New research targets feedlot returns

05 March 2018


An Australian first study exploring the effect of graded levels of woodchip on feedlot performance is one of two new projects MLA is supporting this year and focuses on boosting returns for feedlots.

The second project will examine the efficacy of combination drenching cattle to control gastrointestinal parasites. Both projects are being funded by grainfed levies, in consultation with the Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA).

MLA Feedlot Project Manager Dr Joe McMeniman said the woodchip project is being led by researchers from the University of New England, while the drenching project is being led by feedlot nutrition and veterinary consultancy Bovine Dynamics.

“Both of these projects are aimed at delivering improved carcase weights and feed efficiency, and reducing medical costs,” Dr McMeniman said.

“Wet pens are a yearly occurrence in the feedlot industry, particularly in southern regions. For the first time in Australia, the woodchip project will determine the return on investment of using graded levels of woodchip during wet feedlot conditions in a replicated scientific experiment.

“It will explore the effect of graded levels of woodchip at 15 and 30 centimetre depths across the pen on feedlot cattle performance and carcase characteristics. We’re focusing on levels of bedding that equate to an outlay of approximately 30ȼ/head/day and 60ȼ/head/day.

“Researchers will also look at the impact of using woodchips during wet feedlot conditions on dag score, pre-slaughter washing time and labour, and pen cleaning.”

Dr McMeniman said the project looking at the efficacy of combination drenching cattle was prompted by the increasingly common problem of drug resistance in gastrointestinal worms and liver flukes.

“The project will examine six treatments - untreated control, injectable doramectin, oral albendazole, oral levamisole, triple combination of injectable doramectin, oral albendazole, and oral levamisole, and triclabendazole plus triple combination of injectable doramectin, oral albendazole, and oral levamisole,” Dr McMeniman said.

“We are aiming to prove that because of sporadic resistance to individual classes of parasiticides, the combination of all three is the best approach.

“The project will also identify the classes and/or combinations of treatments that generate economic return (hot carcase weight response) to the cattle feeder.”

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