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Media release. Robert Webb. 2015 Scholarship winner

Media release. Robert Webb. 2015 Scholarship winner

Robert Webb, from Tarana in New South Wales, has been awarded a prestigious Nuffield Scholarship supported by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).

He will study the use of fire as a native pasture management tool.

Robert’s family owns and operates a seventh-generation fine wool Merino production and beef property. Spread across two properties totalling 1190 hectares, they run approximately 2000 fine wool Merino breeding ewes, 1500 fine wool Merino wethers, 700 prime lamb-producing ewes and 150 beef (Shorthorn Hereford cross) breeding cows. He assists his partners with financial planning and benchmarking of the business.

Robert, along with his brother Hugh, also runs Denhine Pty Ltd, a business managing investment and small acreage farms across Central Tablelands.

Fire rejuvenates native pasture and makes it more productive, which in turn can benefit woolgrowers by improving profitability through increased fleece weight and staple strength.

Robert will visit wool producing countries, as well as other grazing enterprises, to gain further knowledge of the use of fire as a grazing management tool for improving native pasture productivity.

“In particular, I’ll investigate the effect of wildfire on both pasture production and soil health, plus the impact of wildfire and associated temperature on different soil types.

In addition, I’d like to study the nutrient contribution of ash, the effect on microbial activity on burned soils and the recovery potential of native versus introduced species in an agricultural environment,” he explains.

Robert will visit Indonesia, USA, Russia and Greece to complete his studies.

AWI is proud to continue its involvement with Nuffield by offering a specific wool-focused scholarship.

“It is a unique opportunity for a woolgrower to study a particular subject of interest, and increase practical farming knowledge, management skills and techniques in the Australian wool industry.

Previous Nuffield Scholars have contributed significantly to our knowledge of our industry,” says AWI CEO Stuart McCullough.

Nuffield Australia is an organisation which provides an opportunity to Australian farmers to travel overseas on an agricultural research scholarship. It is a 16-week program consisting of both group and individual travel. The next groups will be travelling through New Zealand, Brazil, USA, Mexico, the UK, South Africa, Kenya and Europe in March-April 2015.

Robert is available for interviews to talk about his planned study.

keystone@ix.net.au  Mobile: 0409 326 350

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