Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) is to contribute A$200,000 to fund research and development for the breeding industry. The money will be placed into a new Thoroughbred R&D levy scheme and will be matched by the federal government when spent. By making the substantial donation, TBA will enable research projects to begin early in the coming financial year.
“This contribution will have an immediate impact as it means research can begin on issues that breeders know are important. The way the levy is collected, if we were to wait on the mandatory contributions, it is unlikely we’d be able to start projects until 2018,” said TBA president Basil Nolan.
Under the new levy, which was included in the recent federal budget and will be in place in the new financial year, breeders will pay $10 per mare and $10 per stallion return. This will raise about $400,000 per year, which will be put in the fund for R&D, with the federal government then matching every industry dollar.
It is expected that, with voluntary contributions, such as the money from TBA, some $1 million could be available to spend each year on research that benefits the Thoroughbred breeding industry.
Crucial to the industry
TBA is in the process of selecting the board that will oversee the spending of the funds, and there will be a strong representation of breeders to ensure the money goes towards projects that return real benefits to the breeding industry.
Tom Reilly, the chief executive of TBA, said: “Research into disease control, fertility and many other valuable areas is crucial to the long-term health of our industry.
“The board had discussed previously funding projects but, as we made progress with establishing a government-matched levy, it made sense to hold off so that the money TBA contributed to research was effectively doubled.
“I’d like to thank Racing Australia for their support as it is through the Australian Stud Book that the levy will be collected, and they have been working hard to ensure this is possible from a technology front.”
Such levy schemes are common in agriculture, with many areas of primary production, such as cotton, beef and grains, all receiving dollar-for-dollar funding from the government in this way.
Huge return for breeders
Among the areas likely to be the focus of research are the prevention and management of exotic and indigenous diseases, improving the conception rates of mares and stallions and efforts to reduce foetal loss caused by contagious diseases.
Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the levy will produce a huge return for breeders. “This levy will provide industry with greater certainty about available funding in future years and enable forward-year planning to deliver priority R&D for the benefit of the whole industry,” he said.
“The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences estimates a $12 return for industry from every $1 invested, which is good for industry, and good for those at the farm gate.”