John Milton

Associate Professor

  • The University of Western Australia (M082), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


I was born in 1952 and grew up on grain and livestock properties in western Queensland. I graduated with honours in Agricultural Science from the University of Queensland (UQ)in 1974 and was awarded a PhD in ruminant nutrition from that university in 1984. I conducted the research for my PhD while a tutor then a senior tutor in the Veterinary School at UQ teaching Veterinary and Agricultural Science undergraduates. My PhD research was on factors influencing food intake and phosphorus metabolism in ruminants. An original aspect of this research was the development of techniques to partition and elucidate the digestive and non-digestive effects of phosphorus deficiency upon food intake. This research provided a basic understanding of how phosphorus deficiency depresses the food intake of ruminants, helped to rationalize the assessment of phosphorus status in ruminants and qualified where positive responses to phosphorus supplements may occur in the field. After leaving the Veterinary School I spent two years growing grain crops on my own farm in south-east Queensland as well as providing a feed analysis and consultancy service for livestock producers throughout Queensland.

I then spent two and a half years as Resident Animal Science Adviser followed by three and a half years as in-country Project Director for an Australian funded foreign aid project in southern Thailand managed by UQ. This A$10M bilateral aid project aimed to enhance the human and physical resources of the Faculty of Natural Resources (FNR) at the Prince of Songkla University (PSU) to service the 10 million farmers in the 14 provinces of southern Thailand. This was achieved through higher degree training of 28 FNR academic staff in Australia and them conducting relevant research and extension activities throughout southern Thailand in conjunction with their Australian university supervisors, resident advisers and consultants. As the Resident Animal Science Adviser I implemented an integrated program of R,D&E to improve meat goat production in southern Thailand through the introduction and evaluation of new genotypes and developing transferable technology for Muslim villagers. I established facilities for goat research on two FNR farms, directed all programs of research, trained staff in goat husbandry and management practices and transferred to "Key Muslim villagers" improved production methods. Two FNR staff who undertook postgraduate training at UQ on aspects of goat production conducted components of their PhD research under my supervision in Thailand. One of these former students became the Dean of FNR and later the President of Thaksin University and the other became Professor and Dean of Agriculture at another Thai University. In 1991 the Australian government funded the project to host an international conference on Goat Production in the Asian Humid Tropics to highlight the achievements of the PSU program of Goat Research. As in-country Director for the project, while still performing duties as Animal Science Adviser, co-ordinated all requests for the release of funds from UQ for Project activities and supervised all aspects of financial management for the project in Thailand. Attended meetings at the request of the Australian Embassy in Bangkok and liaised with Embassy staff on all matters relating to project management and procurement. I prepared mid-term project review documents and quarterly and half-yearly reports. Finally, in concert with the Dean of FNR and the Australian Project Director at UQ, I helped to prepare a successful submission to the Australian government for A$3.3M complementary and supplementary funds to extend the PSU Project.
After joining UWA in 1991 I carried-out applied research to encourage year-round production of quality prime lambs in Western Australia. This focused on identifying and encouraging the use of animals of superior genetics, enhancing reproductive performance of ewes by better feeding, breeding and management, and developing out-of-season feeding systems to grow-out and finish prime lambs. The main focus of my current teaching at UWA and extension in the farming community is on ruminant production systems under the philosophy of Clean, Green and Ethical (CGE) animal production.

Roles and responsibilities

Currently co-supervisor of 2 PhD students
Resource person within UWA for fundamental and applied aspects of ruminant nutrition

Teaching overview

I currently lecture in the following unit:
Animal Science & Technology 3306


Through fundamental and applied research I aim to advance and integrate our understanding of the nutritional and reproductive physiology of ruminants and, in concert with different feed resources, develop sustainable Clean, Green and Ethical production systems. A constant theme in my research is to produce high-value meat, wool and dairy products to meet the demands of the discretionary consumer. In addition to my research with meat and wool sheep and with beef and dairy cattle, I have conducted research on goats for fibre and meat production and on alpacas to develop appropriate feeding systems to enhance fibre production and avoid obesity.


English - native language
Thai - conversational

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education

Research expertise keywords

  • Nutritional and reproductive management in farm animals


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