Young Professionals in Agriculture Forum champions UWA graduates research

15/03/2023 | 3 mins

The University of Western Australia graduate Georgia Welsh is the 2023 recipient of the Young Professionals in Agriculture Forum Noel Fitzpatrick medal.

Four up-and-coming young scientists profiled their UWA research at the annual forum, hosted by Ag Institute Australia (WA Division) and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

The medal, honouring former Department of Agriculture Director General Noel Fitzpatrick, was presented to Ms Welsh for her Masters sheep research at UWA.

Georgia WelshImage: 2023 Noel Fitzpatrick medallist Georgia Welsh.

Ms Welsh investigated an algorithm to predict water intake and drinking behaviour in sheep map, using a measured drop in rumen temperature from a rumen temperature logger.

The formula was developed using water temperature and body mass to calculate an effective rumen volume, which could be applied to a thermodynamics equation to predict water intake volume and frequency.

Ms Welsh said further investigation was required to test the equation in a paddock scenario, where water temperature and volume cannot be controlled.

In 2022, she was among three inaugural recipients of the WA Livestock Research Council scholarship program.

UWA Environmental Science Masters graduate Charlize van der Mescht surveyed 514 Australian beekeepers on the adoption of management practices to reduce the risk of the bee disease American foulbrood.

Charlize van der MeschtImage: Charlize van der Mescht in her beekeeping suit.

Ms van der Mescht, now an Albany-based environmental consultant, also surveyed beekeepers’ ability to detect American foulbrood.

While the results showed that Australian beekeepers employed good biosecurity practices, adoption could be improved by formal online training and incorporating more biosecurity content into face-to-face education.

Victoria Guthrie moved from New South Wales to complete her Masters in Environmental Science at UWA on recreational fishing for sharks and rays from shore, surveying 310 fishers on shore based recreational fishing.

Victoria GuthrieImage: Victoria Guthrie pictured on the coast.

Ms Guthrie’s research found fishers did not frequently target sharks or rays, rather preferring more sustainable species caught with safe equipment, such as a circle hook.

Age and fishing experienced influenced fishers’ behaviours and attitudes, with the study concluding that shore based fishers do not present a significant threat to shark and ray conservation in WA.

UWA Bachelor of Science graduate Chloe Rout’s honours research was designed to assist farmers when deciding whether to reseed hybrid canola when plant densities are below optimal.

Chloe RoutImage: Chloe Rout conducting her research at The University of Western Australia.

Ms Rout, who grew up at Gairdner near Albany, found hybrid canola plants grew larger and produced more tertiary pods per plant, when plant density declined to five plants per square metre.

However, the number of pods and yield per unit area decreased when the density fell below 15 plants per square metre, suggesting a limit on yield compensation below this level – despite well above average rainfall.

DPIRD Chief Scientist Primary Industries Development Ben Biddulph – a previous forum winner – commended the forum participants on the clarity of their presentations and the importance of their research.

“These early career scientists each demonstrated their enthusiasm, passion and commitment to their research and aspiration to further agricultural and marine science in Western Australia,” Dr Biddulph said.

“The next generation of professional scientists have a clear focus on the future and the need for research to pursue food and fibre production that meets current and future Environmental Social Governance requirements.

“I am pleased to see the forum continuing to champion our young scientists and I wish all of this year’s applicants all the best in their future careers.”

Media references

Megan Broad/Jodie Thomson, DPIRD media liaison +61 08 9368 3937

Share this

Related news


Browse by Topic

Cookies help us improve your website experience.
By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.