Feedlot R&D in the spotlight

06 September 2016

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has just released the first edition of The Quarterly Feed, a seasonal update of feedlot research and development (R&D) projects and the latest in grainfed cattle market news.

Developed by MLA in consultation with the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA), the e-newsletter is aimed at all stakeholders in the grainfed cattle value chain.

MLA works with ALFA to develop R&D and marketing strategies for the feedlot industry, which MLA incorporates into annual investment plans. These plans are subsequently approved by ALFA on behalf of grainfed levy payers.

MLA’s Feedlot R&D Program invests grainfed cattle levies to address strategic priorities in alignment with the Meat Industry Strategic Plan (MISP 2020), the MLA Strategic Plan (MLA 2020), and the Feedlot Program RD&D Strategic Plan (2015-2020).

MLA Feedlot Project Manager, Dr Joe McMeniman, said a number of priority areas have been identified for MLA’s Feedlot R&D Program to 2020, and The Quarterly Feed will provide insights into various R&D projects underway.

“The priorities include animal health and welfare, particularly improving management of bovine respiratory disease (BRD) and developing improved diagnostic tools, antimicrobial stewardship, objective stress measures and automated detection of disease,” Dr McMeniman said.

“Developing practical strategies to mitigate the impacts of increased climate variability and minimising industry impact on the environment have also been identified as priorities with continued research into heat load modelling and management.

“Improving feedlot productivity and profitability is another focus area. To help improve feedlot productivity, MLA is investing in R&D to develop feeding strategies to optimise rumen efficiency and energetics; and automation technologies that improve feedlot efficiency.

“Automation of feedlot tasks is a unique area we identified during the strategic planning process with the feedlot industry. We are currently investigating the feasibility of a number of projects in disease detection, pen cleaning and feeding.

Dr McMeniman said there was also opportunities to research customised sorting systems that enable individual animals to achieve optimum profitability.

“Current research in objective carcass measures, will likely re-define the accuracy with which pens of feedlot cattle will need to be fed to a yield and quality endpoint. Given this, we will require feedlot sorting tools that can extract the optimum profit for each individual animal,” Dr McMeniman said.

To subscribe to the Quarterly Feed e-newsletter please email jmcmeniman@mla.com.au

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