CQUNIVERSITY'S agriculture research team is going from strength to strength in the field of precision livestock management with the appointment of Associate Professor Mark Trotter.
Dr Trotter brings to the university an impressive track record in utilising sensor technology to better understand the grazing behaviour of livestock, allowing producers to overcome natural variation in soils, plants and animals to increase production.
His key areas of interest include developing biomass sensors for pastures, and location (GPS) and behaviour (IMU) sensors for animal monitoring.
"That's essentially about providing graziers with remote measurements of how much feed they have in the paddock and where and what their cattle are doing,” Dr Trotter said.
"It's very exciting to move north to Rockhampton and I can't wait to begin investigating how we can apply technology solutions to extensive tropical livestock production systems.”
Dr Trotter chose to move to CQUniversity due to its growing reputation as a world leader in the practical development of precision livestock technologies.
"There is some really significant work being done by the team here, which is being noticed by the global animal science community,” he said.
"CQUniversity also has a reputation for focusing on the research that will provide real benefits for producers and I was really keen to be a part of a team that has that sort of motivation.”
Since arriving in the Beef Capital Rockhampton, his first step has been to reach out to industry to better understand their needs in order to design research projects that will be relevant and make a difference to the lives of producers.
"I grew up on a dairy farm on the Mid-North Coast of NSW and have been working on the Northern Tablelands in sheep and beef, so I've got a lot to learn about these tropical production systems,” he said.
CQUniversity Precision Livestock Management Team leader Professor Dave Swain said Dr Trotter's appointment was aligned to addressing the beef industry's desire for new automated monitoring tools to improve productivity on large-scale properties.
"We are strongly focused on partnering with industry and commercial organisations in our research activities, and ensuring that research is translated into on-farm practice change,” Professor Swain said.
"Mark brings significant skills on both fronts. He is a really innovative agricultural educator, having developed unique industry-integrated teaching methods, which have been recognised by the Australian Office for Learning and Teaching.
"It speaks volumes that his students, both undergraduate and post-graduate, are keenly sought after by the research and commercial sectors.”
In the last two years he has spoken at 27 industry events, connecting with more than 1000 farmers and 500 industry professionals.
He played an instrumental role at the University of New England's SMART Farm, where he led a research group which received an Excellence in Research for Australia band 5 rating of "well above world class” for the Agriculture Land and Farm Management category.
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