Young Farming Champions Danila Marini and Max Edwards bring the research to the farm

Many of our Young Farming Champions are pursuing career in research with Dr Danila Marini and Max Edwards choosing careers in the wool industry with a special interest in on-farm technology 
Max is a fourth generation sheep farmer who grew up in the paddocks and shearing shed of Catombal Park near Wellington.  He moved to the city to study a Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience at The University of Sydney, and employed emerging technology as the focus for his honours project. Using remote monitoring techniques Max set up an automatic, solar-powered weigh station on water points and trained sheep to walk across it. Their weights were recorded and matched to electronic tags in their ears, and the data was sent directly to his laptop. The project provided rich information on the factors affecting live-weight change in lambs. See the full story in The Land here. 
 

Max has long term plans to extend his honours research with a PhD and to branch into consultancy but for now is gaining real-world experience back on the family farm.  Surrounded by family members with diverse careers in the agriculture sector, Max and his father are making the most of the technology and expertise available to them to run their business to the optimum level.

 ‘My first year full-time on the farm has seen us cope with some out of left field animal health challenges and low rainfall but it’s been very rewarding to work with my family to build business resilience.’    

The challenges of running a family business will hold Max in good stead for his future plans and give him credibility in the world of consulting, allowing him to fuse the academic and practical aspects of agriculture.

Danila is originally a city kid whose first interaction with agriculture was as a 9 year old and her family bought a small property and started a little hobby farm where they had chickens, cattle, sheep and goats. Danila had always loved animals and attributes the hobby farm to sparking her interest in agriculture. The agriculture sector will be forever grateful she answered the call to country.

After finishing her PhD at UNE,  Danila is putting her expertise into developing technology to get the best outcomes for animals and farmers 
Below is a story on Danila’s latest work with virtual fencing for sheep. This story first appeared in the Stock Journal.  UNE researcher to discuss training sheep to virtual fences
University of New England post-doctoral fellow Danila Marini will be a guest speaker at the Angaston Ag Bureau hogget competition, on training sheep in virtual fencing systems.

 University of New England post-doctoral fellow Danila Marini  was guest speaker at the Angaston Ag Bureau hogget competition, on training sheep in virtual fencing systems.

Sheep can be trained to remain within virtual fencing systems in the same way as cattle, according to University of New England post-doctoral fellow Danila Marini.

That is the promising early result the NSW based Uni and CSIRO has found, with sheep wearing collars responding to audio cues within three to six interactions.

Dr Marini  was a guest speaker at the Livestock E-Technology for Natural Resources Management seminar, held by the Angaston Agricultural Bureau and the Society for Precision Agriculture Australia, on Friday March 23.

She is part of a team of researchers working on the three-year virtual fencing project and hopes to develop ethical training protocol for sheep.

She says Agersens is close to commercialising the technology in cattle, but far less is known about the ability to train sheep to remain within the electric fields.

The biggest challenge for sheep will be developing an ear tag or other device to deliver the electrical stimulus.

“Australia has a lot of Merinos which grow wool so a collar won’t work by itself ,’ she said.

Dr Marini’s project is now turning to finding the optimal percentage of the flock which will need collars for effective fencing,  and also whether lambs can be trained with their mothers.

Danila also outlined a couple of other projects she is involved; one in SA with the Department of  Agriculture and Water Resources looking at using virtual collars on sheep for weed management and another with Dairy Australia looking at grazing management of dairy cattle.

The team at Art4Agriculture gets a huge buzz from following the career journeys of our Young Farming Champions. We thank our supporting partners for investing in them
_2017 Supporting partners Capture

Author: Picture You in Agriculture

The world needs creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. We know that youth may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. The time is now to let them share their dreams and design the future they want to see.

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