Buffalo news : official newsletter of the Australian Buffalo Industry Council
Australian Buffalo Industry Council
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Australian Buffalo Industry Council
Vol 2 No 4 - December 2002
Australian Buffalo Industry Council
http://buffaloaustralia.org/web/news.php [Click here for online version Buffalo news]
FROM THE PRESIDENT BUFFALO NEWS Buffalo News welcomes input from industry representatives on any development, activity or issue related to their region or to the industry in general. CONTRIBUTIONS can be sent to, or discussed with: KERRY SHARP - EDITOR Phone (08) 89271724 - Fax (08) 89456062 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Post: 33 Carpentier Crescent Wagaman NT 0810 We want your input Mineral Block Trial Results The mineral blocks supplied by Livestock Nutrition Technologies (LNT) for the trial were Boost (15kg), Secure (15kg), Phosrite (40kg), Ultraphos (20kg) and Uramol (20kg) One block of each type was placed at each of the six sites chosen, it was unfortunate that only three of the sites had a single watering point in the paddock which guaranteed that the block sites had to be visited by all the animals in the group. The consumption rates at the various locations varied from nil on all types of blocks to every block gone within a week. The types of feed available varied greatly from a green swamp, one good body of dry improved pasture (mostly pangola), sparse semi improved pasture to native grasses, hay was being fed on two of the sites. At the swamp and pangola sites consumption was zero the blocks were kicked and pushed around the flat by the buffalo but there were no signs of licking or chewing over a four week period. The buffalo in these groups had been behind wire and on similar feed either all their life or for at least twelve months. Two sites were in paddocks with reasonable areas of improved pasture although the body of feed was nearly finished and some hay was being fed out at both places. At one site 103 head of breeders (long term residents) consumed 14.85 gms per hd per day over 24 days with order of preference being Boost (4.5), Uramol (4.05), Ultraphos (4.05), Phosrite and Secure. At the second site 70 head of mostly breeders consumed 16.07 gms/hd/day over 24 days with order of preference being definitely Uramol (11.9), Ultraphos (2.38) and traces of Phosrite, Secure and Boost, this site had a lot of surface water access and about 20 of the breeders were from a free range herd 15 months ago. One site with about 50 breeders and 230 weaners ranging from 200 to 300 kg with access to 150 hectares of newly established Jarrah grass (well planted, well fertilized but no rain) and about 200 hectares of native grass consumed all of the small blocks and half of the Phosrite within 12 days, the blocks from the swamp site were transferred to here and the Uramol was gone in 5 days and the rest in 9 days. These animals had been mustered in from a big area of native pasture area 2-3 months earlier and the blocks were on the only watering point. The last site was on about 500 hectares with a reasonable body of native pasture, there were 175 breeders and 100 weaners all freshly mustered free range animals. There were several watering points in the paddock although the surface water was drying out rapidly. It took 3 or 4 days for the buffalo to start on the blocks then the Boost was finished in a week followed by Phosrite, Secure, Ulraphos with Uramol being the last to be finished. After the trial blocks were consumed the owner bought some 100 kg Uramol blocks that are being eaten at around 70 kg per week. It would appear from all of this that buffalo with long-term, year-round access to a good body of fertilized pasture do not take to mineral blocks, the reliance on the mineral blocks is greater in paddocks where the standing feed is all but gone by a bit over half way through the dry season and hand feeding is relied on. Animals that were mustered in from free range or large areas of light country seemed to be very deficient in minerals and ate any block that was available. It will be interesting to observe consumption patterns for the ex free range animals during their second dry season. Cont back page The devastating drought conditions currently sweeping so much of Australia have highlighted the challenges facing buffalo producers in the southern states. Southern producers are struggling because of a shortage of feed for their herds and opportunities for agistment until conditions improve, simply dont exist where buffalo are concerned. If cattle producers need to offload herds in the hard times, they can do it. And agistment is no problem in the Top End where conditions for buffalo are ideal. But to get someone to take on your buffalo is almost impossible in southern Australia. The reasons? Public perceptions about buffalo, legislative requirements regarding permits in some states, and the lack of alternative production outlets. Meat substitution activities in relation to buffalo are also disturbing and are not helping the industry to grow in the south. Many people have pre-conceived ideas about buffalo because of what they have been presented as buffalo meat. I know of restaurant suppliers in Melbourne who have offered genuine buffalo cuts to retailers, only to be told it doesnt match up to the buffalo they have been buying. One supplier was trying to sell buffalo eye fillets weighing 1.7kg per piece but the retailer knocked them back because, he said, he could get buffalo eye fillets weighing 3 kg per piece. The fact is that buffalo eye fillets dont weigh anywhere near that amount and that sort of meat can only have come from a mature beef bull. You just have to compare the amount of eye fillet being consumed in the southern states with that coming from buffalo being slaughtered to see the vast difference. This sort of unscrupulous activity is certainly not making life easy for producers and something needs to be done about it. Its just one of the hurdles that has to be mastered if the buffalo industry is to develop into a real going concern in southern Australia in the future. In closing, I extend my best wishes to everyone in our industry for a happy Christmas and a productive New Year. Milton Stevens
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