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Katherine rural review



Katherine rural review


Northern Territory. Department of Primary Industry and Resources


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Agriculture; Northern Territory; Katherine; Periodicals; Animal industry; Rural industries; Periodicals

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Northern Territory Government

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Katherine rural review


Edition 332

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Northern Territory Government



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DEPARTMENT OF PRIMARY INDUSTRY AND RESOURCES Page 2 of 18 Katherine Rural Review Pests, production and possibilities By Jodie Ward, Pastoral Production Officer, Katherine A field day for farmers and beef producers alike was held at Douglas Daly Research Farm on Thursday 31 August. The first of many interactive presentations focused on the influence and importance of locally conducted research trials on reproduction genetics in Brahman cattle. Dr David Johnston from the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit of the University of New England (partners in a reproduction genetics project with NT Department of Primary Industry and Resources (DPIR)) explained how the data that has been collected in DPIR herds over the years is allowing genomic studies to more accurately evaluate animals and increase the accuracy of selection. Eventually, we will be able to tell what specific genetic traits each beef animal carries by simply taking a tail hair sample and running an analysis. The current technology is close to being able to do that, however at the moment, we are still matching what traits are located where on an animals genome to verify the information we think we have so data collection at this point in time is still vital. Dr Johnston said. Traits of particular interest to Dr Johnston included those that have the capacity to have a significant impact on an animals ability to contribute towards profitability - age of puberty in heifers and duration of lactational anoestrus in females. Age of puberty is important. As part of the Co-operative Research Centre we monitored cattle that were managed the same, run in the same locations, were vaccinated against the same diseases, etc, the only thing different was the genetics. What we found, was that although some heifers had started ovarian cycling at an early age/light weight (200kg), some were still waiting to start cycling at 530kg, and the only difference between those two animals was genetics,. Dr Johnson said. To demonstrate this difference, Tim Schatz, DPIR Principal Beef Research Scientist, conducted an ovary scan via ultrasound on a heifer crush-side with the image reproduced on a large television screen for the field day participants to view in real time. Use of the ultrasound allowed the participants to see how puberty can be detected by the presence of a corpus luteum that develops after a follicle has been released, indicating that ovulation has occurred. Females obviously only have to go through puberty once. Therefore another reproductive trait of economic importance is the duration of lactational anoestrus, the time until they resume cycling after calving, experienced by a female, Dr Johnston said. Figure 2: Attendees listening intently to Dr David Johnston from the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit of the University of New England