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Beyond the Bale : December 2015
ON FARM 47 Eighteen-year-old Royce Pitchford started his own Corriedale stud three years ago. Eighteen-year-old Royce Pitchford of Echunga in South Australia owns his own Corriedale stud and is enthusiastic about breeding dual purpose sheep. He is the 2015 recipient of an Horizon Scholarship sponsored by AWI while he studies Agricultural Science at the University of Adelaide. A SINGLE FOCUS ON DUAL PURPOSE Having established and run his own Corriedale stud since 2012, 18-year- old Royce Pitchford from Echunga in the Adelaide Hills already has an impressive track record in the sheep industry. In July last year, while a student at Urrbrae Agricultural High School in Adelaide, he won the student section of the Young Guns competition at the LambEx conference. Two months later he won the Merino sheep young judges’ championship at the Adelaide Show and earned the right to represent South Australia at the national finals. Fast forward a year, and as well as running his stud ‘Lushford Corriedales’, Royce is now studying for a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at the University of Adelaide with career aspirations mainly based around sheep breeding. To help him develop into one of the next generation of agricultural leaders, he has received a 2015 Horizon Scholarship supported by AWI. Under the Scholarship, which is an initiative of the Rural Industries R&D Corporation, AWI is supporting Royce throughout the course of his undergraduate studies by providing him with a financial bursary and professional support in the form of mentoring, professional development workshops and industry placement. Royce says his interest in agriculture started when he was very young, spending holidays doing sheep work on his grandparents’ farm. “My commitment grew when I invested in 10ewesandaramin2009whenIwas12 years’ old. Two years later, I started my own Corriedale stud,” he says. “Currently I use Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) to achieve higher growth rates and higher reproduction rates whilst maintaining fleece type. “My long term aim is to also breed these sheep with a longer staple length so shearing can be done twice a year, to eliminate the need for crutching, and also to breed bare breeches so that tailing, mulesing and crutching aren't required. This aim isn't limited to the Corriedale breed; I would look for other breeds to contribute to this. “I am a member of Performance Corriedales, an Australian and New Zealand group recording animal performance, which has meetings at least twice each year. We work together to promote our sheep, promote the use of SheepGenetics figures to the industry and to use link sires across the group to improve the accuracy of our figures.” Although Royce focuses more on ASBVs when selecting stock for his stud, he maintains that visual selection is still an important skill to have. “I have been involved with showing sheep, mainly at the Royal Adelaide Show and the Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo, and over the past five years I have competed in state junior judging competitions for Merino rams and meat sheep. So I have a good appreciation of visual assessment.” While his career aspirations in agriculture are mainly based around sheep breeding, he also hopes to work in agribusiness and is interested in livestock nutrition and agronomy. He would also like to implement sustainable farming techniques on-farm to increase long term productivity of the land. Royce is grateful and excited about being part of the Horizon Scholarship program and the opportunity to improve his skills in leadership and communication, which will help him become an effective agricultural ambassador. “I believe the Scholarship will enhance my learning at university and put me in a position to be a leader in the industry. The work placements offered by the Scholarship and networking will also be of benefit to me as I expand my knowledge by learning from some of the best in the industry.” MORE INFORMATION Applications for 2016 Horizon Scholarships close on 30 January 2016. See www.rirdc.gov.au
In the Shops - March 2016