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Armidale, Australia

Donoghue K.A.,University of New England of Australia | Donoghue K.A.,Agricultural Research Center | Arthur P.F.,University of New England of Australia | Arthur P.F.,Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute | And 4 more authors.
Animal Production Science | Year: 2011

Angus cattle that had been divergently selected for Low and High post-weaning residual feed intake (RFI) were used in two projects to evaluate early-life reproductive performance and onset of puberty in females. In the first project, data on the 1999-born females (n = 64) were evaluated for weight, subcutaneous fat (P8 fat depth) and reproductive performance over two breeding cycles. These females that were the result of 1.0-2.5 (mean of 1.8) generations of selection, had mean (±s.e.) post-weaning RFI of -0.82 ± 0.19 kg/day and 0.57 ± 0.18 kg/day for the Low and High RFI selection lines, respectively. In the second project, ultrasonography was used to scan the ovaries of the 2008-born heifers (n = 121) on four occasions following weaning. In these heifers the presence of corpus luteum provided evidence of ovulation, and hence the commencement of onset of puberty. The average of the estimated breeding value (EBV) for RFI of the parents of the Low RFI and the High RFI selection line heifers were -0.72 ± 0.05 and 0.37 ± 0.03 kg/day, respectively. In the first project, no significant selection line differences were evident for weight, age at first mating, pregnancy and calving rates (percentage of females that were pregnant, or the percentage that calved out of the total number used for mating), calf birthweight and weight of calf born per female exposed to bull. Females from the Low RFI line had significantly (P < 0.05) lower P8 fat depth relative to their High RFI contemporaries at most of the measurement dates (e.g. 9.2 ± 0.5 versus 12.0 ± 0.5 mm at the start of first mating). Low RFI females also calved significantly (P < 0.05) later in the calving season than High RFI females (35.7 ± 3.0 versus 27.6 ± 2.4 days). The results indicate that there is a delayed pregnancy date during the first mating season leading to a later calving date for the Low RFI heifers. The later first calving date was then maintained at subsequent calving. The later calving, however, did not impact on pregnancy and calving rates. In the second project, it was observed that irrespective of selection line, heifers that had attained onset of puberty had significantly (P < 0.05) greater P8 fat depth than those that had not. Hence the expectation was that, relative to High RFI heifers, the Low RFI heifers with their lower P8 fat, will attain onset of puberty at a slightly older age. This expected trend was observed but the difference was not significant, and further investigations are recommended. © CSIRO 2011.

Pollock K.S.,Beef Industry Center
Journal of agricultural safety and health | Year: 2012

Farm-related fatalities are a significant problem in Australian agriculture. Over the period 2001-2004, there were 404 fatalities that occurred as a direct consequence of visiting, residing, or working on a farm. This study employed a human capital approach to establish the economic costs of farm-related fatalities to the Australian economy. Modeling of direct and indirect costs associated with farm-related fatalities estimated that the 404 traumatic deaths over the period 2001-2004 cost the Australian economy $650.6 million in 2008 Australian dollars (AUD). This equates to 2.7% of the 2008 farm gross domestic product (GDP) due to potentially preventable farm accidents and injuries. Farm-related deaths are a significant economic cost to the Australian economy. Greater resources need to be directed to farm health and safety interventions to increase their effectiveness at reducing the risk exposure of those visiting, residing, and working on Australian farms.

Marsh K.J.,Australian National University | Yin B.,Australian National University | Singh I.P.,National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research | Saraf I.,National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Chemical Ecology | Year: 2015

Identifying specific plant secondary metabolites that influence feeding behavior can be challenging, but a solid understanding of animal preferences can guide efforts. Common brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) predominantly eat Eucalyptus species belonging to the subgenus Symphyomyrtus, and avoid eating those belonging to the Monocalyptus subgenus (also called subgenus Eucalyptus). Using an unbiased 1H NMR metabolomics approach, a previous study identified unsubstituted B ring flavanones in most species of monocalypts examined, whereas these compounds were absent from symphyomyrtles. We hypothesised that unsubstituted B ring flavanones act as feeding deterrents for common brushtail possums. In the current study, we tested this hypothesis by comparing how much possums ate of a basal diet, with diets containing one of four structurally related compounds; pinocembrin, flavanone (unsubstituted B ring flavanones), chrysin (the flavone analogue of pinocembrin), and naringenin (a flavanone with B ring substitution). We found that pinocembrin and flavanone deterred feeding relative to the basal diet, but that chrysin and naringenin did not at equivalent concentrations. Thus, unsubstituted B-ring flavanones may explain why brushtail possums avoid eating monocalypt species. Furthermore, small differences in the structure of secondary compounds can have a large impact on antifeedant properties. These results demonstrate that metabolomics can be a valuable tool for ecologists seeking to understand herbivore feeding preferences. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Cafe L.M.,University of New England of Australia | Cafe L.M.,Beef Industry Center | Robinson D.L.,University of New England of Australia | Robinson D.L.,Beef Industry Center | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Animal Science | Year: 2011

Relationships between temperament and a range of performance, carcass, and meat quality traits in young cattle were studied in 2 experiments conducted in New South Wales (NSW) and Western Australia (WA), Australia. In both experiments, growth rates of cattle were assessed during backgrounding on pasture and grain finishing in a feedlot. Carcass and objective meat quality characteristics were measured after slaughter. Feed intake and efficiency during grain finishing were also determined in NSW. Brahman (n = 82 steers and 82 heifers) and Angus (n = 25 steers and 24 heifers) cattle were used in the NSW experiment. In NSW, temperament was assessed by measuring flight speed [FS, m/s on exit from the chute (crush)] on 14 occasions, and by assessing agitation score during confinement in the crush (CS; 1 = calm to 5 = highly agitated) on 17 occasions over the course of the experiment. Brahman (n = 173) and Angus (n = 20) steers were used in the WA experiment. In WA, temperament was assessed by measuring FS on 2 occasions during backgrounding and on 2 occasions during grain feeding. At both sites, a hormonal growth promotant (Revalor-H, Virbac, Milperra, New South Wales, Australia) was applied to one-half of the cattle at feedlot entry, and the Brahman cattle were polymorphic for 2 calpain-system markers for beef tenderness. Temperament was not related (most P > 0.05) to tenderness gene marker status in Brahman cattle and was not (all P > 0.26) modified by the growth promotant treatment in either breed. The Brahman cattle had greater individual variation in, and greater correlations within and between, repeated assessments of FS and CS than did the Angus cattle. Correlations for repeated measures of FS were greater than for repeated assessments of CS, and the strength of correlations for both declined over time. Average FS or CS for each experiment and location (NSW or WA × backgrounding or finishing) were more highly correlated than individual measurements, indicating that the average values were a more reliable assessment of cattle temperament than any single measure. In Brahman cattle, increased average FS and CS were associated with significant (P < 0.05) reductions in backgrounding and feedlot growth rates, feed intake and time spent eating, carcass weight, and objective measures of meat quality. In Angus cattle, the associations between temperament and growth rates, feed intake, and carcass traits were weaker than in Brahmans, although the strength of relationships with meat quality were similar. © 2011 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.

Cafe L.M.,University of New England of Australia | Cafe L.M.,Beef Industry Center | McIntyre B.L.,University of New England of Australia | McIntyre B.L.,Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Animal Science | Year: 2010

Experiments were conducted concurrently at 2 locations to quantify effects and interactions of calpain-system tenderness gene markers on growth, efficiency, temperament, and carcass traits of Brahman cattle. Cattle were selected at weaning from commercial and research herds based on their genotype for commercially available calpastatin (CAST) and calpain 3 (GAPN3) gene markers for beef tenderness. Genotypes for μ-calpain gene markers (CAPN1-4751 and GAPN1-316) were also determined and included in statistical analyses. The New South Wales (NSW) herd was composed of 82 heifers and 82 castrated male cattle with 0 or 2 favorable alleles for CAST and CAPN3. The Western Australia (WA) herd was composed of 173 castrated male cattle with 0, 1, or 2 favorable alleles for CAST and CAPN3. One-half of the cattle at each site were implanted with a hormonal growth promotant (HGP: Revalor-H) during grain finishing. Cattle were backgrounded at pasture for 6 to 8 mo and grain-fed for 117 d (NSW) or 80 d (WA) before slaughter. Individually, or in combination with each other and with CAPN1-4751 status, CAST and CAPN3 status had no significant (all P > 0.05) effects on BW, growth, feed efficiency, or temperament traits. The only significant effect of CAST or CAPN3 on carcass characteristics was a small increase in rib fat with increasing number of favorable CAST alleles (P = 0.042) in the WA herd. There were no significant interactions (all P > 0.05) between the markers, or between the markers and sex or HGP treatment apart from CAST × HGP for area of the M. longissimus lumborum (P = 0.024) in the NSW experiment. Favorable CAST or CAPN3 alleles appear unlikely to have detrimental effects on growth, efficiency, temperament, or carcass characteristics of Brahman cattle; however, some effects evident for CAPN1 status indicate the need for further production studies on effects of these markers. Overall, the findings of the present study indicate that calpain-system gene markers are suitable for use in marker-assisted selection to improve meat tenderness in Brahman cattle without negative effects on other production and carcass characteristics. © 2010 American Society of Animal Science.

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