2019 Joint Award Winner
Shannon Speight (neé Landmark), joint winner of the 2019 award considers herself lucky not to have a 9 to 5 job every day. As coordinator of the Northern Genomics Project at the University of Queensland, her work focusses on improving genetic selection and reproductive technology, and sees her working with beef producers, beef extension officers from state governments, consultants and vets, and university researchers and scientists. Shannon coordinates the program which involves about 30,000 head across 54 properties in Queensland, NT and WA.
Some days she might be driving ten hours to get to a property, and other times she’s lucky enough to get flown out to collaborating farms and ovarian scanning cattle. In 2018 Shannon did a total of 36 different trips, covering over 60,000km. When she’s not on the road or in the yards she’s processing data, analysing it for reports and staying in touch with producers.
The goal of the project is to develop a DNA test that is suitable for northern Australian cattle, and achieving widespread adoption.
Shannon says, "fertility is one of the big drivers of profitability and productivity in the north so we need to focus on that a bit more. I'm really passionate about genetics and genomics and I'd love to see that through to adoption. I think it's a tremendous thing for our industry."
Shannon feels lucky to have learnt an incredible amount from each collaborator, researcher and scientist that she works, and knows that there’s plenty more to come.
Outside of work Shannon likes to tinker around with her own cattle, is an avid reader and runner. But after becoming a first time mum of son Fred just two days after being co-crowned with the title, she’s had to put those things on the back burner.
Shannon’s mentoring trip is scheduled to take place towards the end of 2019, where she’ll focus on increasing her knowledge of the entire beef supply chain in Australia, and understanding what end results drive the breeding and genetic selection. Intensive agriculture on both sides of the Tasman is another key area of interest for her.
When asked what winning the award means to Shannon, she said “I am still on a high from winning the award and it has opened up so many more opportunities than I ever thought possible. The PPP Group are a huge pool of mentors that are eager to help and impart their knowledge. It is without a doubt the most pivotal event in my career and I am really focused on making the most of every opportunity presented.”
Shannon along with her husband Luke and their two young sons base themselves between Brisbane and Mareeba in Far North Queensland.
In 2020 Shannon and Emma Black (2015 award winner) launched Black Box Co. a new cloud-based data collections service that could establish genomic beef predictions and improve on-farm productivity. Head to latest news for the presentation.