Veterinary expertise boosts school sheep stud

29 AUGUST 2018

Charles Sturt University (CSU) vets have put their expertise to good use, helping Kooringal High School in Wagga Wagga develop its sheep breeding program.The school’s award-winning Poll Dorset flock now has three new lambs, thanks to an artificial insemination (AI) program made possible by the work of Dr Allan Gunn and post graduate research student Dr Liz Jones from the CSU School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.Dr Gunn said, “The school wanted to show their agriculture students that advanced reproduction techniques, such as synchronisation and AI, is an option to breeding in both the cattle and sheep industry. The animal reproduction unit from Charles Sturt University had synchronised and bred the school Jersey cow earlier in the year, and then bred the ewes with semen donated by a Poll Dorset stud.“Supporting our regional communities is an important part of the University’s ethos. We are pleased to showcase our expertise and enthusiasm to a new generation of agricultural scientists, to encourage sustainable and welfare friendly production of food in the future.”Kooringal High School agriculture teacher Mr Stephen Reynolds said, “Charles Sturt University has been invaluable for our agricultural department over the last few years with their veterinary skills and a willingness to educate our students about reproduction techniques associated with Artificial Insemination.“This association has been instrumental as a teaching tool for myself and as a learning objective for our senior students. Reproduction techniques are part of the two unit senior agriculture curriculum and this has given students the opportunity to see it first-hand,” Mr Reynolds said.A veterinarian, Dr Jones is studying for her professional doctorate and her research is focused on reproduction in sheep, specifically the impact of a hormone found in the gut of the animals.“Taking part in this program was an opportunity to link the theory with real life practice and to be able to develop my skills in advanced reproductive techniques such as laparoscopic AI,” Dr Jones said.“My research is examining a hormone produced in the gut called GLP-1, in sheep. It is a hormonal signal that suppresses appetite in response to feed intake.“We suspect it also influences reproduction, but very little research has been done on this possible link, and none in ruminants.“A better understanding of this relationship may will shed light on why underfed animals have poorer fertility than those that are well-fed and in good condition.“This research is also of interest to human health, as the obesity epidemic has led to GLP-1-like drugs being used for weight management, including in people of child-bearing age, with little information on its relationship with reproduction and fertility.”Dr Gunn and Dr Jones are members of the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, a research alliance between CSU and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).The Veterinary Clinical Centre (VCC) at CSU provides animal reproductive services including semen examination, artificial insemination, embryo transfer and infertility investigations.

Media Note:

Media are invited to get footage and interviews with Dr Liz Jones from CSU, agriculture teacher Mr Stephen Reynolds and Kooringal High School students at 10 am on Thursday 30 August, at Kooringal High School, Zeigler Avenue, Kooringal. Meet at the school office.

To attend contact Graham Centre Partnerships and Engagement Manager Ms Toni Nugent 0418 974 775 or email

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