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Optimising growth paths of beef cattle in northern Australia for increased profit

Mclennan, S. (2014) Optimising growth paths of beef cattle in northern Australia for increased profit. Project Report. Meat & Livestock Australia Limited.

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This project investigated reducing slaughter age of northern cattle through modifications of growth paths using supplements or improved pasture. In a grazing trial at Swans Lagoon steers grazing native pasture were fed from weaning either at low-plane (urea only - Control) or with high-input molasses-based supplement (MUP) in either one or both dry seasons prior to slaughter. A further group were finished on leucaena. Steers fed in only one dry season reached similar slaughter weight to those fed in both with 22% less supplement intake. Hormonal growth promotants (HGPs) given to half the steers continuously from weaning increased growth rate by 8% in most groups, and by 22% whilst steers grazed leucaena, and increased the net value added to steers despite impeding compliance with Meat Standards Australia (MSA). An economic analysis showed that leucaena, but not high-input supplements, increased profitability - the use of improved forages, combined with manipulation of body composition and associated compensatory gain offer the most cost-effective options for reducing slaughter age. Associated pen-feeding studies established that young (8-12 mo) and older (30-33 mo) steers responded similarly (kg extra gain/kg supplement) to additional nutrients and that responses increased in order of MUP, barley/urea and cottonseed meal. Studies indicated that the Australian feeding standards could not currently be relied upon to predict intake of grazing cattle in the tropics.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Business groups:Animal Science
Keywords:Final report
Subjects:Animal culture > Rangelands. Range management. Grazing
Animal culture > Cattle
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Live Archive:15 Nov 2011 06:25
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:48

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