Boost for rural veterinary training and research

November 13 / 124

Dr Stephanie Bullen, resident at the Maffra Veterinary Centre studying roundworm drench resistance on dairy farms in the Macalister irrigation district and winner of the 2013 Rural Ambassador Awards.
Dr Stephanie Bullen, resident at the Maffra Veterinary Centre studying roundworm drench resistance on dairy farms in the Macalister irrigation district and winner of the 2013 Rural Ambassador Awards.

Victoria's dairy industry will receive a much-needed boost of skilled dairy veterinarians and industry-focussed research thanks to a unique training scheme led by the University.

The $1.4 million project comprises a residential training and research program that is a collaboration between the Faculty of Veterinary Science, the Gardiner Foundation, Dairy Australia and four rural veterinary practices.

The program aims to build and maintain veterinary capacity in the dairy industry through advanced clinical training of vets at some of Victoria's leading dairy veterinary clinics.

Participants will also pass on their learning by teaching and mentoring veterinary students from the University.

The four dairy residents will complete a Master of Veterinary Studies (by course work) and a Master of Veterinary Science over three years. 

During their studies they will be based at one of the four rural veterinary practices, where they will undertake on-farm research, develop whole herd management and extension skills, and provide day-to-day clinical services to dairy farmers.

The on-farm research in particular will complement industry initiatives by helping farmers improve animal health and welfare outcomes in their herds.

The project's long-term objective is to enhance veterinary capacity through training of the next generation of advanced dairy practitioners.

Professor Ken Hinchcliff, Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Science, said he hoped the project would help address the shortage in experienced dairy vet practitioners in rural Victoria.

"Rural practices are finding it difficult to attract and retain new graduates, and we've seen a gradual reduction in the number of local clinics staffed by experienced dairy vets," Professor Hinchcliff said.

"The training will allow our dairy residents to go on and become leading veterinary dairy practitioners and scientists, and leaders in innovation of veterinary services to the dairy industry.”

Project Supervisor, Dr Michael Pyman, Senior Lecturer in Dairy Cattle Medicine and Production said the rural training scheme let all veterinary students undertaking the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine gain first hand practical experience in dairy cattle medicine, in practices managed by dedicated and skilful practitioners.

"We see this world class training as crucial to maximizing movement of these students into dairy and rural practice after graduation, an outcome vital to the sustainability and productivity of our rural sector," he said.

Editorial Enquiries

Got a story?

Staff are encouraged to submit stories. There are some important steps in preparing a media-ready story.  Email musse-editor@unimelb.edu.au

Share/Save