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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 46(2)

Impact of animal health and welfare research within the CRC for Cattle and Beef Quality on Australian beef production

I. G. Colditz A B H, D. L. Watson A C, R. Kilgour A D, D. M. Ferguson A B, C. Prideaux A B, J. Ruby A E, P. D. Kirkland A F, K. Sullivan A G

A Cooperative Research Centre for Cattle and Beef Quality
B CSIRO Livestock Industries, F.D. McMaster Laboratories, Locked Bag 1, Post Office, Armidale, NSW 2350, Australia.
C 20 Amanda Close, Boambee, NSW 2450, Australia.
D NSW Department of Primary Industries, Agricultural Research Centre, PMB 19, Trangie, NSW 2832, Australia.
E Pfizer Animal Health, 45 Poplar Road, Parkville, Vic. 3052, Australia.
F NSW Department of Primary Industries, Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute, Woodbridge Road, Menangle, NSW 2570, Australia.
G Bell Veterinary Services, Bell, Qld 4408, Australia.
H Corresponding author. Email: ian.colditz@csiro.au
 
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Abstract

Research within the health and welfare program of the Cooperative Research Centre for Cattle and Beef Quality has delivered important improvements to the Australian cattle industry. Vaccines to assist with the control of bovine respiratory disease were developed and commercialised from Australian isolates of Mannheimia haemolytica and pestivirus (mucosal disease). Our understanding of the benefits of weaning cattle by confinement and hand feeding in yards (yard weaning) has been consolidated, and yard weaning has been adopted as ‘best practice’ for cattle production in the temperate zones of Australia. The importance of good temperament for improved growth rates and reduced morbidity during feedlot finishing, and for adaptation to stressors such as road transport, has been demonstrated. In response to this knowledge, industry is increasingly measuring flight time for use in breeding programs and feedlot management. The risk to meat quality of stressors such as mixing unfamiliar cattle in the weeks preceding slaughter or acute stress in the last 15 min before slaughter has been described. Adoption of these findings through Quality Assurance schemes will assist in assurance for the community and for export markets of the welfare standards of the Australian cattle and beef industry. This review provides details of the experiments that led to these achievements and to some improved understandings of temperament and behaviour of beef cattle.

   
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