AgriFutures Australia is the trading name for Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC). AgriFutures Australia invests in research, leadership, innovation and learning to support industries that do not have their own research and development function, new and emerging industries, and the issues that affect the whole of agriculture.
2022 Scholarship winner
Combating pasture compaction to benefit horses, other livestock
Adam Williamson is driven to combat pasture compaction for thoroughbreds, saying there are benefits to horse health and profitability.
He will deepen his understanding of the topic thanks to a Nuffield Scholarship generously supported by AgriFutures Australia.
Adam is uniquely positioned to research ways to reduce compaction on these pastures. He is the farm manager at one of racing's ultimate thoroughbred operations, Vinery Stud, in Scone, NSW. Adam also designs and manufactures deep-tillage and feedlot specific equipment through the company Williamson Agri that he runs in partnership with his mother, Rosemary.
“I want to improve pasture management to support the long-term health of thoroughbred horses and the profitability of yearling sale animals through better bone and body structure,” Adam says.
“With my careers in thoroughbred horse stud management and tillage equipment manufacturing with Williamson Agri, I perceive a major constraint in equine pastures is compaction. Ground compaction leads to poor pasture production and quality, leading to negative structural outcomes for future racehorses.”
Adam says managing pastures for horses is different to managing it for other livestock. This is because one needs to consider not only weight gain but superior structure and function of horses.
“I believe that reducing compaction in pastures will help the wellbeing of animals through better bone development, leading to better results on the track and in the sale ring.”
Adam’s research could also benefit other animal pasture systems.
Thanks to the support of AgriFutures Australia, Adam plans to travel to the US, Ireland, France and Japan, which all have strong thoroughbred industries.
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