Industry bodies go head-to-head over research investments

MLA general manager Richard Norton says pressure from consumers and levy payers has forced the meat and livestock research body to lift its focus on wool investments.
MLA general manager Richard Norton says pressure from consumers and levy payers has forced the meat and livestock research body to lift its focus on wool investments.

A rift has opened between sheep and wool bodies, as Meat and Livestock Australia invests in wool-focused research and development projects due to a “lack of progress” by Australian Wool Innovation.

At Australian Sheep and Wool Show’s breeders’ dinner, MLA managing director Richard Norton said footrot, Ovine Johnes Disease and mulesing risk mitigation were priorities for the research and development corporation, after levy payers sought more investment.

“The sheepmeat side of the industry has a right to ask AWI what they are doing around productivity given about 50 per cent of Merino ewes are involved in lamb production and all Merino sheep end up in the meat industry. (MLA) gets 16.4 cents (for each sheep sold) against AWI’s 2pc wool levy – about $20 a bale.”

AWI chief executive Stuart McCullough was “disappointed” and said many of Mr Norton’s statements were “simply false”.