The Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation and Angus Australia bring in new crop of interns

November 14, 2018 1:44 pm

Two Charles Sturt University (CSU) students with a passion for the beef industry are set to take part in an internship program offered by Angus Australia and the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation.

Mr Michael van Diggelen and Miss Rebecca Dean were selected from 18 high-standard applicants to be awarded $5,000 internships, co-funded by the organisations.

Mr van Diggelen, from Mudgee in NSW, is a third-year CSU Bachelor of Veterinary Science/ Bachelor of Veterinary Biology student.  Throughout his studies, Mr van Diggelen has gained experience across various aspects of beef production, working with Angus seedstock producers and commercial beef producers.  He is also currently President of the Veterinary Student Association at CSU.

Miss Dean, from Euroa in Victoria, is in her second year studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at CSU and her interest in the beef industry began on the family farm.  Miss Dean spent six weeks in the United States earlier this year, attending Texas Tech University where she worked on Australian research in meat laboratories.  She also coached the CSU team for the Intercollegiate Meat Judging Competition (ICMJ).  Miss Dean aims to continue her studies at CSU to complete her honours in 2020.

The joint program between the Graham Centre and Angus Australia allows the interns to be involved in the CSU co-operator herd as part of the Angus Sire Benchmarking Program (ASBP).  The interns will engage in the program by assisting with the Artificial Insemination (AI) of the CSU co-operator Angus herd and collecting calving details. They will also have a short-term placement at Angus Australia, and will be involved in major events such as the 2019 Angus Youth National Roundup and the 2019 Angus National Conference.

The project uses the CSU herd for cutting edge genetics research through generating progeny test data on modern Angus Bulls, generating data for the validation and refinement of Angus TACE and works to build a comprehensive phenotype and genotype Angus reference population for genetic analysis and cutting edge research and development.

Angus Australia Strategic Projects Manager Mr Christian Duff looks forward to working with both interns over the next 14 months.

“It is great to see such a high level of interest in the internship this year, and we look forward to having the two successful applicants, Michael and Rebecca, working with us over the course of 2018 and 2019,” Mr Duff said.

Acting Director of the Graham Centre, Associate Professor Marta Hernandez-Jover, said, “We’re pleased to be part of this internship program that’s building the capacity of the red meat industry by providing opportunities for young people to develop their research skills and knowledge.”

The interns will get their first taste of the program in late October assisting with the AI of the cattle in the CSU herd.

The Graham Centre is a research alliance between CSU and the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

Top image: Rebecca Dean & Michael van Diggelen

Interns wrap up their time in CSU and Angus Australia Internship

Angus Australia partnered with the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation to give two Charles Sturt University (CSU) students an internship, including involvement in the Angus Sire Benchmarking Program (ASBP).

CSU Bachelor of Veterinary Science student Ms Georgia Howell and Bachelor of Agricultural Science student Mr Jack Shultz took part in the internship during the spring calving period of the CSU co-operator herd as part of the ASBP.

The internship focused on the value of the scientific data collected through the program to beef breeding and production.

Mr Shultz gained a greater understanding of the value of recording data in terms of genetic selection.

“During the fortnight most of my spare time was spent on the Charles Sturt University farm, monitoring the calving so we can identify and weigh the calves to record the data,” Mr Shultz said.

“After being involved in the Benchmarking Project I can see the value of having accurate records of cows and calves in genetic selection.”

Ms Howell credits the experience for broadening her understanding of the beef cattle industry, the recording processes that are used in the ASBP, and how they help producers making more informed genetic decisions.

“Being part of this internship has helped me see all the work that goes in behind the scenes and the immense amount of data used to create Estimated Breeding Values (EBV), it’s not just a number there’s a sound scientific base behind it.

“One of my placements involved visiting a processor at Warwick, where I was able to see how the data is collected and put together, right from the steers coming in to the carcass data collection, meat samples, intramuscular fat (IMF) and chemical analysis.”

Christian Duff regards the partnership between CSU for the internship opportunity has a mutually beneficial experience, as it gives the future leaders of the industry the opportunity to learn about the progression of the genetic initiatives being implemented by Angus Australia.

 “It is of great benefit to these young students in agriculture to have a hand assisting in the monitoring, weighing and recording of calf data during herd calving.

“The Graham Centre and Angus Australia are pleased to have this internship in place for aspiring members of the beef industry to gain working experience through being exposed to elements of the ASBP.”