Precision Livestock Management (PLM)

CQUniversity’s Precision Livestock Management (PLM) team is recognised as an international leader in the field of tropical livestock research.

Located in the heart of the northern beef industry, our research team is headquartered in the Beef Capital Rockhampton, with access to state of the art laboratory facilities as well as the renowned Belmont Research Station for field trials.

With strong links to industry, and producer participation in our trials, our research program has a strong emphasis on being relevant to industry needs and delivering practical solutions to the challenges producers face.

Our area of speciality is the use of cutting edge technology to automatically gather phenotypic data such as animal liveweight, pregnancy status and parentage, as well as improve the understanding of animal behaviours, all with a view to improving on-farm profitability and productivity.

Data gathered by CQUniversity’s PLM program is already supporting the cattle industry’s genetic research, assisting in the identification of animals which are more productive and fertile.


Through our ‘DataMusterTM’ app, producers can make more informed management decisions, such as quickly and easily identifying animals ready for market or those which may have health problems.

The system has been shown to reduce on-farm labour costs by automatically monitoring animal growth rates and access to water.

Our PLM team members are also supporting the long-term development of the industry by sharing their knowledge with students enrolled in CQUniversity’s Bachelor of Agriculture. This course is unique in its combination of higher education, vocational training, research engagement and industry extension, and has been designed to provide students with the right mix of practical, skills-based training and exposure to the latest research and technology.

CQUniversity's Precision Livestock Management team conducting research in the field of tropical livestock. Transcript

Specialist research skills in:

  • Tropical livestock breeding and management
  • Animal behaviour, including social networks, water/plant/animal interactions
  • Genetic phenotyping for current and new traits using new and automated methods of measurement
  • The interaction of phenotypic performance with nutrition and wellbeing
  • Automated data capture and analysis
  • Sensors and digital technologies for the enhancement of whole of system management
  • Education and extension, with all projects including a communications component.

The Central Queensland Livestock Centre of Excellence is a newly formed research partnership between CQUniversity Australia, AgForce Queensland, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) and the Qld Agricultural Training Colleges (QATC).

Our focus is to:

  • deliver improved on-farm productivity and practice change
  • work with producers in designing and undertaking R&D activities
  • specialise in digital technologies to boost herd management, genetic performance and financial literacy.

We are unique in our ability to bring together the industry’s first integrated group of beef research sites in Central Queensland, encompassing the cattle production chain from stud, breeder and finisher operations and headquartered in the Beef Capital of Rockhampton.

Our research activities are framed by extensive producer engagement and projects are designed to include producer participants to guarantee the relevance of our solutions and encourage adoption.

Trials are conducted at our world-class laboratories at CQUniversity and at four research stations located at AgForce's 'Belmont', Rockhampton; and QATC's 'Berrigurra', Emerald, 'Narayen', Mundubbera, and 'Rosebank', Longreach.

These stations act as research 'hubs' in our 'hub and spoke' model of working with producers in developing and extending new technologies onto real-world farm businesses. The hubs also link with RD&E activity at the AgForce-owned and DAF-managed Brian Pastures facility near Gayndah and the DAF-owned Spyglass facility near Charters Towers.

Producers are involved from the start with producer-owned cattle used during proof of concept phase at the 'hubs', before technologies are deployed to private 'spoke' properties which act as remote demonstration sites for cattle communities to test systems in their own environments.

Belmont Research Station

Owned by producer-group AgForce, the 3260-hectare “Belmont” is located 37km north of Rockhampton on the Fitzroy River. It delivers a unique collaborative approach by providing the ideal environment for research into livestock production in the tropics and sub-tropics of northern Australia, along with facilities for research and education. The station’s research and breeding program officially began in 1953 to develop new tick-resistant cattle breeds to replace the British Hereford and Shorthorn cattle herds, which then dominated grazing in northern Australia.

Central Queensland Innovation Research Precinct (CQIRP)

This facility originally opened in 1981 as the CSIRO JM Rendel Laboratories with work focussed on the tropically adapted cattle breeding. The labs operated in conjunction with CSIRO’s field research at nearby Belmont Research Station. They were named after James Meadows Rendel who moved from England to Australia in 1951 to join CSIRO and was appointed Chief of the Division of Animal Genetics in 1959. The JM Rendel labs closed in 2009 following Federal funding cuts to CSIRO. In 2011, CQUniversity invested $6M to purchase the facility and restore it to working order, with work focussed on agriculture, water and environmental management. A further $2.8M has since been invested in refurbishing and equipping the CQIRP precinct, including two new wet labs and two new dry labs, and back-up power to provide an emergency response centre for the campus.

'Berrigura', Emerald and 'Rosebank', Longreach

“Berrigurra” is a breeding and finishing property forming part of the Emerald Agricultural College. The 9300ha property is located 20km west of Blackwater and borders the McKenzie River. It runs a Belmont Red composite herd, consisting of more than 800 breeders and followers. Breeding outcomes are focused on fertility, adaptability to the environment, growth rates and producing high performing steers to be finished at the college feedlot. The herd at “Berrigurra” is regarded as being in the top 10% nationally, with >92% weaning rates consistently achieved. Further west, ‘Rosebank’ forms part of the Longreach Pastoral College, which specialises in intensive and arid zone livestock production (both beef and sheep).

PLM team member checking an animal in the bush