Ge­net­ics, tech, ed­u­ca­tion key to growth

Countryman - - LIVESTOCK - Bob Gar­nant

Chal­lenge speak­ers have laid the ground­work for im­proved pro­duc­tiv­ity gains through ge­net­ics, tech­nol­ogy and ed­u­ca­tion.

Zoetis ge­netic man­ager Daniel Aber­nethy said the use of sci­ence was the best driver of the cat­tle in­dus­try.

“Ge­net­ics works in turn­ing grass and grain into a prof­itable beef en­ter­prise,” he said.

“Pro­duc­ers should con­sider us­ing SIRETRACE when de­cid­ing on whether their next bull se­lec­tion is a good or poor choice.” Mr Aber­nethy said the new An­gus Heifer­SELECT, re­leased in Oc­to­ber, was a ge­nomic se­lec­tion tool to help in­form the se­lec­tion of An­gus re­place­ment fe­males (87.5 per cent An­gus con­tent or greater) in a com­mer­cial herd.

“It com­ple­ments other sources of in­for­ma­tion that may be used in com­mer­cial re­place­ment heifer se­lec­tion, such as phe­no­type, age, weight and pedi­gree, and pro­vides a valu­able in­sight into the ge­netic po­ten­tial of heifers, par­tic­u­larly for traits that are oth­er­wise dif­fi­cult, time-con­sum­ing or ex­pen­sive to mea­sure us­ing tra­di­tional meth­ods.”

Live­stock vet­eri­nar­ian Matthew Ped­er­sen in­tro­duced the io­tag GPS-based live­stock track­ing sys­tem, which helps farm­ers mon­i­tor their stock re­motely.

“Each head of stock is fit­ted with a sen­sor mod­ule em­bed­ded in a neck col­lar,” he said.

“The sen­sors re­ceive and trans­mit their GPS lo­ca­tion back to a base sta­tion in­stalled on the farm, us­ing long-range, low­power wire­less. The base sta­tion can re­ceive sig­nals from up to 30km, and then trans­mits the data back to a web app, so that farm­ers can view the lo­ca­tion of their stock on a phone, com­puter or tablet.” Meat and Live­stock Aus­tralia’s David Beatty said Aus­tralia’s pro­duc­tion sys­tems found re­spect in the global beef mar­ket­place.

“Over­seas coun­tries trust our biose­cu­rity, an­i­mal wel­fare and trace­abil­ity sys­tems,” he said.

“That taken into ac­count, price is the num­ber one driver in the beef trade, which is why the Mid­dle East buys 80 per cent of its beef from Brazil.”

Mr Beatty said MLA’s ap­proach to a more com­pet­i­tive Aus­tralian beef la­bel was to en­sure Aus­tralian beef was iden­ti­fied with eat­ing qual­ity.

“It is es­ti­mated that 38 per cent of con­sumers find it dif­fi­cult to make a buy­ing de­ci­sion and 81 per cent think price re­flects qual­ity,” he said.

“For that rea­son, MLA in­vests in train­ing and ed­u­ca­tion of meat buy­ers, food ser­vice staff, chefs and butch­ers.”

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