March 22, 2022
New Australian research aims to breed more resilient beef cattle
Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) is supporting a CSIRO project to improve the resilience of different breeds of Australian beef cattle in a changing climate by predicting its ability to manage disease challenges with little impact to its growth and fertility, Meat & Livestock Australia reported.
The Southern Multibreed Immune Competence Project builds on past trials involving immune competence with cattle and sheep. The project involves cattle from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and the University of New England (UNE) Southern Multibreed.
The project will not examine each breed's immune competency, temperament, or stress coping ability. Instead, it will identify features of a certain breed which allows them to cope with challenges in their production environment and find out if those attributes can be targeted in other breeds to improve their resilience.
Dr Brad Hine, a Research Scientist in CSIRO's Livestock Health and Resilience Team, said the goal is to provide provide livestock producers with a genetic tool to reduce disease incidence and lessen their reliance on antibiotics.
Dr Hine said the Australian livestock industry is proactive when it comes to improving animal health and welfare. He cites a project with Angus Australia on identifying immune competent animals and developing estimated breeding values for the trait.
Dr Hine also said healthier cattle result in a higher quality product for consumers, providing economic benefits for seedstock and commercial Australian beef producers.
The project will look into cattle from wider Southern Multibreed Project, with data from 1,500 steers and heifers a year for two years feeding into the research.
More information about this project will be presented at the Livestock Genetics Forum in Adelaide, Australia on April 5 and April 6, 2022.
- Meat & Livestock Australia