Aust thoroughbred research plan under starter’s orders

Foal development and health is one of the goals of the AgriFutures Australia Thoroughbred Horses program.
Foal development and health is one of the goals of the AgriFutures Australia Thoroughbred Horses program.

Research proposals are being called for to address the priorities of the Australian thoroughbred industry under a new program by AgriFutures Australia.

The AgriFutures Australia Thoroughbred Horses program became a levied industry in September 2017, and is expected to collect $400,000 from the industry per annum. Its aim is to support priority research, development and extension activities to address thoroughbred industry challenges and opportunities.

The open call is a first for the new program, which has recently established a five-year Interim Thoroughbred Horses RD&E Plan.

Research and Innovation Program Manager Dr Melanie Bradley said the call for research proposals was a chance for the program to identify and fund research that addresses critical issues for Australian thoroughbred breeders, such as improving foal health and development, reducing the impact of diseases and parasites on horse health and performance, and improving horse welfare.

The AgriFutures Thoroughbred Horses program is looking to fund research addressing one of the short-term goals specified under the six objectives in the RD&E Plan:

  1. Continue to improve breeding outcomes and foal health and development
  2. Reduce the incidence and impact of diseases and parasites in horses
  3. Improve the safety of industry participants and the welfare of horses and enhance the sustainability of the industry
  4. Promote education and training for the horse industry through opportunities for training researchers and by effective communication of RD&E to horse industry stakeholders
  5. Industry planning, economic benefit studies and market research
  6. Reduce injury and breakdown of horses in work and training.

The Australian thoroughbred industry is a world leader with 21,500 broodmares and 700 stallions – second only to North America in terms of numbers.

Researchers are advised to contact AgriFutures Australia before submitting a Preliminary Research Proposal. The call closes 5pm on February 19.

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