Catch up on the latest livestock breakthroughs revealed at Elders Presents!
Last week’s Elders Presents session featured four speakers explaining breakthroughs in livestock technology.
Dr Mark Trotter, Central Queensland University, cut through the hype about how smart tags on sheep beef cattle, to show how they will really help producers.
After a decade of promise, Dr Trotter said the hardware for beef and sheep operations was at last close to commercialisation, with several on-farm trials currently underway.
There were plenty of benefits, too, like efficient mustering, monitoring water consumption, grazing optimisation, and even exploring the behavioural differences between a mob’s top performers and the tail.
Sometimes, it made sense only to tag certain animals, like a ram or bull, particularly in single-sire matings.
Dr Graham Gardner, Murdoch University, showed how DEXA technology is getting better at measuring lean meat yield and eating quality, with accurate and reliable results.
While microwave technology is not as good at estimating lean meat yield, it does hold some exciting possibilities for on-farm feedback that will help producers meet the market and differentiate between fat and muscle.
Maree Crawford, Elders, detailed how prussic acid poisoning in forage sorghum can kill cattle in 10 minutes, the impact of nitrides and the important work being done to cut the risk with new products.
Dr William van Wettere, University of Adelaide, astonished the Elders Presents audience with research results showing a single melatonin implant during pregnancy could dramatically boost the survival of twin lambs, reaping huge financial rewards for farmers.
In fact, twin lamb survival rates could be boosted by 14 per cent and the procedure showed a significant return on investment for producers.
Twin-bearing Merino ewes were implanted with 18mg of melatonin about 90 days after joining. The result was that after three days, 99pc of twin lambs whose mother had been treated with melatonin survived, compared to 83pc of the untreated group.
The study showed improved survival rates carried through to weaning, resulting in an extra 26 to 28 lambs weaned per 100 twin-bearing ewes.
Dr van Wettere said when prices were $5 a kilogram carcase weight, the profit for a Merino would be $1968 or, at $8/kg cwt, $5244. If terminal Merino ewe lambs were treated with melatonin, the payoffs would be even higher, at $3816 and $8474 respectively.
Video of each livestock expert presentations are now online