Flow of info critical to tapping into genomics: Don Nicol

Flow of info critical to tapping into genomics: Don Nicol


Beef Week 2018
Dr Arthur Rickards, president of the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association, prevents cattle consultant Don Nicol with the prestigious R W Vincent Award at a gala dinner at Beef Australia in Rockhampton.

Dr Arthur Rickards, president of the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association, prevents cattle consultant Don Nicol with the prestigious R W Vincent Award at a gala dinner at Beef Australia in Rockhampton.

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Consultant Don Nicol receives ARCBA award.

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LEADING cattle consultant Don Nicol says the world of breeding and genetics is at an extremely dynamic point with major refinements in technologies coming down the pipeline.

Australia is in a strong position to capitilise on genomic opportunities, given its world-class evaluations.

The key, however, will be collaboration and ensuring information flows up and down the beef supply chain, he says.

The Brisbane-based consultant, Breedlink, has just been presented with a prestigious cattle industry award.

The RW Vincent Award, given by the Australian Registered Cattle Breeders Association for long term service to beef breeding, was handed to Mr Nicol at the Rabobank beef industry awards night held as part of Beef Australia in Rockhampton.

To make the most of the emerging groundbreaking genomics technology, commercial producers must be brought into the sphere in a major way to ensure they are across the impact of genetics and what it can do for their bottom line, Mr Nicol told Fairfax Media after receiving his award.

“In a perfect world, we’d have processors talking to feedlotters talking to producers talking to seedstock businesses, so information goes up and down the line and everyone at every stage can make better decisions,” he said.

“It’s something we need to work towards - more co-operation and sharing of priorities for characteristics and traits.”

ARCBA president Dr Arthur Rickards spoke about Mr Nicol’s tireless work in the field as he presented the award.

Mr Nicol cut his teeth on large-scale cattle production on a Vestey’s ranch in Venezuela; next stop was as a beef cattle adviser for the Queensland government in Bundaberg and then he

moved to Armidale to be the first field co-ordinator of the National Beef Recording Scheme, playing a role in the launch of Breedplan.

His corporate clients have included Angus Australia, Australian Agricultural Company, Westholme Wagyu, Meat and Livestock Australia, GeneSTAR, Genetics Solutions, Pfizer

Animal Genetics, Austasia, Nindooinbah, Stone Axe Pastoral Company and the San Patricio Group of Angus breeders in Argentina.

“He has contributed to ARCBA’s initiatives in a number of ways, including the genetics conference at Beef 2012, the proposed National Secretariat for export of genetic materials and the young breeders workshop and subsequent genomics conference last year,” Dr Rickards said.

Dr Rickards also took the opportunity to pay tribute to the award’s namesake, the first ARCBA president.

“Dick Vincent is a legend in the Western Australian pastoral industry, owning and managing 11 stations at various stages of his 70-year career,” Dr Rickards said.

“He has successfully bred a number of breeds, been a national and international judge, been world president of the Simmental breed and contributed to many industry organisations.”

Mr Vincent was unable to attend the Rockhampton event due to a health issue but sent a message, which Dr Rickards shared with the audience:

“The creation of the Vincent award is a very significant thing for me and something that I greatly value.

The Australian seedstock industry prior to the 70s existed under a yolk of tradition. Royal Shows were the benchmark of excellence and there was no genetic gain. Fortunately this has all changed now.

“The purpose of this award is to recognise and make public great achievers in the beef breeding industry. They have come from all walks of like and contributed in many different areas. I have been briefed on the 2018 winner and am delighted with ARCBA’s choice.”

The story Flow of info critical to tapping into genomics: Don Nicol first appeared on Farm Online.

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