Ds Scholarship

Fertile fodder: Scholarship allows pasture research to continue

Lucerne research: Jessica Wyse is looking into the effect of lucerne on fertility in beef cattle.

A Charles Sturt University PhD student has been awarded a scholarship that will allow her to continue her research into the effect of lucerne on fertility in beef cattle.

Jessica Wyse is now 18 months into a Doctor of Philosophy (Animal and Veterinary Science).

She is working for another PhD project as a laboratory and working casually for Graminus Consulting while technician her research.

The research examines the effects of coumestans — a class of plant-produced oestrogens produced in response to plant stressor — in lucerne on the oestrous cycle, ovulation and conception rates of beef cattle through cattle trials, field trials and glasshouse experiments.

The findings will inform practices for pasture production, beef and industries and commercial hay producers.

Ms Wyse received the Tim Healey Memorial Scholarship through the AW Howard Memorial Trust Program, which fosters and supports pasture research throughout Australia.

The scholarship, worth $10,000 a year for up to three-and-a-half years, means Ms Wyse will be able to afford costs associated with her research, including equipment, drugs and consumables for the cattle trials, sampling and analysis, manuscript publishing costs, and travel.

Ms Wyse said having funding available for this type of research was vital because of the difference it could make in multiple agricultural industries.

“This is an area of ​​research that has had limited attention in recent years, especially with regards to cattle and lucerne, and falls between the specific areas of pasture production and livestock reproduction, so seeking scholarships to fund this type of research has been difficult, she said.

“It is important to have funding available and promotion for these types of projects, because it not only benefits cattle producers and lucerne growers, but it also provides information to fill in some of the unknown areas of cattle reproduction and provides information back to seed companies .”

The research team has also received a further $10,000 from the McCaughey Memorial Institute to go toward operational funds for the project.

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