,” Dr Pool said.

“We do encounter phytoestrogens that can act as endocrine disruptors daily, so it’s worth being aware of it.”

Dr Pool said her team’s research into neurohormone uses and phytoestrogens could help increase yield per animal and contribute to the effort in making agriculture more eco-friendly.

“In the future, when we want to slow down climate change or reduce our contributions to climate change, we need to figure out how to make our agricultural systems more sustainable,” she said.

“Reproduction in animals and our livestock species is the foundation for that.

"We want better productivity for our producers, and we want better welfare for our animals, but we want to do it in a way that is also ensuring we have a future in agriculture."

Dr Kelsey Pool

Dr Pool said the generous bequest from the Lefroy family was crucial to her research.

“It has allowed so many people to come into the agricultural space, learn these skills, and apply them,” she said.

“The E.H.B Lefroy Research Fellowship has got history behind it, so it’s made it very easy to collaborate across industry and university institutions.”

The Lefroy Fellow 2022 Research Seminar is open to the public. Registration is essential via

Media references

Rosanna Candler (Communications Officer, The UWA Institute of Agriculture) +61 08 6488 1650

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