An Introduction to the Throughbred Research and Development Levy

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) successfully lobbied the Australian Government to introduce a matched thoroughbred research and development levy.

This levy started in breeding season 2017 and currently raises about $400,000 from breeders each year, which is then matched dollar for dollar by the Australian Government. In addition, Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Racing Australia have made contributions to the pool of funding.

This ongoing levy allows breeders to commission research that safeguards the long-term future of our industry. We are able to invest in projects that make a significant difference in areas such as the prevention and management of exotic and indigenous diseases; raising the conception rates of mares and stallions; improving foal health; as well as research into welfare, injury rates and industry modelling.

The levy is set at a rate of $10 per mare covered per season, paid by the stallion owner and $10 per mare returned per season, paid by the broodmare owner. These payments are made through the Australian Stud Book.  Additional voluntary contributions will compliment levies collected and be available for research investment and are also eligible for government matching.

TBA president Basil Nolan said the Levy scheme is a vital resource for breeders.

“Having almost $1 million to spend on research year after year on breeding will be very valuable. It gives our industry certainty and means we can develop research projects that will bring real benefits to all breeders,” he said.

“Up till this levy, spending on research has been sporadic and we’ve not been able to plan as a nationwide industry.”

The levy funds and projects are managed through the Australian Government’s agricultural research & development agency, Agrifutures Australia (formerly RIRDC).

An advisory panel has been appointed to determine where the fund will be best directed to in terms of delivering on the objectives of the levy.

The advisory panel is chaired by Professor Nigel Perkins from the School of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland. He is recognised nationally and internationally as a leader in the field of veterinary epidemiology.

The full list of panel members is:

  • Professor Nigel Perkins (School of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland) – Chairman
  • Jacqueline Stewart, (Keeper of the Australian Stud Book)
  • Dr Catherine Chicken (consultant to the Scone Equine Hospital on pathology and infectious disease)
  • Dr Judith Medd (Racing and Wagering Western Australia Industry Veterinarian)
  • Derek Field (Widden Stud General Manager)
  • Tas Rielley (owner/operator of Basinghall Broodmare Farm at Nagambie).

In early 2018, Agrifutures Australia released an interim Five Year Plan for the Thoroughbred RD&E Program. A copy of that plan is available by clicking here.

Full details of the levy can be found on the Agrifutures Australia website.