Pro­duc­ers learn about bull ge­net­ics

Central Queensland News - - RURAL WEEKLY -

BUY­ING a bull is a con­sid­er­able ex­pense for gra­ziers and often a lucky dip pur­chase.

Mak­ing a con­fi­dent de­ci­sion on choos­ing the right bull is vi­tal for farm pro­duc­tiv­ity.

Re­gional Land­care fa­cil­i­ta­tor Ju­lian Ka­siske said pro­duc­tiv­ity started with the right ge­net­ics of the bull as it would set the po­ten­tial for up­per or lower pro­duc­tion lim­its that a herd can achieve.

As a re­sult of re­quests by gra­ziers, a bull selec­tion work­shop, hosted by Reef Catch­ments and the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries, was held at McEwens Beach.

It al­lowed gra­ziers to im­prove their un­der­stand­ing of ge­net­ics and learn­ing about the tools that lead to suc­cess in the cat­tle busi­ness.

High­light of the day was a live demon­stra­tion of a bull breed­ing sound­ness ex­am­i­na­tion car­ried out by lo­cal vet and gra­zier Rox­anne Mor­gan.

She ex­plained to lo­cal pro­duc­ers why they should con­sider us­ing ob­jec­tive data to make de­ci­sions when buy­ing a bull.

“If the bull is out of a fer­tile line and they adapt well to your en­vi­ron­ment, you im­prove you chances of mak­ing money, rather than hav­ing a neg­a­tive im­pact on your pro­duc­tiv­ity,” Ms Mor­gan said.

“Bulls drive the ge­netic di­rec­tion of a herd given the po­ten­tial num­ber of calves they pro­duce over a life­time com­pared to a cow.”

She said there was a lack of ob­jec­tive data in the north­ern Aus­tralian beef in­dus­try in com­par­i­son to south­ern Aus­tralia for ex­am­ple, where in­for­ma­tion was read­ily avail­able for the an­gus breed.

In­for­ma­tion gives the buyer some form of as­sur­ance that the bull will pro­duce a re­li­able num­ber of prog­eny over his life­time and adapt to dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ments.

An­other ob­jec­tive selec­tion cri­te­ria is the dam fer­til­ity his­tory. Ms Mor­gan said a bull’s mother should have had a calf ev­ery year for the best chances of him pro­duc­ing heifers with the same trait.

Ms Mor­gan said a large amount of re­search on the sub­ject had fin­ished off in the last 10 years and in­for­ma­tion and sup­port for th­ese ob­jec­tive mea­sure­ments were be­com­ing more pop­u­lar, but north­ern Aus­tralia had some catch­ing up to do.

Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries beef ex­ten­sion of­fi­cer Jim Fletcher ex­plained the main changes in bull selec­tion are a move to utilise more mea­sured ob­jec­tive data that in­cludes weight and mea­sure­ments, se­men qual­ity and days to calv­ing.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

GE­NET­ICS: Beef pro­duc­ers learn­ing about bull selec­tion and the im­por­tance of ge­net­ics at the bull selec­tion field day held re­cently at McEwens Beach.

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