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Identiying oportunities for continued improvements to the on-board live export feed ration

Project start date: 12 February 2018
Project end date: 31 August 2018
Publication date: 31 August 2018
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Sheep, Goat, Lamb, Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle


​Providing the correct quality and quantity of fodder and feed to livestock during export voyages is a significant and fundamental part of ensuring the welfare of the animals.

In livestock exports, fodder and feed management can present various challenges such as; the need to enable sequential feeding of animals, the challenges of accessing additional fodder while en-route, and an objective primarily focused on balancing the need to maintain body condition and mitigate risks (for example, ammonia production).

For more than 15 years the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL) has had requirements relating to fodder quality and quantity, including for contingency planning and reporting.  

However, during research and development (R&D) consultation sessions LiveCorp and the Live Export Program (LEP) held with Australian Accredited Veterinarians (AAV) in 2016 and 2017, it was identified that feed management and fodder were important areas for further research to allow the refinement of the existing standards.

The LEP R&D Program subsequently commissioned a research project to investigate the existing requirements and practices for fodder management on-board livestock export vessels and to identify opportunities to implement improvements.

This project specifically aimed to analyse previous research, existing livestock export and stockfeed standards, scientific literature and observational and anecdotal evidence from within the industry (obtained through a consultative committee) to identify changes to improve feed ration requirements applied to livestock exports, in terms of quality and quantity. The project was also specifically requested to consider how best to address the issue of pellets breaking apart into fines.

Importantly, one of the key themes in the report’s recommendations is the cross-over that needs to exist between items that should be standards (mandatory requirements), and those that should be best practice (encouraged, but able to be varied). This approach was recommended at a high level for both pellet specifications and daily intake. However, while the report suggested a standard / baseline it also indicated that these were generalised and that there should be provision made for variations from these standards to take into account the benefits of different, but still suitable, approaches and more detailed assessments.

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