Does genetic progress have to slow during the rebuilding phase?

Does genetic progress have to slow during the rebuilding phase?

Articles & Publications, Opinion Pieces
Michael Wellington and Karissa de Belle, Bush AgriBusiness Pty Ltd. With the current lack of stock across the country, many herd or flock managers will not have the luxury of culling that they normally would. This raises the question of how genetic progress is affected by, and should be managed in, different seasonal conditions. We have heard from some producers and advisors that genetic progress will slow during commercial herd/flock rebuilds. However, we are not entirely convinced that this is necessarily the case.  In the equation for genetic progress (see footnote 1), selection intensity (i) is affected by selection itself (how different are the new sires and breeders coming into the breeding herd from the current herd average?) and culling (how different is the herd average after culling, from the…
Read More
Considering Goats

Considering Goats

Articles & Publications, Opinion Pieces
Karissa de Belle and Ian McLean, Bush AgriBusiness Pty Ltd Low conventional stock numbers, the current price of goats, along with their hardiness and fertility is causing many producers in rangeland areas to give them serious consideration as a potential enterprise. It will be an attractive option for many, however any enterprise choice requires careful consideration. The first consideration with goats is what sort of enterprise they will be. Will they be a managed flock1, wild harvested or somewhere in between, i.e. wild harvest with smaller ones put behind wire to grow out to killable weight. If it is simply an opportunistic harvest and immediate sale of wild roaming goats, then it is pretty straightforward, provided you have some basic infrastructure. If they are there, can be mustered, trucked and…
Read More
Linking weather data to cattle breed adaptation

Linking weather data to cattle breed adaptation

Articles & Publications, Opinion Pieces
By Michael Wellington The introduction of Black Angus and Wagyu cattle into extensive northern Australia has been watched with keen interest. As I was required to deliver a project as part of my livestock consulting internship, I spent some time looking at differences in adaptability among breeds due to renewed interest in this space. I found that most heat stress research has focused on the feedlot and dairy industries. This is logical because these industries have some level of control over the environmental conditions cattle experience. Also, feedlot and dairy cattle are more susceptible to heat stress due to higher metabolic heat production. Conversely, beef cattle in extensive environments have greater scope to regulate their heat load through behaviours such as shade and breeze seeking. There are several heat stress…
Read More
2030 – What is your bottom line?

2030 – What is your bottom line?

Articles & Publications, Opinion Pieces
Red Meat 2030 was recently released by the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC). This is a comprehensive document, which sets the vision and priorities of the red meat industry over the next decade. This document complements in many ways the NFF’s 2030 Roadmap, which sets out the vision for Australian Agriculture as a whole over the next decade. These documents are important to you as producers as they will guide industry activities and inform government policy over the next decade. They are industry owned and there has been considerable industry consultation in their development. An aspect I quite like in both documents is the prioritisation of environmental management and sustainability, particularly that they address how the industry will not only need to ensure that it has sound environmental management, but…
Read More
Avoid Magic, opt for Science

Avoid Magic, opt for Science

Articles & Publications, Opinion Pieces
Contributed by Dr Phil Holmes and Ian McLean Unfortunately, and to its detriment, broadacre agriculture is not always an evidence-based industry at producer level. Yes, there are areas where evidence drives what is done, but it is far from universal. Too much attention is placed on fads and searches for silver bullets. By way of contrast, consider engineering. If it was not based on hard evidence, planes would fall out of the sky, buildings would collapse and bridges would cave in. It is the ultimate discipline in everyday life. But back to broadacre agriculture, specifically livestock. Fads go past the front gate of the property every day. Some of them are relatively benign and some seriously detrimental to business. There have been heaps of them. The whole Soft Rolling Skins…
Read More