Report Detail Page
Ian Colditz – Mentor for Postdoctoral Fellow
Genetic selection for production with little emphasis on health can lead to an increase in disease incidence. This trend is observed in many livestock species. A capacity to cope with environmental challenges, especially those leading to disease, is described as resilience. The project explored associations between the resilience traits of immune competence, stress-responsiveness and temperament in 1149 Performance Recorded Angus calves during yard weaning, and production and disease traits during feedlot finishing. Immune competence was moderately heritable and favourably correlated with stress-responsiveness and temperament. Prior vaccination and minimal mixing with unfamiliar animals at feedlot entry provided a low disease risk environment in the study. Nonetheless, animals with superior immune competence had significantly reduced health-associated diseases, significantly fewer mortalities, and incurred substantially lower health related costs during feedlot finishing. We hypothesise that in typical commercial feedlots with higher disease risks, the health benefits of genetic selection or phenotypic classification for immune competence to identify animals suited to feedlot finishing will be greater than described here. Future work will simplify resilience testing, assess genomic associations and validate benefits in typical feedlot finishing systems. MLA’s objective of mentoring a Postdoctoral fellow now employed as a cattle research scientist was achieved.
This page was last updated on 24/07/2017
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