In November 2012, Grant Shackell from AgResearch Invermay attended the 15th Congress of the Asian-Australasian Association of Animal Production Societies (AAAP), supported by, and representing, the New Zealand Society of Animal Production.
At the end of 2011, the Congress venue (Thammasat University Campus in Bangkok) had been under floodwater up to 2 meters deep. Final exams and the start of the new semester were postponed 3 times and the University’s gymnasium, which was an evacuation centre early on, was itself subsequently evacuated. That this large Congress was held less than a year later is testament to an amazing clean-up operation.
The Congress brought together a significant gathering of researches and students from the South East Asian region and further afield. A total of 1420 delegates from 42 countries attended the Congress.
The presentations included 19 Plenary and invited papers along with 885 ‘other’ papers (344 oral presentations, 541 posters). With sessions on subjects as diverse as ‘Enhancing livestock organic farming’, ‘Nutrition and feed technology’, ‘Breeding and genetics’, ‘Feed science technology’ and ‘Management, welfare and environment concerns’, there was something of interest for every delegate. During one of eight concurrent symposia Mr Shackell gave an invited address on on ‘Animal selection, genetics and genomics for low carbon production’.
The Congress also featured a mid-Conference tour option. During the tour Mr Shackell visited an integrated smallholding of approximately 8 acres producing rice, vegetables, bamboo, pigs, eggs and chicken meat, ducks and fish. In addition, the farm had one working buffalo and another growing-on to eventually replace the working animal, which would then be eaten or sold.
A full social programme ensured that the delegates were always busy. The strong Thai love of music and dance ensured that the delegates were well immersed in local culture, including an opportunity to attend the annual Loy Kratong water festival.
In addition to the Conference, Mr Shackell attended the Meeting of the Editorial Board of the Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences on behalf of the New Zealand representative on the Board,
Immediately after the congress he visited the Ruminant Nutrition and Metabolism Centre, led Dr Metha Wanapat at Khon Kaen University in Northern Thailand, to view research facilities and speak to senior research students.
On his return to Bangkok, Mr Shackell presented a seminar and met with staff at the Thai Department of Livestock Development to discuss collaborations between the Department and New Zealand research institutions.