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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 3 of 18 Katherine Rural Review Again, the animals that were monitored in the CRC project were managed the same, run in the same location, vaccinated against the same diseases, the only difference was genetics. While some females were able to get back in calf within two months, others werent able to recommence cycling until months after the weaner had been removed. Cycling at this time of year presents problems as the cow then may become pregnant leading to calving at the least desirable time of year from a nutritional viewpoint. Continuing on the genetic theme, Tim Schatz then presented the recent results of the cross breeding trial, comparing the performance of identically managed Brahman to Brahman cross Senepol offspring. This trial was developed in response to a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis conducted with the Katherine Pastoral Advisory Industry Committee that identified reliance upon the live export markets as a big threat to the profitability of pastoral businesses in northern Australia. At approximately 18 months, the male progeny of both genotypes were transported to a feedlot facility where the crossbred steer carcasses were tenderer and received a higher price per kilogram than their Brahman counterparts. The trial was replicated the following year with the offspring being sold to the Indonesian live export market where their performance in Indonesia was again monitored and the crossbred steers again performed better than the Brahmans. The female portion of these cohorts were retained in lease paddocks near Katherine to determine how the crossbred females perform in comparison to Brahmans in a harsh environment. Running together under the same management and nutritional conditions, Brahman Senepol crossbred heifers had similar reproductive performance as their Brahman sisters. The concluding finding from this project has been that if producers want to diversify their market options, crossbreeding their Brahman breeders with a tropically adapted Bos taurus bred sire is likely to not have negative implications on the reproductive capacity of the herd in the future should the crossbred heifers be retained. Attendees of the field day were next treated to a tour of the Douglas Daly Research Farm facilities where DPIR research scientists summarized results and observations from the Cell Grazing trial and learnings found when establishing leucaena under a 10ha centre pivot irrigator. Peter Shotton, Senior Research Scientist, Douglas Daly Research Farm, answered many questions from field day attendees regarding the challenges of establishing and grazing leucaena. The biggest challenge we have had so far is matching the available dry matter of the pasture to the protein content of the leucaena to maximize beef production, Peter said. We are yet to find a pasture species that is able to produce enough dry matter during the dry season, even under irrigation, to match the recommended dry matter : protein ratio. To address this issue we are currently opening up additional areas to allow the animals to get the roughage they need, however the strategy is still not perfect; the leucaena is getting too much growth on it making the most nutritious parts of the plant unavailable (too high) for young growing animals to reach. The next stage of the trial will be to grow enough seed of the pasture species Nucal which has good cool season growth to plant under the irrigation between the leucaena rows. There is currently a shortage of seed of this particular cultivar. Arthur Cameron, Principal Pasture Scientist, Berrimah Farm, was able to provide a summary of recent research on the cool season growth of tropical grasses at Coastal Plains Research Station (CPRS), and