Scientist Unlocking the Mysteries of Beef Genetics

AUSTRALIA - A young researcher is doing her bit to help Queensland's important beef industry with research into maximising the reproduction of cattle and profits for producers.
calendar icon 29 July 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

Alena Ladd has joined the team at the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries' (DPI&F) Brian Pastures Research Station, near Gayndah in the Burnett district.

Ms Ladd is looking at ways of genetically selecting beef quality attributes that maximise reproductive performance and the ability to adapt to Queensland's often harsh outback environment.

"The results will help identify gene markers for early puberty in cattle, which is a key indicator of fertility," she said.

"Reproductive performance is one of the key drivers of profits in the beef industry.

"Maximising adaptive traits will result in cattle that are best suited to a specific range of local environmental conditions, and will perform better than livestock that cannot adapt."

Brian Pastures is one of many properties involved in this Beef Cooperative Research Centre's research, which started with about 2,200 heifers divided amongst four research stations in central and northern Queensland.

Ms Ladd said the program involved giving each cow seven opportunities to produce a calf to determine lifetime reproductive performance.

"This will continue until June 2010 when we should have sufficient records to show which cows are the best producers," she said.

"My role is a mixture of field and office work. I'll be collecting wide ranging data on cow condition, weight, fat and pregnancy information, as well as monitoring pastures, fences, water and animal welfare."

All male calves from this project are not castrated, so they can be used in another project that is studying bull fertility and maturity factors.

Ms Ladd comes from a grain farming background at Cecil Plains, near Milmerran.

"I'm living proof that there are great career paths for young people looking for a future in agri-science and primary industries in Queensland," she said.

TheCattleSite News Desk

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.