RESEARCH AT AVONDALE.
New Laboratory Opened.
T be present at the launching of what will become an unrelenting scientific at tack upon certain of the farmers* enetnre and especially upon the braxy-like disease of sheep, politicians, scientists, represent tives of local governing bodies and farmers from, many parts of the central and Great Southern districts assembled at the Avon dale State Farm, near Beverley, on Satu day. The occasion was the opening by tb Minister for Agriculture (Mr. P. D. Fer- guson) of the new laboratory which has just been erected aud equipped at a cost of £1,500, jointly contributed by the Stat (,£800), the Commonwealth Council of Scientific and Industrial Development (£500) and residents of Beverley and sur rounding districts I £200}. In addition t the Minister, there were present Messrs V. Haamersley, H. J. Yelland and J. Nic- holson, M's-L.C, Mr. J. I. Mann, ML A the Director of Agriculture (Mr. G L Sutton) and numerous departmeuta officers; Mr. H. W. Bennetts, of the Coun cil for Scientific and Industrial Research who has been engaged for several season on work in connection with the Braxy-like disease; Mr. B. Perry, chairman, and Mr L. W. Phillips, secretary of the West Aus tralian section of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research; the chairman o the Beverley Road Board (Mr. F. McDon ald), who is also president of the local Braxy-like Disease Committee, and Messrs A. J. Monger, M. T. Padbury and E. H B Lefroy.
Mr. Bennetts, under whose control the research work will be conducted by a resi- dent staff consisting of Messrs. R. Harley M.H.C.V.S.. and F. F. Allsop, B.Sc., saie that for three reasons be was pleased that the laboratory was on the Avondale farm In the first place the people of Beverley had inspired the idea, secondly, he was sure of tbe co-operation of the residents ol the district, and thirdly, the work done at the farm would be done under conditions representative of a large area of the Great Southern country. Outlining the work to be undertaken, Mr. Bennetts said that already investigation had shown that the cause of the disease was an excessive growth of the soil germ, bacillus welehii, in the small bowel contents of afiVeted sheep. These bacteria produced a poison, to the absorption of which death was due. The cause of the disease being known the work at Avondale would be directed to- wards a discovery of the factors of soil and pasture that favoured tbe excessive growth of the organism. There wera on the farm about 1,000 experimental sheep running on different types of pastures re- presentative of those used generally in the district. Periodical chemical analyses would be made of the soils and the pas- tures in an attempt to correlate the inci- dence of the disease with those factors aa it was boped to be able to check the dis- ease by suitable treatment and manage- ment of pastures. Experiments were also being carried out to determine the value of a vaccine in the prevention of the dis- ease. Although primarily intended for work in connection with the braxy-like disease, tbe laboratory would be used for other purposes such as the investigation of the action of poison plants upon sheep, and, possibly ÍD connection with the red legged earth mite. The Council for Scien- tific aud Industrial Research would also probably use it to carry out researches into animal nutrition. In conclusion. Mr. Bennetts thanked all those who had work- ed for the establishment of the laboratory, and trusted that the outcome of the re-
searches would be of considerable benefit to
the district and the State.
Mr. Sutton declared that the opening of I the laboratory justified the action of the department three or four years ago in establishing the farm for experimenta) pur-
Mr. McDonald welcomed the Minister and other visitors, expressed the gratified tion of the Beverley Road Board and the Braxy-like Disease Committee at tbe estab- lishment of the laboratory, and hoped that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research would be able to make further funds available to extend the experimental
Mr. Ferguson, in formally declaring the laboratory open, boped that the work to be carried out there would enable the de- partment to tell the farmers not only bow affected sheep might be cured, but bow sheep not affected might be saved from at- tack. Apart from the pure research work from Wagin to Coorow had been inoculât* to be undertaken something like 3,000 sheep
ed experimentally in an effort to check the ravages of the disease.
Mr. Monger said that in the braxy-like disease, the red legged earth mite and the lucerne flea the laboratory would have more than enough work to cope with. He was thankful to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research for what it bad already done and for what it would do in the future.
Mr. Perry dealt briefly with the research work being carried ont in Australia by or in conjunction with the council. That body had elaborate laboratories at Can- berra. Its policy, however, was not to en- gage directly in research work in the difier ent tSates, but rather to assist and intensi- fy the work that waB being carried out by State departments and other instil ii'.ions. Mr. Perry paid a tribute to Australian scientists without whom, he said, a labora- tory would be but an empty shell. Such men won no cheers, but their discoveries, though seldom spectacular, were often of far-reaching importance.
After Alessrs. Hamersley, Yelland and Mann had spoken, the visitors inspected the small, but well equipped laboratory which is of brick, approximately 40ft. long by 14ft. wide, divided into three rooms for chemical, pathological, and post mortem work, and fitted with a petronas plant for laboratory purposes and lighting.