Livestock management

Management of livestock must take into account variable seasonal factors, fluctuating markets and declining terms of trade. The most successful producers have a good knowledge of market requirements, matching product quality to suit. There are many factors that can determine the productivity and profitability of a livestock enterprise. These include the supply and quality of feedstuffs, the use of the most appropriate genetics, ensuring high health standards, optimising housing or environmental conditions, meeting quality assurance requirements, and having a sound knowledge of market requirements. This requires good communication along the value chain.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has technical expertise in a range of areas related to livestock management but acknowledges that there are many other sources of information that producers should be encouraged to seek out. There are many grower groups who play an important role in encouraging discussion amongst producers to improve adoption of new technology, as do private consultants and university scientists.

Articles

  • When the prevalence of sheep lice is high as it is in Western Australia at the present time, there is a greater probability that lice will be present in any flock.

  • Barber's pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) is a potentially harmful roundworm parasite of sheep which can cause a disease called haemonchosis.

  • Itch mites are small, barely visible parasites of sheep; they live on the skin surface and cause rubbing and fleece chewing in a small proportion of infested animals.

  • Taenia ovis (otherwise known as Cysticercus ovis, ovis or sheep measles) is a tapeworm parasite which can cause significant economic loss due to the rejection or trimming of sheep

  • The most common lice affecting sheep are body lice (Bovicola ovis).

  • Drench resistance in cattle worms has been found in tests in several countries in recent years, prompting an investigation into the situation in Western Australia.

  • Worm control and drench resistance management in livestock is most efficient and sustainable when there is an indication of the size of worm burdens and the effectiveness of drenches.

  • In 2004, the Australian wool industry agreed to phase out the practice of mulesing.

  • In yearling cattle, burdens of cattle worms can lead to reduced liveweight gain during winter and sometimes are associated with signs of worm disease like diarrhoea and ill-thrift.

  • Cattle lice cause irritation and rubbing that results in hair loss and poor coat quality. Cattle won’t always require treatment for a skin problem resulting from a lice infestation.