Australian Free Range Layer Research Boosted with New Facilities

AUSTRALIA - The University of New England is now delivering state-of-the-art free-range research facilities at its Laureldale Poultry Research Farm, which also caters for research into cage and barn systems.
calendar icon 25 August 2015
clock icon 3 minute read

The need for free-range layer research is rapidly expanding as the sector grows in Australia, according to the Poultry CRC.

Laureldale Research Station, a stone’s throw from the main UNE campus in Armidale, is an almost perfect location for free-range research in cooler South-Eastern Australian climates.

Having long ago been configured for cage layer research and, later on, barn research, the refit sees Laureldale able to deliver on the ever growing demand for free-range specific research, which will tackle the problems of moving layers out of environmentally controlled cage sheds and back onto pasture, with accompanying parasite, disease and nutrition challenges.

One of the significant benefits is the ability to investigate the effects of different stocking densities on both the birds and the range simultaneously by having a set of ranges and accompanying housing.

Laureldale’s refit could not have happened without the very valuable assistance of the NSW State Government through its State Leveraging Fund, under a project entitled “Upgrading UNE’s Poultry Research Facilities”.

Led by Professor Steve Walkden-Brown, the project, as previously reported in other eChook stories, assisted UNE to upgrade its laboratories, establish a world-class closed circuit calorimeter facility for nutrition research, and build industry standard educational and research facilities at Laureldale.

Much of the credit for completing the work at Laureldale, however, goes to two young postdoctoral scientists, Dr Isa Ruhnke and Dr Dana Campbell, who, in close collaboration with their colleagues from the CSIRO McMaster Laboratory based in Chiswick, near Armidale, managed to bring Laureldale into a buzzing hub of exciting poultry research.

As Poultry CRC Commercial Manager, Lloyd Thomson, said: “These facilities complement other layer research facilities at The University of Sydney’s Camden campus, The University of Queensland’s Gatton Campus and the SARDI’s Roseworthy Campus. All of which will be needed as the free-range sector expands across Australia.”

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