Territory Stories

Alice Springs Rural Review



Alice Springs Rural Review


Northern Territory. Department of Resources


Alice Springs Rural Review; E-Journals; PublicationNT; Alice Springs Rural Review




Alice Springs


Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).; This publication contains many links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.; Includes : Pastoral Market Update November 2010; Arid Zone Research Institute; AZRI, Alice Springs




Agriculture; Alice Springs Region; Periodicals

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

Place of publication

Alice Springs


Alice Springs Rural Review


V 44 (9-12) December 2010

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



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ALICE SPRINGS RURAL REVIEW, Page 14 of 20 Heifers from OMP Research Station Growth in 2009 Jocelyn Coventry, Pastoral Production, Alice Springs Background One of the roles of the Old Man Plains Research Station (OMP) is to breed and prepare weaners for use as sentinel cattle in Berrimah and Alice Springs. Weaners from OMP are ideally suited as sentinels, because they have not been exposed to many of the insect borne diseases found in the top end In 2009 the performance of the two Droughtmaster sentinel heifer consignments were followed at the Berrimah Research Farm (Berrimah) and the Arid Zone Research Institute (AZRI - Alice Springs) to monitor the effect of translocation and subsequent animal performance in two very different climatic zones. What Happened The heifers that were sent up to Berrimah had to overcome challenges, such as acclimatisation after transport (June 2009), three day sickness (bovine ephemeral fever) (October 2009), and external parasites. These combined factors significantly affected performance and the growth of animals transported to Berrimah Farm was poorer than the heifers that remained at AZRI. Figure 1 shows the difference in growth over six months for those heifers in the two consignments that could be matched by sire and paddock-of-origin on OMP. Figure 1. Growth comparison for heifers in 2009 - AZRI vs. Berrimah Farm The growth of the AZRI sentinel heifers was so much better (range: 0.011.58 kg/ day) that, based on their body weight, it was decided in November 2009 to control-mate them with a yearling bull for four months. At the beginning of mating they averaged 13 months old and liveweight ranged from 238 to 325 kg. At the end of mating (March 2010) the lightest heifer weighed 280 kg, which compares favourably with a recommended maiden heifer conception weight for Bos indicus cattle (280320 kg). Three months later in June 2010, 76% of the AZRI sentinel heifer group were pregnancy tested in-calf which was in line with trial groups in other years. Discussion The collection of liveweights from the cohort group at AZRI proved the capacity of yearling heifers to meet critical mating weights from 12 to 14 months of age on a buffel grass pasture in an average year. The comparison of liveweights from 2009 branded heifers at Berrimah and AZRI indicated that management strategies can be developed that better prepare cattle groups for movement to the Top End environment. Acknowledgements: The 2009 heifer weight data was provided by the DoR Biosecurity staff in Berrimah and Alice Springs, NT. For more information about the performance of cattle from OMP, please contact J. Coventry (08 89518142) or B. Gill (08 89518127). -50 50 150 250 350 Feb.2009 Aug.2009 Sept.2009 Oct.2009 Nov.2009 Dec .2009 Date of weighing Weight (kg) -0.5 0.5 1.5 2.5 3.5 Weight Gain (kg/ day) AZRI Av. Weight Berrimah Av. Weight AZRI Av. Rate Weight Gain Berrimah Av. Rate Weight Gain