Katherine rural review
Northern Territory. Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries
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Northern Territory Government
Katherine rural review
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Northern Territory Government
Katherine Rural Review P a g e | behaviour e.g. pacing fence lines or running away. Meanwhile the calm animals tend to spend more time relaxed, eating and ruminating, i.e. conserving energy for growth. In Beef CRC research, the nervous animals repeatedly showed higher cortisol levels (a stress indicator). Cortisol also has a negative effect on immunity. One study noted that while 42% of a nervous mob of cattle in a feedlot were treated for illness or injury, none of the calm mob required treatment. It has also been shown that there is a higher chance of mortality in the less docile animals. Once the animals reach the abattoir, it has been observed that cattle with calm temperaments tend to have better meat quality and higher dressing percentages. This can be seen as reduced carcase bruising, better tenderness and marbling scores and reduced risk of dark cutting, all of which have an impact on the value of the meat. These effects on meat quality and dressing percentage are important as, regardless of the trucks destination when cattle leave your property, they will all eventually end up in an abattoir of some sort, irrespective of the path taken to get there (e.g. live export, backgrounding, feedlot). Producers from areas with high calf losses as a result of wild dog attacks may argue that a flightier temperament in females could be an indication of a more protective mother. However, studies have indicated that pre-calving temperament appears to be unrelated to post-calving defensiveness, and thus, selecting for a docile temperament is not likely to have a negative impact on the ability of a cow to protect her calf from predators. Its commonly known that an individual handler can have an impact on an animals temperament. One person may walk into a yard and have cattle move in the required direction quietly, while someone else can walk into the same yard of cattle and stir up the majority of the mob. Studies have shown that while training animals (and handlers) may improve the animals reactions in familiar situations, it may not prevent an animals inherent reactions to unfamiliar situations. While it is tempting to say that those stirred up cattle were not at fault and that they may settle with training and/or better handling, they are more inclined to have a negative reaction in a feedlot or abattoir situation due to their inherited temperament. Also, it is worth remembering that simply because an animal appears to be docile does not necessarily mean that all of its progeny will be docile. This is because of the difference between hereditary and trained temperament i.e. it may appear to be docile in a familiar environment due to training but actually have a poor inherited temperament. Therefore, where EBVs are available, they are the most accurate method of selection, as they take into account the individual animal along with all of its relatives. Selection for animals with a docile temperament is considered to be more effective than simply culling individual animals with poor temperament. It is therefore, worth taking note of the potential replacement heifers as weaners, and keeping records on their temperament or potentially drafting off a selection of the quietest animals. Also, if they are available for your breed, look for Temperament EBVs when purchasing new bulls. Keep in mind that selection on temperament alone is not sufficient to improve the bottom line. Selection for temperament is just another addition to the suite of Selection criteria for other traits such as fertility, growth, confirmation etc. Further information can be found at www.futurebeef.com.au or www.beefcrc.com Breeds with Temperament Related EBVs (Breedplan) Breed EBV available* Santa Gertrudis Flight Time EBV Limousin Docility EBV Brahman Trial Flight Time EBV Angus Trial Docility EBV Hereford Trial Docility EBV Simmental Trial Docility EBV * Trial status on an EBV indicates that the EBV is preliminary, and is subject to change as further data is collected by breeders http://www.futurebeef.com.au/ http://www.beefcrc.com/
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