Dr Ian Braithwaite

Breeder management and pregnancy testing workshop

  • 12-13 June
  • Glenden Station, Glenden
  • Register now, limited spots
  • Accommodation available in Glenden township
  • A second workshop will be available later this year
  • For more information and to register contact Brendan Smith on brendan.smith@nqdrytropics.com.au or on M: 0417 408 587

The workshop will focus on the theoretical and practical skills of pregnancy testing and foetal ageing in cattle, and will focus on how to integrate the learned skills and information into decision making practices to increase livestock efficiency and performance, business profitability and landscape resilience.

After this workshop, graziers will have the skills to readily identify highly productive females within the herd and retain ideal breeders and offspring for future replacement heifer selection.

Other uses for skills gained include:

  • Early detection of non-pregnant heifers and breeders, allowing for informed decisions on retention or culling of animals from herd
  • Early detection of some reproductive abnormalities
  • Real data on herd performance
    • Individual animal, group and herd conception rates
    • Death rates between mating and weaning
    • Accurately predict the size of the herd each season, and match actual stocking rate to available pasture
    • Identification of reasons behind low reproduction rates (bull performance, female nutritional inadequacies and/or untreated diseases in mobs, or solely unproductive individual females)
  • Separation of groups of females calving at the same time
    • Sale of underperforming cattle if a shortage of grass is predicted
    • Targeted mob supplement program specific to nutritional needs (rather than blanket supplementation)

The video below, produced by Farm Advisor, shows Dr Ian Braithwaite outlining how to optimise a beef production business plan and avoiding having an unbalanced business in terms of farming assets.

Integrated grazier support program

The Breeder Management and Pregnancy Testing workshop is part of an integrated program that the LDC Grazier Support Program is delivering throughout 2019.

The program offers BBB catchment-wide preg-testing, conducted by recognised practitioners.  Any property within the BBB is encouraged to participate. The first 500 cows will be free of charge.

Conditions will apply and participants will also be required to undertake a Herd Management Plan with an approved consultant of their choosing.

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KEQ #1

Figure 1. Total fine sediment reduction by project type and erosion source. Inset shows the proportion of the total project area for each project type.

These estimates have been calculated using two methods: 

1) The pollutant reduction component of the Alluvium/Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) investment tool for hillslope and streambank erosion management projects; 

2) The Reef Trust Gully Toolbox method for gully erosion management projects. The LDC Water Quality Report 2020 (Waterhouse et al., 2020) highlights that a number of assumptions underlay these calculations, therefore these figures should be treated as the best available estimate of sediment reductions to date.

Preventing sediment from reaching the Great Barrier Reef

Each wet season sediment is washed into local waterways and out to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). 

Most sediment is very fine, and can stay suspended for a long time and can travel great distances. Valuable topsoil is lost from production, and increased concentrations on the reef can be harmful to seagrasses and corals. 

Landholders in the BBB have completed 69 on-ground water quality practice changes, and it is estimated that these have contributed a fine sediment reduction of 6,154 tonnes per year from reaching the GBR. 

Of this, approximately half of the sediment savings are attributable to grazing land management changes on hillslopes and streambanks, and the other half as a result of gully remediation treatments across a broad range of scales, as shown in the graphs above. 

The table below also highlights the relatively small area of intervention in the gully management projects compared to the large sediment savings that these can achieve - 60 per cent of the sediment savings over only 4 per cent of the project area.

Table 1. Estimated sediment reductions (tonnes) from projects completed in the LDC Project to date.

KEQ #2

*GLMWW = Grazing Land Management Wire and Water

KEQ #3

*The Exploring New Incentives activity area has provided an opportunity for graziers to adopt improved land management practices through a range of activities. For some of these properties, it was the first time they signed contracts for on-ground works.

KEQ #4

The LDC project monitors four gully sites (represented in this table) with gold standard equipment and analysis, carried out by CSIRO.

Results have been compiled in a preliminary report from Bartley et al (2020), with the final report expected to be released by the end of 2020. The preliminary report shows all four sites have indicators of improvements, notably the Strathbogie and Mt Wickham sites.

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Reef regulations - grazing, standard conditions

  1. For land in good or fair condition (more than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), continue using measures to maintain land condition.
  2. For land in poor condition (less than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition.
  3. For land in degraded condition (less than 20 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition OR prevent areas from further degrading or expanding.
  4. Keep records of measures taken and also of agricultural chemicals, fertiliser and mill mud or mill ash applied to land.
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