Call for research into horse welfare, breeding, and a deeper understanding of the dollar value to further boost Australia’s thoroughbred industry


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Australia’s thoroughbred breeding industry is the second largest in the world, with over 650 stud farms located across the country. The industry is responsible for generating more than $1.16 billion to the Australian economy, and the thoroughbred racing industry contributes even more, injecting over $9.15 billion per annum. The AgriFutures Thoroughbred Horses Program’s new five-year plan for research and associated call for high-impact research projects will ensure that this industry continues to contribute socially and economically to Australia into the future.


To improve the sustainability, productivity and competitiveness of the industry, AgriFutures Thoroughbred Horses Program has released a new five-year plan to guide investment of the industry levy in research, development and extension (RD&E).

To support the launch of the new AgriFutures Thoroughbred Horses Program RD&E Plan 2022-2027 (the Plan), an Open Call has been announced, seeking research proposals aligned to at least one of the following strategies:

  • Projects that result in enhanced animal welfare best practice among thoroughbred horse industry participants, focusing on addressing recommendations from the Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Working Group report.
  • Technology and/or innovation to support natural mating techniques.
  • Improvements in breeding outcomes with a focus on pre- and post-natal care of mares, and birth of foals with a high likelihood of healthy development.
  • Understanding the economic contribution of the thoroughbred breeding industry to the Australian economy.

AgriFutures Thoroughbred Horses Program Manager, Annelies McGaw highlighted that it is critical for researchers to deliver proposals that target one of the four key strategies listed in the Open Call.

“The strategies highlighted in this call for research are the first areas for investment under the new Plan,” Annelies explained.

“Investing in projects aligned to these strategies helps to ensure that AgriFutures Australia provides research that is valued by the industry.”

Information session on Open Call
The Thoroughbred Horses Program is hosting a webinar on Monday, 13 March 2023 at 1pm (AEDT) to discuss the current Open Call. The webinar will provide an opportunity for researchers to ask Program Managers questions relating to the current Open Call and the research priorities.

“We believe in the power of great ideas, and we strongly recommend any one with an interest in submitting an application for funding as part of this Open Call to attend the webinar,” Annelies emphasised.

Those interested in attending the webinar can find more information at

The new RD&E Plan
Published in February this year, the Plan was developed through comprehensive industry and stakeholder consultation. The priorities for the new Plan are:

  1. Thoroughbred horse welfare, workforce safety and environmental sustainability
  2. Thoroughbred breeding
  3. Workforce, industry and community engagement
  4. Thoroughbred diseases and parasites.

AgriFutures Senior Manager, Levied Industries Amanda Olthof explained that the track to a new Plan was not a short trot.

“The new Plan was developed for industry, by industry. This process has ensured the research priorities are shaped to address the current and emerging demands facing the industry,” Amanda explained.

“Industry emphasised that thoroughbred horse welfare was the number one priority and that R&D in this space needs to focus on addressing recommendations from the Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Working Group report.”

“Workforce is a new priority for R&D, with industry highlighting that we need to invest in training and opportunities to attract and retain a skilled workforce, as well as develop new ways to build awareness and adoption of research outcomes and engage with stakeholders.”

AgriFutures Australia will continue to work with the thoroughbred horse industry to ensure its research priorities meet industry needs over the course of the five-year plan and that the organisation invests in knowledge that is impactful and adopted by end users.

For more information on the Open Call and webinar, please visit:

To read the AgriFutures Thoroughbred Horses Program RD&E Plan (2022-2027), visit:

All questions about the Open Call should be directed to the Coordinator, Research prior to 5pm (AEST) Tuesday, 4 April 2023. The Coordinator, Research will take questions via email or phone. A response, along with the question, will be posted in the Frequently Asked Questions section within 24 hours of receipt. Individual responses will not be provided.

Tasmin Rowe
Coordinator, Research
0437 811 347

AgriFutures Thoroughbred Horse Program Open Call closes 12noon (AEST) on Tuesday, 11 April 2023.

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