AS JUNE 30 draws closer to mark the final curtain for Sheep Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), holding the reins for all those two decades was described as a wonderful taxi ride.
Chief Executive Officer for all the 19 year extended life of the peak scientific research and technology body, James Rowe, used the taxi ride analogy in his final speech at the Sheep CRC Final Conference, Dubbo Regional Convention Centre last week to more than 200 attendees representing sheep and wool producers, scientists and producer researchers, plus commercial trade sponsors.
"Everybody who has contributed has done a terrific job. It's been a wonderful journey and not always a smooth ride, but we have enjoyed the company and importantly, ended up where we want to be, " Mr Rowe said.
"So thank you very much."
The success of the organisation was exemplified by 32 speakers during the two days covering genetics to genomics, meat, wool, precision sheep management, ram selection, digital forecasting, empowering future researchers (through Australian Wool Education Trust) and on-farm collaboration.
Mr Rowe sighted several highlights and achievements saying the first had been the strong industry engagement and the way the CRC work had grown over time.
"We've had industry leaders give us the focus, the relevance and the resources to get the job done," he said.
The second highlight was the "extraordinary synergy that's created by the effective teamwork that we've always had in the CRC".
One major achievement Mr Rowe advanced was the development of genomic technologies.
"The main point was the many proponents it has had," he said.
"Sure Julius (Prof Julius van der Werf) and his team has done a terrific job of the genetics designing, but it's really everybody who contributed to the information nucleus who should feel very proud of their contribution."
Mr Rowe said genomics brought in the key enabler that was not widely understood.
"The role of the electronic ID," he said. "If we hadn't developed the skills and expertise in using those technologies we would not have been able to collect the data that underpin the information nucleus and underpin the genomics program."
Mr Rowe pointed at two research outcomes of major significance.
Integrated approach to research across meat science, genetics, animal health and flock management, and the commercialisation of DNA testing and the creation of new digital tools as RamSelect and ASKBILL.
"These successes were built on industry engagement and the strength of collaborations between producers, processors, researchers, retailer and representative bodies participating in the Sheep CRC," Mr Rowe said.
In officially opening the conference, Sheep CRC's inaugural chairman, Ian Sinclair urged the industry to adopt the transformation technologies that had been achieved and delivered by the CRC.
"Looking forward, the future is something that's moving, it is dynamic. All in the industry must act to implement the findings of conclusions and implement further the recommendations and technologies that have emerged from Sheep CRC," Mr Sinclair said.
"Opportunities, not just to have a nice flock of sheep in the front paddock, but to actually make money. Because of Sheep CRC the producer, the processor and the consumer are and will continue to benefit."
Sheep meat and wool industries' mover and shaker, Roger Fletcher, told the conference the industry was now at the crossroads.
The managing director of Fletcher International Exports Pty Ltd, Dubbo, said the CRC had been doing a lot of '"blue sky stuff".
"These things take time to come through, but the future will see even greater successes," he said.