AUSTRALIA - Angus cattle from temperate Australia are being successfully introduced to the arid north where they raise the game of Bos Indicus herds.
Crossing Brahman cattle has resulted in 22 kilograms of weight gained at weaning and 20 cents per kilo liveweight premiums for pure Angus and crosses.
However, in order to tap into the many benefits Angus cattle can bring, great care needs to be taken when moving cattle from the south into the northern tropical and sub-tropical grasslands.
The performance of Angus cattle and the best practice for introducing them is the focus of breed association Angus Australia, which says Angus increase carcass quality, enhancing the marketability of Brahman herds.
The Association has told ranchers that Angus infusions bring better fertility, reduced age at puberty and increased calving rates, while improved weight gains mean progeny are finished earlier.
Angus Australia explained: “This enhanced the chances of obtaining premiums associated with Meat Standards Australia grading by ensuring that bullocks were above 500 kilograms live weight with milk or 2 teeth. “
Given the results, Angus Australia is keen to impart best practice for preparing bulls prior to relocation and thereafter.
Ranchers are advised to give bulls time to acclimatise, which will take longer for older animals.
Angus Australia prescribes a minimum period of three months for bulls 18-24 months old and six months for 12-18 months old animals.
“Bulls 12 months and under will ultimately adapt better to the new environment, but should be allowed 6 to 12 months adaptation period,” is the advice.
“If used within the first 12 months, bulls should only be given a very light load.”
Angus Australia also recommends timing relocation for the end of the rain season. This increases the chances of pasture quality being sound and it coincides when temperatures are dropping.
“If feed quality and availability after arrival is limited then bulls should be provided with some supplementation until they are placed into the breeding herd,” advises the association.
A 14 day period after introduction to pasture will allow bulls to adapt, with supplementary feeding recommended until introduction to the breeding herd.
Ahead of transportation, bulls should be placed on a low grain diet.
“Bulls that have received large amounts of grain supplementation prior to relocation should be let down on a protein and energy supplement for at least a three month adaptation period.”
Further considerations are tropical flies and diseases. Angus have lower resistance to ticks than Brahman cattle and can lose weight rapidly when affected.
Twice yearly treatments at the start and end of each wet season should be administered.
Vaccination programmes should also address the risk of Botulism, three day sickness and clostridial diseases – Pestivirus and Vibriosis.
In terms of selection, choosing bulls depends on the breeding objectives and goals of the operation.
Angus cattle can be used in simple cross-breeding programmes to more complex composite breeding systems, says Angus Australia.
Photo courtesy of Angus Australia