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Sarah Bolton – 2018 Nuffield Scholar

Sarah Bolton from Southgate in New South Wales received a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Dairy Australia and the Australian Dairy Conference. Sarah researched how best to increase the value of non-replacement dairy calves in order to maintain public trust in the dairy sector while simultaneously creating financial opportunities for producers.

Every year, an estimated 400,000 ‘bobby’ calves leave Australian dairy farms for processing at a young age. The practice, along with the separation of calves from their dams, is coming under increasing scrutiny from the general public. At the same time, interest has grown within Australia’s dairy beef industry in opportunities to rear a larger percentage of bobby calves for beef. Sarah believes that increasing the inherent value of non-replacement calves would help address public perceptions as well as contribute to diversification of farm outputs.

Sarah studied ways in which other countries have worked to preserve the dairy sector’s social license to operate by realizing the value potential of non-replacement dairy calves. She also investigated the issue of cow-calf separation and the potential benefits or challenges associated with systems that rear dairy calves on their dams.

Sarah and her partner Andrew are based on the NSW North Coast where they run dairy beef steers and a small herd of Jersey cows. Sarah also works full-time for the NSW Government as the local District Veterinarian where her work focuses on animal health, welfare and bio-security.

Sarah said there is a push from the livestock industry to improve the management of bobby calves. “With the broader livestock sector coming under increasingly high levels of scrutiny from the general public, it is vital that we continue to find practical, achievable ways to satisfy community expectations, prioritise the care of our animals and provide new market opportunities for producers,” Sarah said.

For her research tour, Sarah visited The United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Denmark, Italy, The United States, Canada and New Zealand.

Phone: 0427 049 664
Scholarship report click to download
Media profile click to view
Verbal presentation watch video

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