AgriFutures Buffalo Program Open Call 2021

AgriFutures Australia investments are aligned to the Buffalo Program Strategic RD&E Plan. This Open Call welcomes Preliminary Research Proposals, including post-graduate scholarships, that address Priority 2: Free-range field processing equipment as outlined in the Strategic RD&E Plan.

The AgriFutures Buffalo Program Open Call closes 12 pm (AEST) Friday 23, April 2021.

Open Call overview

AgriFutures Australia investments are driven by Strategic RD&E Plans that address the needs of industries and stakeholders, and ensure our priorities are industry and government-driven. Our aim is to increase knowledge that fosters sustainable, productive new and existing rural industries and further understanding of national rural issues through research and developing in government-industry partnership.

In planning and submitting proposals for AgriFutures Australia-funded projects, prospective researchers need to familiarise themselves with the application procedure, the Corporation’s overarching goals and strategies, the goals and strategies of the Buffalo R&D program and the specific priorities for R&D for the year for which the proposal is being submitted.

RD&E objectives

AgriFutures Australia investments are aligned to the Buffalo program RD&E plan. This Open Call welcomes Preliminary Research Proposals, including post-graduate scholarships, that address Priority 2: Free-range field processing equipment as outlined in the Strategic RD&E Plan.

Priority 2: looks to address free-range field processing equipment for harvest of buffalo in remote areas of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory (NT). Buffalo in Arnhem Land and surrounding areas are essentially wild. They are either mustered by helicopter into temporary yards or are caught with mechanical arms on the side of specially modified catching vehicles.

Biosecurity regulations require livestock to be fitted with NLIS tags before leaving their property of origin, as identified with a Property Identification Code (PIC). This policy also applies to freshly caught free-range buffalo in remote parts of Arnhem Land where there are no permanent yards and few fences. Tagging buffalo, and often trimming horns at the same time, in temporary facilities where the animal is not held securely is dangerous for the musterers and stressful for the buffalo.

The main buffalo mustering period in remote areas of the NT tropics is the mid to late dry season (June to October).

The objectives of this Open Call:

  • To develop an engineering solution, build a prototype, and devise a pathway to adoption across the NT buffalo industry for equipment that will allow newly harvested free-range buffalo to be safely ear-tagged and dehorned in the field without a permanent yard, and with emphasis on welfare of the animals and safety of the operators.
  • Equipment design requirements include that:
    • Buffalo can be tagged (NLIS) at the point of muster and, thus, satisfy biosecurity movement regulations.
    • Buffalo horns will be cut to the required length before trucking, thus reducing the chance of causing damage to other animals while being transported.
    • Poor animal welfare and poor worker safety will be minimised.
  • To deliver engineered specifications for such equipment.

Strategies and project deliverables

In collaboration with NT harvest contractors, assess the requirements of equipment that would securely hold newly harvested free-range buffalo and allow them to be ear-tagged, dehorned. Proposals will specifically address how the proponent/s will deliver:

  • Review existing equipment to seek a suitable base for a better model.
  • Manufacture and test a prototype based on the identified requirements.
  • Propose a pathway to adoption or commercialisation.
  • Deliver a concise final report on the development, testing, consultation, design, engagement and engagement within the project, coupled with engineered specifications for the equipment.

Proposals should clearly indicate the following:

  • The link to NT harvest contractors, NT buffalo industry and relevant NT Government agencies who support or regulate the industry.
  • The output and outcomes of the proposed project and the link to the strategies above
  • Who will be undertaking the majority of the work.
  • The plan for extension or engagement with the industry of the project outcomes from the project activity work.
  • The project lead’s understanding of past development or prototypes in this field.

The initial research and design phase is expected to take one year, evaluation and initial adoption /commercialisation another year, and full adoption a further two years.

Funding in this Open Call is specifically targeting the first research, design, and testing phase. Proposals that bring co-investment from industry or government partners would be welcome.

Submitting a Preliminary Research Proposal

AgriFutures Australia is moving to a new online project management system, K2. This system will manage all stages of project administration and will eventually replace our current system, Clarity.

Applications for this Open Call must be submitted online using the PRP application in K2.

If you had a previous account in Clarity, you can login using your Clarity user name or email address and the initial password K2pass! You will be prompted to reset this initial password when you login. If at any time you forget your password, you can also reset it via a forgotten password link on the login page.

Click here to login to K2 

If you do not have a Clarity login you must create a K2 account before submitting a proposal. To set up a secure account before submitting a proposal, contact the AgriFutures Australia helpdesk for a username and password by emailing

Usernames and passwords will only be issued while the applicable round is open.

If you require assistance, please contact

Research contracts

AgriFutures Australia uses a standard form contract for R&D projects (Research Agreement), which sets out the terms on which AgriFutures Australia will engage successful applicants to carry out the project.

Applicants must be familiar with the Research Agreement before lodging Preliminary Research Proposals (PRPs), and are advised to seek legal advice on it before lodging a PRP.

Read Research Agreement
The Research Agreement has been developed to reflect AgriFutures Australia’s statutory and other responsibilities in funding projects. AgriFutures Australia will generally not negotiate substantive amendments to any clauses of the Agreement unless:

  • It is satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist that require amendment to the standard form; and
  • The applicant completes a statement of non-compliance for each of those clauses.

Applicants will be taken to have agreed to all clauses in the Research Agreement that are not referred to in a statement of non-compliance. The extent of any non-compliance will be a factor in AgriFutures Australia’s evaluation of the application.

If you require further information regarding the Research Agreement, contact Erin Hulm, Manager, Legal Services:


Researchers are strongly advised to contact the Manager, Research prior to submitting a proposal.

John Smith

General Manager, Research


The AgriFutures Buffalo Program Open Call closes 12 pm (AEST) Friday 23, April 2021.